Opponent: at Detroit
Time: 10 a.m.
Line: Lions by 10
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Records: 49ers 4-10, Lions 5-9
TV/Radio: Ch. 40 (Thom Brennaman, play-by-play; Charles Davis, analyst; Tony Siragusa, field reporter), 680, 1320.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Hit the gas pedal: The 49ers, who beat the Minnesota Vikings in the season opener using a wide-open offense, have been cautious since. That’s most evident in their passing offense, which seems content to throw short of the first-down marker on nearly every third-down play. Blaine Gabbert wants to avoid mistakes, and you can’t blame him for that. But the lowest-scoring offense in the league also must make more big plays. The 49ers rank 30th in pass plays of 20 yards or more.
The Boldin Oldies: Anquan Boldin needs one catch to reach elite company: NFL receivers with 1,000 receptions for their career. Only 12 players are in the 1,000-catch club, including ex-49ers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens and Boldin’s former Arizona Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald. Boldin is entering the final season of his contract, and with the 49ers very much in rebuilding mode, he might not be back next season.
New runner: The 49ers’ running back corps likely will change again with Shaun Draughn dealing with a sprained knee. The only healthy runners are Kendall Gaskins, Jarryd Hayne, who was promoted from the practice squad Saturday, and DuJuan Harris, who already has been with four other squads this season. To make room for Hayne on the roster, guard Alex Boone went on injured reserve because of a knee injury.
What can Brown do? If Marcus Martin misses the game because of a concussion, seventh-round draft pick Trent Brown likely will make his first start at right tackle. Even if Martin is available, the 49ers should consider getting Brown some snaps. He played well in spot duty against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the team must figure out its depth at tackle before free agency and the draft.
Road kill: The 49ers limited the Bengals to 1.9 yards per carry last Sunday, Cincinnati’s lowest average since 2012. But that stout run defense has had a far wimpier alter ego on the road, most recently against a ho-hum Cleveland Browns rushing attack. Which is to say the 49ers shouldn’t take Detroit and its 31st-ranked rushing offense too lightly.
Out: G Alex Boone (knee), RB Shaun Draughn (knee), C Marcus Martin (concussion), LB Michael Wilhoite (ankle).
Probable: DT Arik Armstead (shoulder), LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder, finger), CB Tramaine Brock (hamstring), LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder, back), DT Quinton Dial (shoulder), LB Eli Harold (shoulder, hamstring), CB Dontae Johnson (ankle), LB Aaron Lynch (concussion), G Erik Pears (knee), WR Torrey Smith (back, foot), T Joe Staley (knee), S Jaquiski Tartt (knee).
Questionable: CB Bill Bentley (illness), LB Josh Bynes (foot), WR Calvin Johnson (ankle), DT Haloti Ngata (neck), T Michael Ola (knee), S Glover Quin (concussion), DT Caraun Reid (ankle), G Larry Warford (quadriceps).