For the second straight week, Detroit Lions All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay was out on the field after taking a shot to the head.
Last week, he took some friendly fire in the form of a knee from teammate Ziggy Ansah, and had to be checked for a concussion. He passed those tests and returned to the game.
Slay took the brunt of a helmet-to-helmet hit from 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Again, Slay was taken off the field for evaluations, but unlike last week, Slay did suffer a concussion and did not return to the game.
Slay is Detroit's best cover man, and his health and status for next week's home matchup with the New England Patriots will be closely monitored this week heading into Sunday night's matchup with the New England Patriots.
In Slay's absence, the Lions played veteran Nevin Lawson and second-year cornerback Teez Tabor on the outside to mixed results.
"I have confidence in all of our players," head coach Matt Patricia said after the game on his confidence level with Lawson and Tabor, if they had to start next week. "That's about it.
"I think Tabor does a good job every week of being ready to go. He studies, he's smart. He's a big long guy that can go out there and obviously have a good presence. But, I'm always confident that he's ready to go. He really puts in a lot of work and that's a good thing."
A holding call by Quandre Diggs in the slot in the fourth quarter negated a Tracy Walker interception with the Lions trailing 30-27 with a little more than two minutes left in the game. Walker returned the interception down to the 49ers' 7-yard line, so instead of first and goal Lions, the penalty gave the 49ers a first down around midfield and an opportunity to kill more than a minute off the clock, burning through Detroit's timeouts.
"Awful. That's what I thought," Diggs said of the penalty after the game. "So, I don't know, we'll take it, man up and get ready for next week. I'll look at it again, but I have a pretty good memory. They called holding, you can only hold when you're grabbing somebody."
Diggs thought instead he had a legal jam on the receiver within the allowed 5-yard zone.
"I've already got word on kind of what the commentators thought of it also. So, we'll see. We'll look at it and we'll go from there," Diggs said. "It's frustrating because I don't think it was the right call. I don't feel like you make that call at the end of the game, away from the ball, clutch time. You don't make that call. And, you know, I'm not going to get fined about it."
GOLLADAY IMPRESSIVE AGAIN
After setting career highs with seven catches for 114 yards last week, wide receiver Kenny Golladay continued his hot start to the 2018 season with another six receptions against the 49ers for another 89 yards, including a 30-yard highlight-reel touchdown in the first half.
In two games, Golladay has 13 catches for 203 yards and a score. He's been one of the few bright spots in Detroit's 0-2 start to the season.
"He's seeing a lot of different looks, he's seeing a lot of different coverages than maybe he has in the past," Patricia said of Golladay. "I think he's doing a good job of trying to just fight through all those situations. And (he's) mentally tough, stays in the game and really has the opportunity to make some big plays."
Golladay's certainly proving that early on.
TABOR GETS EARLY LOOK
Detroit's defense split up a lot of the reps at the outside cornerback spot opposite Slay last season between Lawson and D.J. Hayden. The Lions liked both players, and set up certain packages for each.
In a surprising move Sunday against the 49ers, Tabor got the start opposite Slay.
"We had a couple different packages really for both guys out there," Patricia said. "So, it was kind of a planned thing to be able to play as many guys as possible. Kind of show them a couple different matches from that standpoint."
Tabor gave up a couple catches early on, but settled into the game as it went on. We'll see if he's called upon to play a big role next week against the Patriots.
RUN GAME IMPROVEMENTS
Lions coaches will have some positive things to watch on film Monday from Detroit's revamped rushing attack.
Detroit got chunk plays from their rushing attack and averaged 5.4 yards per attempt for the game with 98 yards on 18 carries.
Kerryon Johnson rushed eight times for 43 yards (5.4 average). LeGarrette Blount had 38 yards on eight carries (4.8) before he was thrown out of the game for coming off the bench and shoving 49ers linebacker Elijah Lee after Blount thought he hit quarterback Matthew Stafford late out of bounds in the fourth quarter.
The Lions invested a lot in their run game this offseason, and they didn't see the results Week 1 vs. the Jets (39 yards). It's good to see that part of the offense start to show some legs.
"The more we can run the ball like we did today, efficiently and effectively, some explosive runs in there, too," Stafford said. That will help us in the long run."
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 2 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
- The Lions did a pretty good job defensively forcing the 49ers into converting just three of their 11 third down attempts. The Lions were 7-of-16 on third down.
- Detroit notched eight tackles for loss and eight quarterback hits.
- Stafford didn't throw any interceptions against the 49ers, but he did lose a fumble deep in Lions territory that resulted in a 49ers field goal in an eventual three-point loss. Counting his four interceptions last week against the Jets, Stafford has five turnovers in two games.