SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers' offensive line took particular pleasure in the final three plays Sunday night against the Detroit Lions."I just like 'Victory' because they have to stare at us for 50 seconds, and they know it's over," right tackle Anthony Davis said following the 49ers' nationally televised 27-19 win at Candlestick Park."It's the best formation in football. It's just the best feeling, 'Victory formation.'"The 49ers had every reason to be feeling good about their performance -- a game in which quarterback Alex Smith threw for two touchdowns and the 49ers averaged 5.5 yards on 27 rushing attempts. And that includes Smith's three kneeldowns at the end of the game.Frank Gore gained 89 yards and a touchdown on 17 rushing attempts for a 5.2-yard average. The 49ers (2-0) did not receive the opening kickoff, and they still led for all but the first 2:35 of the game.
"They're great," Gore said of the 49ers' offensive line. "They play hard. They make it easy for me. They play together as one. "What seemed to make the win taste even better was that it came against a front four generally regarded as one of the beset in the NFL."They didn't want any part of us up front," left tackle Joe Staley said."Look at the game. We killed them. Every single pressure they got was cheap. It was on a keep or something like that. They weren't beating us one on one. We ran for about 200 yards (148 yards) on the so-called best D-line in all of football."When told that it sounds as if Staley believes the Lions' defensive line -- consisting of Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams -- is overrated, Staley offered confirmation.
"Extremely," he said. "I've never been impressed by the Detroit Lions' defensive line."Said Davis, "They think highly of themselves. I heard they said they were the best D-line in the league or something. I feel that's disrespectful to other good defensive lines."Prior to the first game of the season, Vanden Bosch told Mlive.com, "If we're not the most dominant defensive line in the league, I feel like we're not doing our job."Right guard Alex Boone, who went up against Suh for most of the game, was told what Staley had said just a couple locker stalls away."No comment," Boone said. "I'm not about to say anything that gets me in trouble. They're happy with me right now. I thought they (the Lions) were a good team."We knew they were going to be physical. There was a lot of jawing. We knew that would happen. At the end of the day, we out-punched them. I thought we did a great job with that."
Staley and Davis were far less diplomatic of their assessment of the Lions' defensive line and the tactics of the Lions."Up front, they like to pride themselves on being cheap after the play," Staley said. "They think they're physical because they do that. We stuck with them, chasing them down the field. We set the tone early of not being able to do that with us. I think they were a little taken aback by that."They like to hustle down field and jump on piles and we were sticking with them until the play was done so they weren't able to do that."Said Davis, "It's not really an I'm-going-to-line-up-and-kick-your-(butt) kind of D-line. But people always say stuff like that. They're good at post-play stuff. They're good at getting away with nudging you at the end of a play, stuff like that."Following the 49ers' victory over the Lions last season at Ford Field, Davis and Avril got into a lively dialogue on Twitter. That episode was overshadowed by the handshake involving the two coaches.While coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz shook hands before and after the game Sunday, Davis and Avril continued their feud. At one point, Avril appeared to try to rip Davis' helmet off his head at the conclusion of one play."He hates me," Davis said. "We don't even know each other, but you can just tell it burns him up."The 49ers set the tone for the game early with a four-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Vernon Davis' 21-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith. They capped the game with another Smith-to-Davis touchdown that gave the 49ers a 27-12 lead with 3:04 to play."I thought they (the offensive line) did a great job all night, in the run and the pass," Smith said. "We put a lot on those guys up front. Not only do they have to be physical, they have to be able to think on their feet and they do a great job of that."The 49ers converted three third-down plays on the drive -- each coming on passes from Smith to Michael Crabtree.The 49ers' defense came up with another big game, limiting Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson for most of the game. Stafford completed 19 of 32 passes for 230 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ninety-seven of Stafford's yards passing came on the final drive when they cut the 49ers' lead to eight points.Kyle Williams recovered a squib kick to preserve the victory.
"Our defense is great," Crabtree said. "That's probably the best compliment you can get. They're a great defense. And all those guys, from the front line to the DBs, they're making plays. I talked to the whole team this week and I was like, 'We've got to match that on offense. We've got to come out here and give it our all, get those first downs, get the chains moving, and really try to keep our defense on the sideline.'"RATTO: Crabtree moves the chains
The 49ers' offensive line matched the stellar play of the team's defense. Smith generally had time to throw, though he was sacked three times. Suh was credited with 1.5 sacks, including one on which he beat left guard Mike Iupati.When asked if there's a rivalry building between the 49ers and Lions, Davis dismissed that talk because it has been a one-sided series.
"No," he said. "We've won both times."
Actually, it runs a little deeper than that. The 49ers have won nine consecutive matchups against the Lions since 1996.
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