Win over Lions represents progress for 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are eliminated from playoff contention, and improving to 7-8 by defeating the woeful Detroit Lions isn’t exactly cause for celebration.

But for the 49ers, today’s 20-6 win over Detroit does represent progress.

The 49ers now just need to beat the Rams next week to finish the season 8-8, for their first non-losing season since 2002. That year the 49ers went 10-6, lost in the divisional round of the playoffs, and fired coach Steve Mariucci following the season. No coach in San Francisco has managed to muster a season better than 7-9 since.

Today quarterback Alex Smith had a solid outing, completing 20 of 31 passes for 230 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions. Frank Gore added 28 carries for 71 yards and four catches for 81 yards.

For Detroit, the offense couldn’t hold onto the ball, as quarterback Drew Stanton threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, while wide receiver Calvin Johnson lost two fumbles. Their 2-13 record is better than last year’s, but the Lions don’t look much better than they did a season ago.

The 49ers, however, are clearly getting better. A win next week and a .500 record would represent a real step forward.

13 responses to “Win over Lions represents progress for 49ers

  1. Wow, a west coast team getting some credit on Profootballtalk. I never thought I would see the day.

  2. This team is a few plays away from entering the playoffs this season. The Minnesota Favre miracle; The Gore fumble in Seattle; The failure to stop the Titan’s Chris Johnson on 4th and goal; and the Colt’s Joseph Addai TD pass to Reggie Wayne. That is 4 victories that could have gone the other way, but didn’t. They have only themselves to blame for failing to make the playoffs. If they beat the Rams in week 17 the record would have been 12-4 and this team’s defense would be a tough opponent in the games everyone wants to play in. So yes, I agree that this team has made progress and is competitive. A good draft and some continuity on offense and this team will be fun to watch because of all the names it has on the field. Gore, Davis, and Crabtree on offense; Willis, Brooks, Smith, Franklin, and Goldson on defense. We’ll see.

  3. Singletary has had them playing hard for him since last year, they stay dedicated to the run, and they seem to have some firepower developing on offense. Next year could be fun to watch.

  4. Being a long time lions fan, and not missing a game in ten years, I can tell you that this team has the most potential I have seen in years. They are much improved over last year. They have played are started seven rookies this year. And those rookies have contributed huge. Rods team was the worst of all time. This team even with just two wins is head and shoulders above last years team. In a couple years with a few more good drafts, they’ll start to compete. There is no comparison to last years team or coaching staff to this years.

  5. If beating the Lions is a sign of progress, the entire league has taken a monumental leap forward over the last decade……….

  6. The Niners lost a few close games this year that they could have easily have won. One or two wins in those close games and the Niners would be a playoff contender. If they can put a couple of pieces together in the off-season they have a real shot at taking the NFC West next year.
    The Niners schedule next year is favorable for them:
    The Normal Home and Home NFC West Rotation:
    (With a win against the Rams the Niners will be 5-1 in the NFC West this year.) – Figure 4-2 next year
    Atlanta, Carolina, Denver, Kansas City and Dallas at Home – Figure 2-3 at the worst next year
    New Orleans, Tampa, Oakland, San Diego and either Baltimore or Pittsburgh on the Road – Figure 2-3 at the worst next year
    That would put them at 8-8 at the worst next year again and with a couple of breaks they could win 10 games and take the West.

  7. @ SF saints fan: It won’t be Baltimore or Pittsburgh…It would be the 2nd place team in the NFC north which would be the Packers

  8. 1) The Lions are on Suh watch, no more wins
    2) Anyone measuring success based on a Lions defeat is in sorrier shape than the Lions
    3) The Bronco’s offensive playcalling in crucial situations still sucks. Josh needs a real O coordinator,

  9. It doesn’t matter what next year’s schedule looks like…as long as Alex Smith is the QB the Niners will be lucky to be .500…just like this year. Shaun Hill could have gotten 8 wins. Smith will never be a “Big Game” QB. Wthout a QB upgrade it will be 8-8 again next season!

  10. @Lott42 : As I fan that watches EVERY game I couldn’t disagree more. Alex Smith has take some big strides this year. He is starting to take care of the ball like he needs to do. I believe next year he could definatly lead us to a 9-7 or 10-6 record. Which would be another step.
    We need to focus on the O-line and d-line in the offseason. those are the 2 biggest weaknesses on the team

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