It makes you wonder. What might have happened on the 4th-down-and-6 play when 49ers tight end Delanie Walker caught a slant in front of linebacker Bobby Carpenter that proved to be the game winner?
Carpenter was a bit too deep in his drop and overran the play when he recognized it.
Would Durant have played it any different?
“We had that one play where they scored at the end, well, maybe I could have made a play, but hey man, it happens,” Durant said. “I’m here this year and hopefully we’ll have a different outcome.”
Durant got off to a good start last week against the Rams, leading the Lions with 12 tackles (seven solo). He also had two tackles for loss.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is hopeful Durant can help contain a 49ers rushing attack that churned up 203 yards against his defense in last year’s game.
“You look back at that game, and you don’t want to look back too much, but our weakness in that game, the thing that we needed to do better was the long runs,” Schwartz said. "We let them pop two long runs out and another one that wasn’t so long but it was a big run at the end of the game.
“Then we had the one short pass at the end of the game but it wasn’t a situation where we were being exploited all the time. We played well at times; we didn’t play well enough to win.”
As he promised he would Monday, Chris Houston returned to the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday afternoon. The Lions' veteran cornerback hasn’t practiced since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 3 of the preseason against the Raiders.
“Fundamentals are what I focused on today,” Houston said of being back at practice. “Be fundamentally sound and get out there and run a little bit and everything else will take care of itself.”
Houston told the media Monday that today’s practice was crucial in determining if he can make his season debut in San Francisco Sunday night. In actuality, Thursday might be even more important to see how the ankle responds to practice.
Houston was listed as limited on Wednesday’s official injury report.
Receiver Calvin Johnson did not participate in practice because of a foot injury, according to the report. Johnson played the entire game against the Rams and seems to be fine, judging from the portion of practice open to the media.
“Injury report. You know me,” head coach Jim Schwartz said after practice Wednesday when asked about Johnson’s absence from practice.
Safety Louis Delmas (knee), cornerback Bill Bentley (concussion), linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) and defensive end Lawrence Jackson (calf) were all listed on the injury report as not practicing.
“He’s doing okay,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Bentley. “He’s got protocol that he has to go through before he’s back. But other than that we’ll just (see on the) injury report.”
Defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee) was listed as limited.
MORE THAN JUST A RUNNER
Lions running back Kevin Smith was credited with two touchdowns in last week’s 27-23 victory over the Rams, including the game-winning 5-yard touchdown catch with 10 seconds left.
But Smith deserves just as much credit for preventing two touchdowns, as he does scoring two. It was Smith who made the touchdown-saving tackles on both of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s first two interceptions.
"I’ve always believed in Kevin,” said Lions center Dominic Raiola. “He saved two touchdowns – both interceptions. I don’t know if you know. He made both those tackles. You watch that, that was huge."
STAFFORD'S ASSAULT ON RECORD BOOKS CONTINUES
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 355 yards against the Rams, becoming the second player in NFL history to pass for at least 350 yards in four consecutive games (Drew Brees, four in 2011).
With 350 passing yards against the 49ers on Sunday night, Stafford can become the first player in NFL history with five consecutive 350-yard passing games and can also become the first player in NFL history to pass for 2,000 yards in a five-game span with 361 passing yards.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
Lions defensive end Cliff Avril ended the Rams’ comeback hopes last week when he tackled Sam Bradford on the last play of the game in what was initially ruled a 1-yard gain. Well, the NFL has looked at the play and has ruled that Avril should be granted a sack on the play after determining Bradford's knee was down with no gain. It’s the first of the season for Avril, who led the Lions with 11 last year.