The 49ers moved to 2-0 and – for the second consecutive year – gave Detroit its first loss of the season.
Let's look at the good, the bad and the ugly from the loss.
The Good – Detroit's Ability to Compete
Moral victories count for nothing in the standings but the Lions shouldn't hang their collective heads after losing to a very good 49ers squad on the road.
The Lions had many opportunities to earn a better fate for themselves but simply failed to capitalize. Two plays alone provided a seven-point swing in this eight-point loss.
Kicker Jason Hanson, who converted four field goals, missed a 40-yard attempt in the first half when his kick ricocheted off of the right upright before rattling off the cross bar and falling to the ground no good.
Cornerback Drayton Florence was penalized for running into kicker David Akers after the veteran kicker converted a 35-yard field goal attempt. The penalty resulted in a first down, which turned into a touchdown three plays later.
With those seven-points on the board, the Lions would have been in position to attempt a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter to potential tie the game.
Ultimately, ‘what-ifs' and ‘should-ofs' are no consolation. However, if the 49ers are as good as advertised, then it's encouraging to see the Lions are capable of competing.
The Bad – The Offense
Not just one player or facet of the Lions offense should be singled out here, rather than entire unit collectively let the team down.
The Lions mustered only 15 first downs and 296 yards.
Not many expected much from the running game so the 82 rushing yards generated might be a slight surprise but the 3.2 yards-per-carry average could be considered Exhibit A in the case of logic v.s. running the ball 26 times against the 49ers defense.
The passing attack was the most disappointing. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 230 yards, a number that is not only below the expectations of the Lions signal caller but one that is inflated due to the 50-yard screen handled by Joique Bell in the fourth quarter.
The Lions are a team built to be explosive on offense not one built to kick field goals.
The Ugly – Third Down Performance
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this game to watch was the team's struggles on third down.
On offense, the Lions converted on only 40% of their third-down attempts, setting the stage for five field goal attempts and two punts.
On defense, the Lions had a decent day stopping the 49ers on third down until late in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers ate up 6:12 minutes of clock, ran 13 plays and drove the ball 79 yards before scoring a devastating touchdown on their last offensive drive.
During this drive, the Lions had forced the 49ers into third-down situations three times.
The 49ers faced a third-and-fourteen, a third-and-nine and a third-and-twelve on the drive and converted all three.
Had the Lions got off the field – especially earlier in the drive – the outcome of the game may have been different.