The 49ers held on for a 30-27 victory over the Detroit Lions in their home opener Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers had reason to be frustrated that they did not finish off the Lions. But they also could feel fortunate to just hold on for the win after taking a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Here is a look at this week’s 49ers grades.
It was The Matt Breida Show. The second-year pro from Georgia Southern had a career day with 138 yards and one touchdown on just 11 rushing attempts. Alfred Morris got some tough yards, managing 48 yards on 14 carries.
Right guard Mike Person played despite a foot injury, and he made a huge block on Breida’s 66-yard touchdown run. Receiver Pierre Garçon put on a downfield blocking clinic on the same play.
Jimmy Garoppolo's passing numbers were very good. But they don’t necessarily tell the entire story.
Garoppolo completed 18 of 26 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, but he held the ball too long at times, and he was sacked six times for 50 yards. One of the key plays in the game was an interception that was nullified by a defensive holding penalty late in the game.
The 49ers’ run defense allowed the Lions to average 5.4 yards per carry, but it was not a key element of the game because Detroit’s running backs, Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount, ran the ball just eight times apiece. After a slow start, inside linebackers Fred Warner and Elijah Lee combined for 22 tackles.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a bounce-back game after a four-interception disaster against the New York Jets on Monday night. Stafford, who mostly avoided throwing toward Richard Sherman’s side of the field, completed 34 of 53 passes for 347 yards and three TDs with no interceptions.
The 49ers managed just two sacks -- one from Lee (forcing a turnover) and one from DeForest Buckner.
Rookie D.J. Reed supplied one of the key moments of the game with a kickoff return that appeared to go for a 101-yard touchdown. However, Reed was flagged for a facemask penalty on his stiff arm. Officially, it was a 90-yard return, but it did set up Garoppolo’s TD pass to tight end Garrett Celek.
The Lions had a long punt return nullified by a penalty, which enabled Bradley Pinion to post a net-43.2-yard average on five punts. Kicker Robbie Gould was nails, as usual, making field-goal attempts of 45, 42 and 36 yards.
Sherman said it felt like a loss, and we know what he means. The 49ers nearly blew a 30-13 lead in the fourth quarter.
While there's still plenty to clean up -- and there was some questionable play-calling in the fourth quarter as the 49ers tried to protect their lead --but it's still a win. Therefore, the 49ers can be assured of a passing grade. It also shows that this organization has made some progress. No longer is a win, regardless of how it looks, completely acceptable.