SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers turnover-less streak came to an end, but the team's defense made sure it didn't prove too costly.The 49ers' string of 26 consecutive quarters without a regular-season giveaway ended midway through first period when Kendall Hunter fumbled a kickoff return. The Lions took over at the 25-yard line, but managed just 2 yards before settling for a field goal.The 49ers' defense held Detroit out of the end zone for the 59 minutes, 31 seconds before scoring a late touchdown in San Francisco's 27-19 victory at Candlestick Park.RECAP: Maiocco's Instant Replay -- 49ers 27, Lions 19
"We had the adversity of the turnover," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They're never in until they're in (the end zone). And our defense takes that philosophy."The Lions did not actually get inside the 49ers' 20-yard line until their closing drive. Earlier Detroit drives stalled at the 49ers' 20, 23, 21, 22 and 30. The Lions settled for four Jason Hanson field goals and a missed field-goal attempt."That was a huge number of times for our defense to get those stops," Harbaugh said.Streak continues: Quarterback Alex Smith, who entered the game with a team-record streak of 185 consecutive pass attempts without throwing an interception, added another 31 to extend his own record.Smith completed 20 of 31 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. The team's receivers let as many as seven catchable passes slip away, too. Still, Smith had a passer rating of 107.7 that included touchdown passes to tight end Vernon Davis of 21 and 23 yards.Pass defense: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's streak of four consecutive games with 350-plus yards passing came to an end. He threw for 230 yards with 97 of those passing yards coming on the final drive.The 49ers, for the most part, did a good job on All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson, as they used a variety of different man and zone coverages. He finished with eight receptions for 94 yards."They did a good job and they had a good game plan as far as keeping somebody up underneath inside and somebody over the top," Johnson said. "You have to take what they give you, little by little."Handshake postscript: Coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz who gained national attention a year ago with their heated exchange at the end of the 49ers' victory at Ford Field provided no made-for-TV moments on Sunday.The men spoke and shook hands before the game, and had another routine meeting following the 49ers' victory."I thought it went good," Harbaugh said. "That's the thing. It's just about this matchup, two good teams. And I think that that's the story: Two good football teams going at it early in the season."Smith's sacks: The stats crew credited outside linebacker Aldon Smith with one sack Sunday, but he is expected to get credit for another after the Elias Sports Bureau, the NFL's official stat keepers, review the game.Smith was there to sack Stafford for a 9-yard loss in the fourth quarter, but Ray McDonald was incorrectly given credit. Smith recorded another sack on the first play of the Lions' final drive.49ers dispute report: A 49ers spokesman disputed NBC's Michelle Tafoya characterization of a conversation she had with Harbaugh on Friday. Prior to the game, Tafoya reported Harbaugh cautioned his team about facing the Lions."The Lions are a chippy bunch," Tafoya said. "He calls them a late hit-bunch, and he has warned his team to keep their heads on a swivel and to not retaliate. Don't draw flags."Said Harbaugh, "I don't recall saying that."Bob Lange, the 49ers' director of public relations, said he was present for the production meeting and Harbaugh was speaking in generalities and did not refer to the Lions in those terms.MAIOCCO: 49ers O-line not impressed with Lions front four
However, it's safe to say that some of the 49ers' players believe the Lions pushed the boundaries of what's legal. Quarterback Alex Smith was sporting a cut on the bridge of his nose from a forearm administered by Lions safety John Wendling."Not dazed, just bleeding," Smith said. "I looked up and saw the flag and I thought for sure it was a personal foul call. Pretty stunned not to get that call."Tight end Delanie Walker was called for holding on the fourth-quarter play.In the first half, Vernon Davis sat out eight plays when he got poked in the eye."I don't know if it was intentional by (Lions defensive end Cliff) Avril," Davis said. "I am just not sure."Notes and quotes: Running back Frank Gore ranks fourth in the NFL with 201 yards rushing. He has registered a rushing touchdown in each of hisl five career games against the Lions. . . Quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien, and outside linebacker Clark Haggans were the only active 49ers who did not play. . . Receiver Mario Manningham had a career-high 29-yard run in the first quarter. . . . Safety Dashon Goldson recorded his 12th career interception. The play eventually led to Gore's 1-yard TD run.
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