49ers notes: Rare turnover not too costly


49ers notes: Rare turnover not too costly

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers turnover-less streak came to an end, but the team's defense made sure it didn't prove too costly.The 49ers' string of 26 consecutive quarters without a regular-season giveaway ended midway through first period when Kendall Hunter fumbled a kickoff return. The Lions took over at the 25-yard line, but managed just 2 yards before settling for a field goal.The 49ers' defense held Detroit out of the end zone for the 59 minutes, 31 seconds before scoring a late touchdown in San Francisco's 27-19 victory at Candlestick Park.RECAP: Maiocco's Instant Replay -- 49ers 27, Lions 19
"We had the adversity of the turnover," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They're never in until they're in (the end zone). And our defense takes that philosophy."The Lions did not actually get inside the 49ers' 20-yard line until their closing drive. Earlier Detroit drives stalled at the 49ers' 20, 23, 21, 22 and 30. The Lions settled for four Jason Hanson field goals and a missed field-goal attempt."That was a huge number of times for our defense to get those stops," Harbaugh said.Streak continues: Quarterback Alex Smith, who entered the game with a team-record streak of 185 consecutive pass attempts without throwing an interception, added another 31 to extend his own record.Smith completed 20 of 31 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. The team's receivers let as many as seven catchable passes slip away, too. Still, Smith had a passer rating of 107.7 that included touchdown passes to tight end Vernon Davis of 21 and 23 yards.Pass defense: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's streak of four consecutive games with 350-plus yards passing came to an end. He threw for 230 yards with 97 of those passing yards coming on the final drive.The 49ers, for the most part, did a good job on All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson, as they used a variety of different man and zone coverages. He finished with eight receptions for 94 yards."They did a good job and they had a good game plan as far as keeping somebody up underneath inside and somebody over the top," Johnson said. "You have to take what they give you, little by little."Handshake postscript: Coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz who gained national attention a year ago with their heated exchange at the end of the 49ers' victory at Ford Field provided no made-for-TV moments on Sunday.The men spoke and shook hands before the game, and had another routine meeting following the 49ers' victory."I thought it went good," Harbaugh said. "That's the thing. It's just about this matchup, two good teams. And I think that that's the story: Two good football teams going at it early in the season."Smith's sacks: The stats crew credited outside linebacker Aldon Smith with one sack Sunday, but he is expected to get credit for another after the Elias Sports Bureau, the NFL's official stat keepers, review the game.Smith was there to sack Stafford for a 9-yard loss in the fourth quarter, but Ray McDonald was incorrectly given credit. Smith recorded another sack on the first play of the Lions' final drive.49ers dispute report: A 49ers spokesman disputed NBC's Michelle Tafoya characterization of a conversation she had with Harbaugh on Friday. Prior to the game, Tafoya reported Harbaugh cautioned his team about facing the Lions."The Lions are a chippy bunch," Tafoya said. "He calls them a late hit-bunch, and he has warned his team to keep their heads on a swivel and to not retaliate. Don't draw flags."Said Harbaugh, "I don't recall saying that."Bob Lange, the 49ers' director of public relations, said he was present for the production meeting and Harbaugh was speaking in generalities and did not refer to the Lions in those terms.MAIOCCO: 49ers O-line not impressed with Lions front four
However, it's safe to say that some of the 49ers' players believe the Lions pushed the boundaries of what's legal. Quarterback Alex Smith was sporting a cut on the bridge of his nose from a forearm administered by Lions safety John Wendling."Not dazed, just bleeding," Smith said. "I looked up and saw the flag and I thought for sure it was a personal foul call. Pretty stunned not to get that call."Tight end Delanie Walker was called for holding on the fourth-quarter play.In the first half, Vernon Davis sat out eight plays when he got poked in the eye."I don't know if it was intentional by (Lions defensive end Cliff) Avril," Davis said. "I am just not sure."Notes and quotes: Running back Frank Gore ranks fourth in the NFL with 201 yards rushing. He has registered a rushing touchdown in each of hisl five career games against the Lions. . . Quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien, and outside linebacker Clark Haggans were the only active 49ers who did not play. . . Receiver Mario Manningham had a career-high 29-yard run in the first quarter. . . . Safety Dashon Goldson recorded his 12th career interception. The play eventually led to Gore's 1-yard TD run.

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula reportedly might be back in the NFL after a one-year hiatus.

Tomsula, who spent his first eight NFL seasons as a defensive line coach, could be returning to that job with Washington, Carol Maloney of NBC4 reported on Sunday. But according to the Washington Post, a deal is not done between the two sides.

If the deal were to happen Tomsula would be rejoining Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and general manager Scot McCloughan, both of whom he worked with while members of the 49ers organization.

Tomsula was promoted to the head-coaching job over finalist Adam Gase two years ago after the 49ers' “mututal parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in 2015. Chip Kelly was hired to replace Tomsula. Kelly was fired after the 49ers went 2-14, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.