49ers-Lions highlights: Seven plays that defined San Francisco's win


49ers-Lions highlights: Seven plays that defined San Francisco's win

SANTA CLARA -- The San Francisco 49ers opened their home schedule with a bang Sunday, outlasting the Detroit Lions for a 30-27 victory at Levi’s Stadium.

While it wasn’t always pretty -- Jimmy Garoppolo, for example, took untimely sacks and nearly blew the game by throwing a fourth-quarter interception that was called back on a defensive penalty -- the 49ers made just enough plays and overcame some mistakes to walk away winners.

Let’s examine the seven plays that ultimately swung the game the 49ers’ way and sent the Lions home 0-2.

Saved by the whistle

Jimmy G’s biggest mistake came with 2:24 left in the game, but a defensive holding call on Quandre Diggs erased a Tracy Walker interception and 37-yard return that would’ve given the Lions the ball at the 49ers’ 7.

Our Ray Ratto tweeted what everyone was thinking when Walker picked off the pass …

… and then everyone saw the yellow flag on the field.

Running wild

Matt Breida opened the game with a 28-yard scamper, and that was just the beginning. The 49ers’ speedy running back tried to put the game away late in the third quarter when he busted out a 20-yard gain, followed by a 66-yard touchdown run to cap a three-play, 97-yard drive.

The 66-yard run gave Breida his first career 100-yard game and was the longest play of his two-year NFL career. He finished the game with 138 yards on 11 carries -- as the 49ers used him on stretch plays, including on his TD -- and added 21 yards on three receptions.

Coming out hot

D.J. Reed Jr. took the second-half kickoff to the house for a 101-yard touchdown, but this time, a penalty didn’t go the 49ers’ way. The rookie grabbed a Lions defender’s facemask as he muscled into the end zone, and the call placed the ball at the Detroit 26.

Garoppolo picked up Reed four plays later, when he hit tight end Garrett Celek on an 11-yard TD pass that gave the 49ers a 20-10 lead.

So no harm on that foul, as Reed’s return got the 49ers off to a great start following a disappointing finish to the first half.

Longest drive contest

On the kickoff after the Lions’ first score, Mark Nzeocha was called for an illegal block above the waist, backing the 49ers up to their own 12. Garoppolo and the offense responded by chewing 5:38 off the clock on a 13-play, 88-yard drive topped by a 4-yard TD pass to Kendrick Bourne in the left flat.

It was Bourne’s first NFL touchdown, which always is cause for celebration.

Costly mistake

The Lions seemed to lose focus in the middle of the second quarter. After holding the 49ers on third-and-2 and forcing a punt, the wheels came off Detroit’s bus.

Return man Jamal Agnew started the sequence by forgetting to fair-catch the punt and then being blasted by San Francisco special-teamer Raheem Mostert.

Three plays later, 49ers linebacker Elijah Lee hit Matthew Stafford on third-and-3 and forced a fumble, which Cassius Marsh recovered for San Francisco at the Detroit 16.

The Lions held the 49ers to a field goal, but the series was a complete disaster for Detroit.

Wrap it up

The 49ers had the Lions pinned on third-and-7 at their own 34 on Detroit’s second drive, when Stafford hit Theo Riddick out of the backfield on a swing pass. Lee was there for the stop, but he let Riddick wiggle free for a 10-yard gain and a first down.

The Lions scored four plays later on a 30-yard TD pass to Kenny Golladay.

Lost opportunity

Leading 30-13 in the fourth quarter, the 49ers forced the Lions into a third-and-17 situation after a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on LeGarrette Blount that resulted in the running back being ejected.

But Stafford scrambled on the third-down play and found a wide-open Golden Tate down the left sideline. Tate cut back to the middle of the field before finally being tackled at the 49ers’ 10 after a gain of 67 yards, setting up a Marvin Jones TD two plays later.

The play gave Detroit momentum, as the team also scored a touchdown on its next offensive possession to cut San Francisco’s lead to 30-27 and make it a game late. Luckily, the 49ers’ defense held, and the officials saw the defensive hold that negated Garoppolo’s late pick.

Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks


Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks

49ers broadcaster Tim Ryan was suspended for one game after comments made about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson following Sunday’s loss.

“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with the dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see the thing,” Ryan said on the show (H/T The San Francisco Chronicle).

The comments created a social media firestorm, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh isn’t interested in furthering the controversy.

“I don’t really know too much about it or understand the context of it. It’s not relevant to what we’re trying to accomplish right now,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.

[RELATED: 49ers' Harris to start at strong safety for injured Tartt]

Former 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown will replace Ryan on Sunday’s broadcast in New Orleans.

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

BRADENTON, Fla. – Marcell Harris on Sunday will be back where he ended his rookie season with the 49ers.

Harris will take over as the 49ers’ starter at strong safety with Jaquiski Tartt out for at least one game after sustaining cracked ribs in the team’s 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13.

Tartt and backup defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (elbow) have been ruled out for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Two of the 49ers’ seldom-used wide receivers, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, are listed as questionable, along with left tackle Joe Staley. Goodwin has knee and foot issues, according to the team, while Pettis has already missed one game with a knee injury.

Staley has missed three games after surgery to repair a fractured and dislocated finger. He is expected to play Sunday.

All other 49ers players, including Dee Ford and Richard Sherman, will be available for Sunday’s game.

Harris started the final five games of his rookie season after being a sixth-round draft pick from Florida in 2018. He did not earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster at the beginning of this season. Harris was promoted from the practice squad in October and has appeared in nine games this season.

“I’m real happy for Marcell,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on "49ers Game Plan," which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3). “He’s gone come a long way, in that he was a very good college player, tore his Achilles his senior year, which really hurt him. That’s why we were able to get him in the draft. It affected him his whole rookie year.

"He’s been able to string together about eight months where he has been healthy, and when you’re made of the right stuff, you have the talent and you can stay healthy, you usually just need the time.”

Harris took over for Tartt on Sunday and made one of the top plays in the game when he took the ball away from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a running play to create a turnover.

[RELATED: Sanders has been valuable resource for 49ers' young WRs]

49ers injury report

S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)

WR Marquise Goodwin (knee, foot)
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
T Joe Staley (finger)