49ers report card

Handing out grades to the 49ers for their thoroughly impressive 31-13 victory over the Detroit Lions.

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- QB J.T. O'Sullivan completed 16 passes to eight different receivers and had a passer rating of 123.3. He also did a good job of getting rid of the ball to avoid unnecessary sacks. O'Sullivan was sacked just once for minus-1 yard. He also ran for 32 yards when plays broke down around him. Tight end Delanie Walker caught a 24-yard TD pass in the second quarter, and Isaac Bruce added a 6-yard scoring reception. Tight end Vernon Davis dropped a couple passes, including a deep ball that would have gone for about 50 yards. The pass protection in front of O'Sullivan was much better than the week before - when he was sacked eight times and hit on eight other occasions - and he didn't throw an interception for the second consecutive game.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Running back Frank Gore rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Gore had carries of 33 and 20 yards. Receiver Arnaz Battle got into the act with an 18-yard run on a reverse, while return specialist Allen Rossum made a nifty run to get into the end zone on a fourth-and-goal reverse from the 1-yard line. The 49ers averaged 4.7 yards on their 39 rushing attempts, with O'Sullivan taking three kneel-downs for minus-3 yards at the end of the game.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- Cornerbacks Nate Clements and Walt Harris contained Lions receivers Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams about as well as they could have hoped. When the 49ers took a 28-6 lead in the fourth quarter, both Johnson and Williams had only one reception apiece for a combined 24 yards. Second-year cornerback Tarell Brown also did a fine job on Mike Furrey. Brown notched an interception. Defensive end Justin Smith also had an interception and one sack. The 49ers recorded four sacks of the game, with Roderick Green accounting for two of them.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The 49ers placed a lot of emphasis in their pass defense, so they allowed the Lions to get some yards on the ground. Rudi Johnson gained 83 yards on 14 carries. The Lions accounted for eight of their 14 first downs on the ground. The Lions capitalized on the aggressiveness of the 49ers' defensive front to design plays to take advantage of the 49ers getting up the field in their eagerness to rush the passer.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- Joe Nedney missed a FG attempt. Punter Andy Lee had only a 35.0 net average, but he did drop three of his four tries inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Rossum was OK in the return game, and Arnaz Battle cleanly fielded an onsides kick and nearly returned it for a TD before getting stopped at the 11-yard line. Jason Hill led the coverage units with three tackles.

COACHING: A -- Offensive coordinator Mike Martz called a near-flawless game against the team that fired him after last season. Martz got the Lions thinking about the run, and then O'Sullivan gouged them down the field with his passing. The defensive game plan was outstanding, as the 49ers did a number on the Lions' passing game. Detroit's passer rating for the game was 45.9, and their explosive set of wideouts never factored in the game. It was just a solid, well-planned performance all the way around. Coach Mike Nolan also deserves some kudos for pulling his field-goal unit off the field and going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The 49ers scored the touchdown on a well-conceived play by Martz, and that's the kind of thing that builds confidence.

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