grading the 49ers
Here are the 49ers grades from their 27-19, home-opening win Sunday night against the Detroit Lions:
Despite having six passes dropped (and a bloody gash on the bridge of his nose), Alex Smith completed 20 of 31 for 226 yards. Smith's streak: no interceptions in 216 consecutive passes (plus 68 playoff attempts). Vernon Davis had two touchdown receptions, one that included fine open-field running. Michael Crabtree clutched up with three catches for third-down conversions on the final touchdown drive.
Tremendous blocking all around, and not just by the five starting linemen. Leonard Davis, Daniel Kilgore, Will Tukuafu, Bruce Miller and so many others opened lanes. Frank Gore (17 carries, 89 yards) and Kendall Hunter (five carries, 23 yards) weren't smothered by the Lions' overrated front.
Safeties Dashon Goldson (first interception) and Donte Whitner did a stellar job not allowing Matthew Stafford to strike deep to Calvin Johnson (eight receptions, 94 yards). Chris Culliver was victimized by a poor pass-interference penalty.
Patrick Willis flashed familiar form (nine tackles) in reprising a full-time role, having been
Kyle Williams made a great play retrieving the Lions' tricky kickoff to seal the outcome. Hunter fumbled a first-quarter kickoff return, so if Ted Ginn Jr. doesn't return this week, does LaMichael James get a try? Coverage unit allowed a 40-yard kickoff return.
Jim Harbaugh's understated handshakes before and after the game shouldn't distract you from more top-notch scheming and execution. As the Lions' Johnson said of the 49ers: "They're well-coached, disciplined and do what they're supposed to do out there."
-- CAM INMAN