49ers key matchup No. 2: Goldson vs. Stafford

September 15, 2012, 4:34 pm
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(This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Lions matchups to watch Sunday, 5:20 p.m. (NBC-TV), at Candlestick Park.

Key matchup No. 3: Patrick Willis vs. Brandon Pettigrew
49ers FS Dashon Goldson vs. Lions QB Matthew StaffordTale of the tape
Goldson (38): 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, sixth season, Washington
Stafford (9): 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, fourth season, GeorgiaThis is a matchup that features two big-play players.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford and 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson have been known to take some chances, and that means a big play could happen for either side when these two are involved.There is no denying Stafford's big-play potential. He threw for 355 yards in the Lions' 27-23 victory over the St. Louis Rams in Week 1 to become the second player in NFL history to pass for at least 350 yards in four consecutive games (Drew Brees, 4 in 2011)."He can make plays at any time," Goldson said. "He's got the arm to get it there, and he's got the weapons. I'm sure he's done his study."Stafford led the Lions on a late scoring drive for the winning points to enable the Lions to open with a victory. But he also gave the Rams plenty of chances with one interception at the goal line, another inside the Rams' 20-yard line, and one more that resulted in cornerback Cortland Finnegan's 31-yard interception return for a touchdown before the half."Watching what he did last week, he forces the ball in there a lot," Goldson said. "He's still a good quarterback. He's got a strong arm. You can't sleep on him. But there's definitely going to be something out there."Goldson, whom the 49ers retained on a one-year, 6.2 million tender as their franchise player, recorded six interceptions last season to share team-high honors with cornerback Carlos Rogers. He also forced one fumble and recovered one.However, Goldson is also known to take a gamble from time to time and give up a play. He left his responsibility in the end zone in the 49ers' quarters coverage in Week 1 to leave Green Bay receiver James Jones all alone for a 10-yard touchdown.Goldson should have plenty of action come his way in the 49ers' secondary, as he will likely be over the top in coverage against All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson on multiple occasions.