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Stingy 49ers tame Lions

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore, right, runs with the ball but is stopped by Detroit Lions outside linebacker Justin Durant, left, during the first quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP | AP

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco 49ers stymied 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, then record-setting Matthew Stafford in Week 2.

This stingy, opportunistic defense is again making its mark as one of the league’s best facing the top offenses and most prolific passers — and that you can shake on.

The Niners denied Stafford another milestone, Vernon Davis caught touchdown passes of 21 and 23 yards from Alex Smith, and San Francisco beat the Detroit Lions 27-19 on Sunday night in a September showdown of NFC powers that hardly lived up to its hype.



Smith completed 20 of 31 throws for 226 yards and extended his franchise-record streak of passes without an interception to 216. He led the reigning NFC West champion Niners (2-0) to their ninth straight win in the series since the Lions’ last victory on Sept. 25, 1995. Smith took a hard hand to the helmet from John Wendling late and bloodied his nose.

The 49ers ran their home winning streak against the Lions to 12 games since Detroit’s last victory at Candlestick Park on Nov. 2, 1975.




And no heated greeting after this one. Coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz met each other with a friendly hello and handshake during pregame warmups, then an uneventful shake and half-hug when time expired.

Frank Gore carried 17 times for 89 yards and a 1-yard touchdown, just missing his fifth 100-yard game in as many career meetings with the Lions.

Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 94 yards, but that was hardly enough as the Lions (1-1) never got closer than the 20 until their final drive on a cool, windy night by the bay. San Francisco’s secondary kept Megatron from catching a touchdown pass for the second straight matchup, forcing Stafford to rely heavily on the running game.

Another impressive outing by a defense that shut down Rodgers in a 30-22 win over the Packers last week at Lambeau Field.

Stafford finished 19 for 32 with 230 yards, one touchdown and an interception, missing a chance to become the first player in NFL history to throw for 350 yards in five straight games. Drew Brees of the Saints also did so in four consecutive games last season.

Stafford threw for 355 yards in last week’s 27-23 win over St. Louis at home but also had three interceptions before halftime for the first time — and said he couldn’t do that again for the Lions to win. He never got in sync.


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