Live blog: 49ers vs. Lions

SAN FRANCISCO — The live blog, which I’ll be updating frequently from the press box.

Update 1: The first thing I saw as I walked into the stadium was a guy in handcuffs, real chagrined-looking. The police were leading him out of the stadium. This was around 3:15. How long did he last in the stadium before he did whatever he did?

Update 2: The kickoff’s been moved back 10 minutes to 5:30, according to an unconfirmed report.

The 49ers inactives are: A.J. Jenkins, Ted Ginn Jr., LaMichael James, Brandon Jacobs, Joe Looney, Garrett Celek and Ian Williams.

That means Scott Tolzien is active, which is strange. You’d think Jenkins or James would suit up before the third-string quarterback.

The Lions inactives are: QB Kellen Moore, CB Chris Houston, S Louis Delmas, CB Bill Bentley, LB Travis Lewis, T Jason Fox and T Corey Hilliard.

Three-fourths of the Lions’ starting secondary will not play. Backups Jacob Lacey and Drayton Florence will start at cornerback and John Wendling will start at free safety.

4:21 According to Matt Maiocco, Tolzien is active because Andy Lee’s thumb is sore, and Tolzien’s the backup holder. That may be, but I’m still expecting a few read-option plays from Colin Kaepernick.

4:58 Based on warmups, it appears Michael Crabtree is the starting flanker and Mario Manningham is the starting split end.

5:25 The Lions win the toss and they want the ball.

5:32 The Lions actually open up the game with two straight runs, gaining a total of four yards. Didn’t Jim Schwartz read the letter I wrote him?

5:33 On third down the 49ers did not cover Calvin Johnson. Stafford saw him wide open and threw it to him, but Johnson ran into Ahmad Brooks and the pass fell to the ground. The Lions punt and the Niners take over at their 33 yard line.

5:35 On second and 10, Mario Manningham gains 29 yards on an end around. The Lions completely overpursued. Perfect play call.

5:37 Two plays later, Alex Smith hits a wide open Vernon Davis in the end zone for a 21-yard TD. 7-0 49ers. Not counting the first offensive play, the 49ers got everything they wanted. A 1-minute-and-12-second drive.

5:42 When the Lions line up with two wide receivers, Donte Whitner is playing about 20-yards behind the line of scrimmage, helping Carlos Rogers cover him.

5:45 The refs call a 33-yard phantom pass interference penalty on Chris Culliver. Lions ball at the 49ers’ 26.

5:49 The Lions’ drive stalls after Donte Whitner tackles Brandon Pettigrew short of the first down. Hanson kicks a 38-yard field goal. 7-3 Niners.

5:51 On the kick return, Kendall Hunter fights for extra yards and fumbles before he hits the ground. Lions’ ball at the 49ers’ 27 yard line.

5:53 On first down the Lions try to establish the run, gain 2 yards. Note to the Lions: You are not going to establish the run in this game.

5:54 The first down run leads to third-and-8, and Ahmad Brooks bats down Stafford’s pass. Hanson makes a 41-yard field goal. 7-6 Niners.

5:57 Daniel Kilgore is flagged for holding on the kick return. The Niners start their second drive at their 9 yard line.

6:00 Just to show the Lions they can’t stop it, Greg Roman calls a wham power run for Frank Gore on first down, and he gains 14 yards. Corey Williams was the victim.

6:02 On third and 1, Greg Roman calls for a 0-wide receiver formation. Frank Gore runs up the middle and gains nothing. Bad play call. Now the Niners have to punt.

6:04 Lions ball at their 16. If they run on first down, I’m going to laugh out loud.

6:06 Stafford fakes the handoff, finds no one open and throws the ball away. Nothing’s working for Detroit’s offense so far.

6:07 Stafford didn’t see Nate Burleson wide open in the middle of the field. Instead, Stafford threw a long pass to no Lion in particular. Actually, the pass was right to Goldson, who picked it off and returned it 22 yards to the Detroit 23.

6:10 After two Gore runs, Harbaugh calls his first timeout before a key third-and-four.

6:11 Smith, in the shotgun, can’t catch a good snap from Jonathan Goodwin. Smith runs down the ball and throws it away.

6:12 Akers makes the field goal and takes a shot from Drayton Florence after he kicks it. That’s an automatic first down at the 12 yard line for the 49ers.

6:14 Another bad call: On second and six from the Lions’ 8, the refs flag Jacob Lacey for pass interference against Randy Moss. Smith’s pass was high and uncatchable. The result: First and goal at the 1.


6:17 The very next play, Gore blasts into the end zone from 1 yard out. Touchdown. 14-6 Niners. Kyle Vanden Bosch gets in about five 49ers faces after the play. I’m talking Delanie Walker, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Staley, Alex Boone and others.

6:22 On second and 7, Stafford takes advantage of Aldon Smith in pass coverage, throwing to Bell in the flat. Bell shook Smith and gained 9 yards. The very next play, the Lions run up the middle for 1 yard. What are they thinking?

6:24 Second and 9 leads to third and 5. Stafford throws way too high for Johnson over the middle. Incomplete. The Lions offense has no rhythm. The Niners offense takes over at its’ 25.

6:29 On first and five from the Detroit 39, Crabtree got himself wide open over the middle, but Smith held onto the ball and took a sack for a loss of 12. If he had pulled the trigger, he would have gotten a big gain. The Niners take their second timeout of the first half.

6:32 Vernon Davis sat a few plays with an eye injury, but he’s back in the game now.

6:33 Very next play, Gore gains the 12 yards back on a wham play up the middle. I can imagine Greg Roman laughing in the booth. The Lions can’t stop it.

6:33 And on the next play, Michael Crabtree drops a low pass from Alex Smith, and the Niners punt. The pass was around his knees, but Crabtree got both hands on it. The offense is now 0-3 on third down. Lions’ ball at their 14.

6:37 Kevin Smith runs up the middle twice in a row and gets a first down. I didn’t expect to see that.

6:40 On third and six Patrick Willis blitzes, the Lions pick him up and Stafford hits Johnson down the middle for a gain of 24 yards.

6:41 On second and seven, Carlos Rogers is correctly flagged for holding. First and 10 at the 28.

6:43 On third and four, Ahmad Brooks blows by Gosder Cherilus and hits Stafford as he’s throwing. Incomplete. Then Hanson bounces his field goal off the right upright. Still 14-6 Niners, who take over at their 30 yard line.

6:47 Alex Smith throws deep for Vernon Davis on first down, but Florence breaks it up at the last second. Good throw.

6:47 And then Gore runs up the middle for 16 yards. He’s rushed 10 times for 62 yards.

6:49 Kendall Hunter drops a good pass on first down and then goes nowhere on second down, and the Niners face third and 10 from their own 46.


6:52 And Smith converts! The offensive line gives him forever and he finds Vernon Davis over the middle for 12 yards.

6:54 The Niners face another third and 10 and this time Smith checks it down to Gore for a 1-yard gain. Lee punts it. Lions ball at their 10 yard line with 1:05 left in the half, one timeout left.

6:56 The Lions run on first down, get nowhere, then kneel out the clock.


Matt Stafford’s QB rating is 29.9. That’s not very good.

The 49ers defense is great, but the Lions’ offense is playing terrible, too. Stafford’s throwing mechanics are sloppy, and he’s missed some key throws he should have made. His passes have been late and high. His footwork is lazy in the pocket, and he tends to revert to a lazy three-quarter release when his feet aren’t set. The interception he threw was as bad a throw and as bad a decision as you’ll ever see.


7:13 Kyle Vanden Bosch makes a stupid play. After a failed flea flicker (Crabtree was double covered), Vanden Bosch sacks Smith but unnecessarily yanks him down by his face mask. 15-yard penalty.

7:19 After that play, the Niners easily drive down the field, gaining yards in chunks, avoiding third down until they reach the red zone. Third and 7, Smith completes a very short pass to Crabtree for 2 yards. Akers makes the 36-yard field goal. 17-6 Niners.

7:22 The Niners special teams is struggling in this game. They just gave up a 40-yard kick return. Lions ball at their 39.

7:31 Hanson just made a 40-yard kick to make the score 17-9. That was the Lions’ best drive, and it was only 39 yards. They killed their own momentum when they called an outside run on 2nd and 5.

7:40 Now the Niners are making a drive look easy: 4 first downs on 6 plays.


7:44 The drive ends due to three straight drops. Akers makes a 48-yarder. 20-9. On second and 10, Delanie Walker dropped a short pass but Vernon Davis was open deep.

7:54 The Lions drive down to the San Francisco 21, and on second and 8 Stafford misses a wide open receiver over the middle, holds onto the ball and takes a sack.

8:00 The Lions offense can’t recover from the sack, but Hanson makes a 48-yard field goal. The Niners have absolutely dominated this game, but they’re only up by one score: 20-12. 9:12 left in the fourth quarter.

8:13 Alex Smith has converted three tough third down on this drive all to Crabtree. Now it’s Second and three at the Lions’ 23 with 3:11 left. Detroit just called timeout No.2. If the Niners score at all on this drive – and it looks like they will – they’ll win. They seem like the best team in the NFL.

8:16 Game over. Alex Smith rolls right and hits a wide open Vernon Davis, who jukes a few Lions and runs into the end zone untouched. 27-12.

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