49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 21, 2008
49ers 31, Lions 13: Notes from a rare blowout

A blowout win? For the 49ers? You'd have to go all the way back to 2003 to a 50-14 beat down of the Cardinals to find a 49ers game win this lopsided. In fact, in only two wins since that game - against the Raiders and in Seattle in 2006 - have the 49ers' won a game by more than a touchdown. In other words, this was as complete a victory as we've seen around these parts in a long, long time. Sure, the Lions are pretty awful. But 49ers' fans won't be complaining tonight.

  • Every 49er was ebullient after this one, and Isaac Sopoaga's Haka dance could be heard bursting from the closed locker room doors immediately after the game. The only person who seemed a bit dour and serious was Nolan, who has made it a point to stick to his one-game-at-a-time approach to the season. And maybe that's a good thing. Nolan wants to make winning seem routine, not a special occasion. Still, he could at least crack a smile.
  • There didn't appear to be any serious injuries after this one. Both Keith Lewis (knee) and Jeff Ulbrich (ankle) were nicked but continued to play. Michael Lewis hurt his elbow on a friendly fire incident from Walt Harris. Perhaps the one injury we have to keep an eye on is Dashon Goldson's sprained shoulder. Goldson did not return to the game after the injury.
  • Isaac Bruce scored his first-ever touchdown for the 49ers, a six yarder in the first quarter. The Candlestick crowd reacted accordingly - with a loud chorus of "BRUUUUUUUUUCE!" Maybe they'll let him wear No. 80 after all.
  • With Shawntae Spencer out (perhaps for the season) with a knee injury, Tarell Brown filled in as the third cornerback. Brown mostly shadowed Mike Furrey throughout the game. How did Brown do? Furrey had two catches for eight yards and Brown got his first career interception on a pass intended for Furrey. An auspicious start indeed.
  • Entering the game, Allen Rossum had seven touchdowns in 10 years in the league, but they were all on special teams (three punt returns; four kickoff returns). His one-yard scamper in the fourth quarter was his first offensive touchdown. Rossum is officially listed as a cornerback but every now and then he practices running pass routes. What's his role outside of special teams? "I'm doing a little bit of everything," he said. "Ask coach about what exactly my definition is."
  • The only other 49ers defensive player to score an offensive touchdown was cornerback Mike Holmes, who caught a 24-yard pass from Norm Snead in a 1975 game against New England.
  • Player of the game? How about Justin Smith, who had a sack, an interception, and a batted-down pass and who seemed to be around the ball all game. Both starting cornerbacks deserve mention as well. Nate Clements shadowed Calvin Johnson all game and limited him to four catches, three of which came in what was essentially garbage time. Walt Harris, meanwhile, has been excellent as far back as preseason and has been perhaps the team's most underrated player.
  • On offense, both Frank Gore (130 yards) and J.T. O'Sullivan (123.3 passer rating) were great, but the real hero was Martz, who seemed to do whatever he wanted - especially in the first half - against his old team. For that Martz was given a game ball.

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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