Entering the week two match up between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, most of the hype and talk was surrounding last season’s handshake and almost brawl between the head coaches of the two teams, Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz. Not enough of the talk was about the fact that this would be a battle between two of the NFC‘s elite teams.
Following the 49ers’ 27-19 victory, the talk of Handshakegate and Handshakegate 2012 or Part Deux was long gone and the focus moved to the fact that San Francisco was the best team in the NFC and possibly the entire NFL.
The Niners looked tremendously terrific in every phase of the game which is why–even though the score made the game seem closer–they dominated this game across the board from beginning to end. Alex Smith continued to show his growth as a professional signal caller (20-31, 226 yards, two TD) as he now extended his San Francisco franchise record to nine consecutive starts without throwing an interception. Frank Gore ran the ball well as he usually does to a tune of 89 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Vernon Davis (five receptions for 73 yards and two touchdowns) and Michael Crabtree (six receptions for 67 yards) did most of the heavy lifting in the receiving game while the 49ers defense was simply their usual tough self as a unit.
The Lions struggled getting into a rhythm all game long as Matthew Stafford (19-32, 230 yards, TD, INT) and his offense didn’t have a big-time play until running back Joique Bell caught a short pass from Stafford and took it 50-yards down field with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Calvin Johnson put up his usual numbers (8 receptions for 94 yards) simply because there isn’t a defensive back on this planet who can contain or defend him. But other than Megatron, no one could do anything against this dominant San Francisco defense.
The Niners, in my mind, have easily established themselves as the class of the NFL early this season with two big victories over two teams–the Lions and the Green Bay Packers–who are legitimate playoff and Super Bowl contenders. If there is anyone who still doubts Big Al and San Francisco, they seriously may need their head examined.
Next week San Francisco will travel to Mall of America Field (formerly the Metrodome) to face yet another NFC North team in the Minnesota Vikings while Detroit will head to LP Field to take on the Tennessee Titans.