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(Sunday, December 27th)
Final Score: San Francisco 20, Detroit 6
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Alex Smith threw a touchdown and Frank Gore ran one in as San Francisco took down Detroit, 20-6, at Candlestick Park.
Smith went 20-for-31 with 230 yards while Gore totaled 71 yards on 28 carries for the 49ers (7-8), who have won two of their last three. Gore was also the team's leading receiver with four catches for 81 yards while Vernon Davis caught a touchdown.
"I'm very thankful for the win and thankful that everything worked out the way we did," said San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary. "We started off slow offensively, but we got it together later in the game and were able to pull out the victory."
Drew Stanton, making his first career start in place of an injured Matthew Stafford and an ineffective Daunte Culpepper, went 11-for-21 with 130 yards, three interceptions and a fumble for the Lions (2-13), who have dropped their past five games. Calvin Johnson had seven catches for 96 yards and added 32 rushing yards but also fumbled the ball twice.
"You're not going to win many games in the NFL when you turn the ball over as many times as we did today," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "Our defense was able to keep us in the game, but obviously we didn't do enough today to win the game. We had plenty of chances, but we didn't get it done today."
Detroit started the game with the ball and kept it for almost eight minutes over a 15-play, 76-yard drive that was capped on a Jason Hanson 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 7:01 left in the first quarter.
Each team then went three-and-out, and San Fran tied the game with a 33-yard field goal from Ricky Schmitt with 54 seconds left in the first. It was the first field goal attempt of his career and was set up on a 50-yard catch from Michael Crabtree.
In the second, Stanton fumbled the ball when his arm was hit by Ahmad Brooks, and the 49ers recovered the ball at their own 47.
The Detroit defense stuffed Gore on a 4th-and-1 to get the ball back, but Johnson fumbled a reception near midfield.
Another exchange of punts saw the Niners get the ball at their own 46, and the team took a 6-3 lead on a 39-yarder from Schmitt that just wobbled its way inside the right goalpost with 2:11 left in the first half.
Stanton was picked off by Patrick Willis on Detroit's ensuing drive, but Lions defense again held tough and limited San Francisco to a 28-yard field goal attempt by Schmitt. His first attempt sailed through, but Detroit had called timeout right before the snap. On the second attempt, Detroit blocked the kick and it was a three-point game at the break.
After each team punted on its first drive of the second half, the 49ers went on a six-play march of 49 yards to get into the end zone. The drive was capped on a bootleg out to the right which Smith finished with a two-yard toss to Davis.
The play was challenged by Detroit to determine if Smith went over the line- of-scrimmage, but the ruling on the field stood and San Francisco had a 13-3 lead with 7:17 left in the third.
Detroit was stuffed on its next touch, and San Francisco took the ball 63 yards over seven plays on the next drive, finishing it with a one-yard run up the middle by Gore for a 20-3 lead with 1:08 to play.
With Culpepper under center, Detroit put up a 38-yard field goal from Hanson with under four minutes to play to cap the scoring in the contest.
San Francisco, which finished the home portion of its schedule with a 6-2 mark, closes out its season at St. Louis next Sunday...Detroit, which went 0-8 on the road and has lost 20 straight as the visitors, closes out its season next Sunday at home against Chicago...The 49ers have won seven straight against the Lions...Detroit totaled six turnovers in the game...Culpepper went 7-for-12 for 51 yards.
12/27 20:41:53 ET