They made it close after a struggling for three quarters. Still, too many mistakes cost the Detroit Lions as they embarked on a new journey after an offseason full of changes.
The Lions found themselves in an early double-digit hole and were never able to recover in a 41-33 loss against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Ford Field.
A pair of late scores made the final tally more respectable.
After a recovered onside kick led to a late Lions touchdown and linebacker Trey Flowers forced a fumble by 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel which the Lions recovered, they had a chance for a game tying touchdown with a two-point conversion. But the Lions couldn’t muster a game-tying drive and San Francisco survived for a Week 1 win.
The Lions’ comeback effort fell just short against the 49ers in Week 1.
Head coach Dan Campbell and quarterback Jared Goff made their Detroit debuts as the Lions begin an arduous rebuild after registering just 14 wins over the last three seasons. It got off to a rocky start.
The 49ers grabbed the first points of the game on a 5-yard touchdown reception by receiver Trent Sherfield, thrown by rookie quarterback Trey Lance. Lance and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo alternated snaps several times throuout the game.
Tight end TJ Hockenson caught Goff’s first touchdown pass with the Lions, helping tie the game with a 6-yard scoring toss in the second quarter. Then it went south.
49ers running back Elijah Mitchell gave them the lead right back with a 38-yard touchdown run. They added another rushing touchdown a pick-six and a field goal for a 31-10 lead at halftime.
There was little change after the break, with wideout Deebo Samuel torching Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah for a 79-yard touchdown catch to put the game seemingly out of reach until the Lions staged their late rally.
Goff went 38-of-57 for 338 yards with three scores and an interception as his quest to prove he can be the long-term answer under center in Detroit got off to an uneven beginning. Hockenson led the Lions with eight receptions for 97 yards, while tailbacks D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams combined for 214 total yards of offense and two touchdowns.
Garoppolo finished 17 of 25 for 314 yards while Samuel led the 49ers with 189 receiving yards. They finished with 131 total rushing yards.
The Lions were forced to play without starting left tackle Taylor Decker, who could miss significant time with a finger injury. Rookie Penei Sewell moved to left tackle in his first start, with Matt Nelson manning the right side. Okudah left the game with a foot injury and did not return.
The Lions will hit the road for the first time this season on Sept. 20th when they face the Green Bay Packers at 8:15 P.M. EST on Monday Night Football.