BELL BECOMES A BIGGER PART OF THE EQUATION
The Lions were expecting to see favorable boxes to run the football against the 49ers’ two-deep safety sets and came into Sunday night’s game with a plan to do so.
They ran it 26 times in all for 82 yards and stayed with the plan until the fourth quarter when they fell behind by two scores and had to abandon it.
“We needed to be able to run,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after the Lions’ 27-19 loss. “They were taking the approach of playing deep safeties to take away the big play, which they were able to do. When people do that, you need to hurt them underneath and you need to hurt them with the run.”
The 49ers were the No. 1 defense in the NFL at stopping the run last year and the Lions saw that firsthand Sunday night.
“I thought at times we ran the ball well,” Schwartz said. “We knew there were going to be some times where a one- or two-yard run was a good play, but we had a couple that missed cuts. We bounced a couple outside that we should have been sticking up in there.”
ON THE LOOKOUT FOR YOUNG
Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said this offseason that he anticipated
But over the course of the last two games, Young has exactly one catch for 11 yards in each contest.
There hasn’t been the separation from defenders and the playmaking ability we saw toward the end of last season and all through training camp. Where is the player who caught six touchdowns over the team’s last nine games last season and won the team’s rookie of the year award?
Through two games, he’s been absent.
Young drew a pass interference penalty against the 49ers Sunday that set up a field goal, and he also ran a reverse for a first down last week against the Rams, but the expectation heading into the season were far greater than that for Young.
SUPERB GAME PLAN
The 49ers were dead set on not letting Lions receiver Calvin Johnson beat them over the top for a big play Sunday night. They kept their safeties in a two-deep set almost the entire night and came in with a plan to make the Lions dink and dunk and earn everything they got on offense.
The plan ultimately worked as the longest reception on the day for the Lions came on a 50-yard screen pass by quarterback
Johnson was still targeted 12 times in the game and finished with eight catches for 94 yards, but his longest catch was 26 yards and most of the damage he did was in the middle of the field where multiple defenders could corral him after the catch.
“They are a good defense,” Johnson said after the game. “They are well coached. They are disciplined.”
CLOCK FAUX PAS
Schwartz said after the game that there were a couple times when the replacement officials might have lost track of the play clock, maybe even losing sight of the game clock at the end of the first quarter.
“I thought the play clock expired a couple times,” Schwartz said after the game. “On one it wasn’t the play clock, it was the quarter clock. But I’m not an official, I’m a coach. I don’t make that call.”
The play in question turned out to be a pass interference call in the end zone after it appeared as though the clock had reached 0.00 to the end of the first quarter. Because the pass interference penalty occurred in the end zone, the ball was placed on the one yard line and 49ers running back Frank Gore scored on a one-yard touchdown run the next play to give the 49ers a 14-6 lead.