Niners Offense Shows Up in Season Opener in Detroit
The San Francisco 49ers faced the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Sunday. The Lions were starting the year with a new coach and QB. Dan Campbell is running the Lions with Jared Goff at QB. Goff, a Marin Catholic and Cal graduate, set records at both schools, and was the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He took the Rams, the team who drafted him, to Super Bowl LIII where he lost to the Patriots and Tom Brady. Goff was traded to Detroit for star QB Matt Stafford in the offseason, though.
Both teams were coming off a bad season. The Niners because of injury problems, while the Lions lost because of coaching problems. The Niners had Jimmy Garoppolo at starting QB, but still used Trey Lance throughout the game. The Lions recieved the opening kickoff and ran the ball down the field, but they turned it over on downs. The Niners lost the ball on the next play because of a bad snap, but the Lions missed a 51 yard field goal. The Niners ran down the field and set up a 5 yard TD pass from Trey Lance to Trent Sherfield to lead at the end of the 1st, 7-0. The Lions responded with a 13 play drive that set up a TJ Hockenson 6 yard TD pass from Jared Goff. The Niners responded to the Detroit score with 3 plays that set up rookie RB Elijah Mitchell to go off for a 38 yard TD run. Mitchell, out of Louisiana, was selected in round 6 (Pick 194) by the Niners and is set to have a good season with the 49ers.
Detroit made it a 4 point game with a 49 yard field goal from Austin Seibert, and the Niners showed off their great run game in their response with a 3 yard TD run from star RB JaMycal Hasty. Hasty, whose birthday was today (Happy 25th!), was an undrafted free agent out of Baylor, and was signed to the practice squad by the Niners in 2020. They brought him up to the full roster and protected him before signing him to a 1 year contract, and now is part of the roster. The Lions had the ball, and on a 3rd and 8 on their own 32, Jared Goff threw a pass that was intercepted by Dre Greenlaw and was returned 39 yards for a pick six. The Niners got the ball back after a three and out, and scored on a last second 40 yard field goal to make it 31-10 at half.
The Niners got the ball to start off second half, ran down the field, but missed a 52 yard field goal. Robbie Gould did slip and fall on his back on his practice kick. The Niners got it back though and scored on a 79 yard TD pass from Jimmy G to WR Deebo Samuel. Detroit quickly responded with a 43 yard TD pass from Goff to tailback D'Andre Swift. Niners responded 2 possessions later with a 52 yard field goal from Robbie Gould. Detroit responded after 2 possessions with a 1 yard TD run from Jamaal Williams and they went for two. TJ Hockenson caught the pass from Goff to make the conversion and to make the game score, 41-25. George Kittle muffed an onside kick from Seibert and it was recovered by Godwin Igwebuike and the Lions. 6 plays later, Jared Goff completed a 2 yard TD pass to Quintez Cephus, and Cephus also caught the 2 point conversion. Just like that, it was 41-33. Deebo Samuel fumbled on a pass from Jimmy G and rookie CB Obi Melifonwu recovered it at the Detroit 30 yard line. The Niners defense made a stand, though, and the Lions turned it over on downs. The Niners then kneeled it out to win the game.
Jimmy Garoppolo was 17 for 25 for 314 yards (18.4 yards per pass) and a touchdown. Jared Goff was 38 for 57 for 338 yards (8.8 yards per pass), 3 touchdowns and an interception. Elijah Mitchell lead running for the Niners with 19 carries for 104 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown while Jamaal Williams lead Detroit's running game with 9 carries for 54 yards (6 yards per carry) and 1 touchdown. Deebo Samuel had 9 receptions for 189 yards (21 yards per reception) and a touchdown. TJ Hockenson had 8 receptions for 97 yards (12.1 yards per reception) and a touchdown. The Lions had 31 first downs while the Niners had 21. Niners had 442 yards on 55 plays while Lions had 430 yards on 84 plays. The Niners had 7 penalties for 79 yards and 5 penalties for 45 yards.
Detroit looks better. They need to rebuild their defense, but they have a good offense around Goff. He was only sacked 3 times, so their offensive line is looking good. The Lions could be a very good team with a solid receiving core, secondary, and D-Line. Goff should be a keeper for Detroit.
The Niners need to get injuries under control and make sure they can stay healthy. They showed that their offense still works and that their cores are incredibly strong. Jimmy was only sacked once, so the O-Line is looking good, but the Niners need to get turnovers under control. The defense looks good, but they can't let late in the game comebacks happen. They need to work more on special teams with Robbie Gould and on recovering onside kicks. The bottom line is that the Niners need to keep the ball secure and make sure they stay healthy.