Recap: Lions can't claw back behind Goff, fall to 49ers at home, 41-33

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Well that was quite a ride, huh? The Lions looked exactly how many thought they would as the rebuild gets under way in Detroit, but with an added twist: This team fights, apparently.

The Lions had a chance to tie the game with first-and-10 at the 49ers 25 after previously trailing by 28, marking the first game under Dan Campbell — a 41-33 loss — as one with some mixed results.

Final leaders


► DET - Jared Goff: 38/57, 338 yds., 3 TD, INT

► SF - Jimmy Garoppolo: 17/25, 314 yds., TD


► DET - Jamaal Williams: 9 atts., 54 yds., TD

► SF - Elijah Mitchell: 19 atts., 104 yds., TD


► DET - T.J. Hockenson: 8 recs., 97 yds., TD

► SF - Deebo Samuel: 9 recs., 189 yds., TD


Game highlights

► 49ers quarterback Trey Lance throws his first career touchdown pass

► Jared Goff throws his first touchdown pass as a Lion, a 6-yard strike to T.J. Hockenson

► Jared Goff throws pick-6 before halftime

► 49ers rookie Elijah Mitchell takes it 38 yards to the house

► Deebo Samuel 79-yard touchdown reception over Jeff Okudah

► D'Andre Swift's 43-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter

► Lions recover onside kick with under 2:00 remaining

Quintez Cephus 2-yard touchdown reception to help bring the Lions within a score

Lions last gasp comes up short against 49ers

The Lions recover an onside kick, and will get it back at their own 41 with 1:53 to go.

Jared Goff completes to Trinity Benson for 11, T.J. Hockenson for 13, and then takes off for a gain of 10 to the San Francisco 25. This game is not over yet.

Goff hits Cephus for a quick gain of 3, then over the top to Benson for a pickup near the goal line, then to Quintez Cephus for a Lions touchdown, and then Cephus comes down with the most improbable two-point catch imaginable. The Lions have all three timeouts and 1:07 on the clock.

49ers 41, Lions 33 (1:07 4th)

The 49ers recover the onside kick, but take a false start penalty before the first snap. It's first-and-15 at the Detroit 48.

Elijah Mitchell is tackled for a gain of 1.

Timeout #1 Detroit (1:01 4th)

The second-down give to Mitchell is stopped after a gain of 2. 

Timeout #2 Detroit (0:57 4th)

Deebo Samuel catches the third-down throw, picks up the first down...and then fumbles! Trey Flowers with the strip, and it's Lions ball at the 30 with 0:52 to go.

Jared Goff's first-down pass is incomplete. The Lions have one timeout left. Amon-Ra St. Brown gets open on second down and hauls in a 20-yard pass while heading out of bounds to stop the clock and give the Lions a new set of downs.

It's first-and-10 at midfield.

Goff misses on first down, but hits Kalif Raymond for a 25-yard gain to the 25 of San Francisco.

Timeout #3 Detroit (0:34 4th)

It's first-and-10 at the 25. 34 seconds left. 

Goff has to throw it away with the pocket collapsing on second down, and scrambles out of bounds for a gain of 1 on second down. No timeouts remaining with 30 seconds left and third-and-9 coming up.

T.J. Hockenson gets jacked up while trying to haul in a third-down throw, and it falls to the turf. Fourth down coming up.

The 49ers get to Goff and force an errant throw. That'll be the game.

FINAL: 49ers 41, Lions 33

Lions cut deficit to two scores with Williams touchdown

San Francisco goes 3-and-out. Nothing too exciting to report. Lions get it back, taking over at the 14 after a punt.

49ers 41, Lions 17 (5:56 4th)

The Lions are moving their way down the field with short throws to Trinity Benson, T.J. Hockenson and D' Andre Swift, before Jared Goff airs one out down the sideline for an incompletion. The Lions keep their drive alive with a pass interference call on the 49ers.

Swift mainly keeps the ball moving for Detroit, retrieving short dump offs for a chunk here and a chunk there. Jamaal Williams sets the Lions up for first-and-10 at the 17, where Goff's end-zone attempt draws a pass interference call.

The Lions will get it at the 1, where Williams punches it in. A two-point conversion by Hockenson cuts the lead to 16.

49ers 41, Lions 25 (1:53 4th)

Lions turn ball over on downs in San Francisco territory

Detroit takes over at the 25. 

Jared Goff hits T.J. Hockenson on first down for a gain of 23 yards to the Detroit 48.

Goff's next pass is complete to Trinity Benson, a gain of 5. There's a holding penalty on Detroit, then an offsides penalty on San Francisco, and it'll be second-and-10: Benson again, but this time, he can't come up with it, and is now on the turf in pain.

Kalif Raymond picks up 5 yards on third down, setting up a fourth-and-5 that's behind the receiver and dropped.

49ers 41, Lions 17 (7:32 4th)

Lions hold 49ers to field goal in fourth

The Lions will take over at their own 12 to open the drive, trailing by 21, late in the third.

A quick pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown goes for a gain of 3, and that'll end the third quarter.

END 3RD: 49ers 38, Lions 17

Quintez Cephus makes an unbelievable catch down the left sideline on the next play, but he's flagged for illegal touching. Goff is sacked on third down. The Lions will end up punting.

49ers 38, Lions 17 (13:38 4th)

The 49ers will start at the San Francisco 47.

Elijah Mitchell carries for no gain, the pass misses on second down, but Jimmy Garoppolo finds his man for a 15-yard gain on third down to the Detroit 38.

Mitchell is stopped for no gain again. Garropolo is sacked for a loss of 8 yards on second down by Tracy Walker. A third-down throw to George Kittle goes for 12 yards — 6 short of the marker.

The 52-yard field goal from Robbie Gould is good.

49ers 41, Lions 17 (9:53 4th)

Lions defense gets stop after touchdown

The 49ers take over at the 20, leading by 21 in the third quarter.

Jimmy Garoppolo goes to Deebo Samuel for 16 yards to open the drive.

An incompletion and good run defense from the Lions force a 49ers punt, which goes out of bounds around the 11.

49ers 38, Lions 17 (0:33 3rd)

Swift breaks free for long touchdown 

The Lions take over at the 25 after a touchback. They trail, 38-10, with 7:54 in the third. We're already looking for moral victories here at Ford Field.

Jared Goff scrambles for a gain of 3 on first down; Jamaal Williams runs for 6 on second down. After a missed throw on third down, Williams gets the line to gain on fourth-and-1.

Goff dumps it off to Williams again on the next play, a gain of 7 to the San Francisco 43. Then it's D'Andre Swift coming down with a screen, and he breaks free for a 43-yard touchdown pass.

49ers 38, Lions 17 (4:23 3rd)

49ers take 38-10 lead after Deebo Samuel burns Jeff Okudah

After the punt, the 49ers take over at their own 9. They lead, 31-10, with 10:16 left in the third quarter.

Elijah Mitchell rushes for 7, and then 3, to give San Francisco a first down at the 19.

The Lions force third-and-8 after an incompletion and short Mitchell run, but that proves to be a false sense of security: Deebo Samuel beats Jeff Okudah down the sideline, comes down with the catch, and gets into the end zone for a 79-yard touchdown.

49ers 38, Lions 10 (7:54 3rd)

Lions offense stumbles out of the half

The Lions will take over at their own 42 after the missed field goal. 

Jared Goff misses on first down to Kalif Raymond, and takes a shot to Tyrell Williams on second down; Williams takes a headshot from Jaquiski Tartt while trying to come up with the pass, which draws a flag. He's pretty shaken up and is heading to the locker room, while the Lions set up at the San Francisco 43.

Swift runs up the middle for a yard on first down but drops an easy throw over the middle on second down. That forces a tough throw for Goff on third down, and that's also incomplete. 

Jack Fox's punt is fielded inside the 10 with a fair catch.

49ers 31, Lions 10 (10:23 3rd)

Lions get stop to open second half, force missed field goal

The 49ers take over at the their own 19 to start the second half. 

Jimmy Garoppolo comes up throwing to Greg Kittle, and it's for a big gain: 35 yards to the Detroit 46. 

Elijah Mitchell rushes for 2 yards on the next play, and Lions defensive lineman Michael Brockers is down with an injury. The 49ers pick up a first down with an 8-yard throw to George Kittle to the 36.

Mitchell rushes for 10 yards on the next play. It's first-and-10 at the 26.

Garoppolo throws incomplete on first down and is flagged for intentional grounding on second down. It's third-and-20. Trey Lance keeps and goes down after a gain of only a couple.

Robbie Gould misses the 52-yard field goal try.

49ers 31, Lions 10 (11:20 3rd)

Goff throws pick-6 before halftime, Lions trail 28-10

The Lions take over at the 20, trailing 21-10 with 2:25 left in the half.

Jared Goff's first-down throw to T.J. Hockenson is caught for a gain of 10, and that'll bring up the two-minute warning.

Two-minute warning

First-and-10 at the 30: Jared Goff hands off to D'Andre Swift, a gain of 3. He then dishes to Swift for a loss of 1 on second down. Goff's next throw is over the middle, picked off, and returned for a 49ers touchdown. 

49ers 28, Lions 10 (1:28 2nd)

The Lions will again try to get some points, but don't have much success. D'Andre Swift loses 4, Goff is sacked for a loss of 6, and offensive holding on third down is declined after only a 6-yard gain.

Jack Fox's punt is returned to the San Francisco 28.

49ers 28, Lions 10 (0:45 2nd)

Deebo Samuel takes an end-around for 14 yards, supplemented by a personal foul on Will Harris (late hit). It'll be first-and-10 at the 43.

Jimmy Garoppolo's pass is deflected away by Amani Oruwariye on first down, but he throws complete to Trent Sherfield for a pickup of 18 on second down. 

With time running out, the 49ers kick a field goal to get some points before half.

END 2ND: 49ers 31, Lions 10

49ers take two-score lead before half

San Francisco takes over at the 25. An 8-yard completion turns into a 22-yard gain after a personal foul on the Lions.

Elijah Mitchell gets it on consecutive carries for 6 and 11 yards, opening up Deebo Samuel to catch a 23-yard pass over the middle. It's first-and-10 at the 13.

Mitchell again, this time for 3. Samuel hauls in a soft toss from Jimmy Garoppolo on the next play, reaching the 3-yard-line to set up first-and-goal. JaMycal Hasty scores on the next play to put the 49ers up two scores.

49ers 21, Lions 10 (2:25 2nd)

Swift gets going as Lions answer with field goal

Detroit takes over at the 25, trailing 14-7.

Jamaal Williams goes up the middle for 3 yards on first down. A 2-yard gain on second down sets up third-and-5, which the Lions convert with a 6-yard throw to Williams.

D'Andre Swift gets the first-down carry and goes for 16, then gets it again on the next play and goes for 15. Penei Sewell is helping clear the way for the young fella. 

Swift gets it again, but maybe one too many times. He gets stopped for a loss of 1, then loses 3. The Lions go hurry-up on third-and-14, and simply check it down to Tyrell Williams for a gain of 7 to make the field goal manageable.

Austin Seibert hits the 49-yard field goal.

49ers 14, Lions 10 (6:13 2nd)

49ers regain lead after Hockenson touchdown

The 49ers will take over with 13:23 in the half, tied at 7, at their own 22.

Elijah Mitchell takes the first-down carry for a gain of 3. Deebo Samuel gets wide open over the middle and hauls in a 29-yard pass to the Detroit 46. He then gets it again on the next play, an 8-yard gain to the 38. 

Mitchell hits the hole on second down and breaks free for a 38-yard touchdown run.

49ers 14, Lions 7 (11:12 2nd)

Hockenson ties game at 7 for Lions

Detroit will take over at the 18 after the return from Godwin Igwebuike.

Jared Goff's first-down throw to T.J. Hockenson is into coverage and misses the mark. Jamaal Williams then takes off up the middle, and he's having some success there today: A 20-yard gain gets the Lions to the 38-yard-line with a new set of downs.

Williams goes up the middle on the next play for a pickup of 7. He's having an excellent game already. Goff misses a throw to fullback Jason Cabinda in the flat, but the 49ers are flagged for roughing the passer. It'll be first-and-10 at the San Francisco 40.

Goff is dropped in the backfield on first down for a loss of 10. Swift takes a check-down on second down and gets to the 38, a 12-yard gain. Hockenson makes a terrific effort to stay in-bounds and haul in a 12-yard pass on second third down. It'll be first-and-10 at the 26.

Swift goes up the middle for 7 yards on first down, and is then stopped after 1 yard on second down. Hockenson is wrapped up short of the marker after catching a quick throw in the flat on third down, bringing up a fourth-and-1 situation that the Lions will go for.

Goff takes the snap, empty backfield, dishes to Tyrell Williams on a slant for 7 yards to the 10, and that'll end the first quarter. It'll be first-and-goal at the 10 when we come back.

END 1ST: 49ers 7, Lions 0 

Swift is taken down after a gain of 1 on first down, and is then wrapped up at the 6 after catching a throw on second down. Hockenson gets the pylon after hauling in a throw near the sideline on third down, and the Lions have tied this game.

Lions 7, 49ers 7 (13:29 2nd)

49ers get first points of game 

The 49ers take over at their own 41, great field position in this scoreless game.

An 11-yard run by Raheem Mostert gets them into Detroit territory, and he takes the next one for 9 yards to the Detroit 39. It's second-and-1: The 49ers fake a toss and get the ball out to George Kittle, who runs all the way to the 16-yard-line for a San Francisco first down.

Trey Lance enters at quarterback. He fakes a pitch and tries to sneak, but is tackled for a gain of only 1. Elijah Mitchell runs it up the middle for a gain of 3, and Jimmy Garoppolo passes to Mohamed Sanu for a pickup of 5 to the 7.

Lance throws complete to Trent Sherfield for a 49ers touchdown.

49ers 7, Lions 0 (5:41 1st)

Lions force turnover, miss field goal after coming up empty on opening drive

Detroit takes over at the 25 after a return from Godwin Igwebuike.

Jamaal Williams gets it on first down and hits the hole for a gain of 10 up the middle. 

Then Jared Goff throws complete to T.J. Hockenson for a gain of 22 yards, into San Francisco territory at the 43.

Williams runs for 2, and Goff just misses the target with a throw over the middle. The third-down throw to Williams is caught for a gain of 6, and Detroit will go for it on fourth down: Williams stumbles in the backfield and San Francisco swarms, it'll be a turnover on downs.

Lions 0, 49ers 0 (12:06 1st)

And just like the Matt Patricia era, the Dan Campbell era opens with a turnover on defense. Jamie Collins recovers a fumbled handoff at the 49ers' 38-yard-line.

D'Andre Swift rushes for 4, and Kalif Raymond takes an end-around to the 25 for a gain of 9 to move the chains.

Goff has Amon-Ra St. Brown streaking toward the end zone on first down, but just overthrows him. D'Andre Swift is dropped for an 8-yard loss on a second-down screen pass, bringing up third-and-18: Goff's checkdown misses the mark.

Austin Seibert misses a 51-yard field goal.

Lions 0, 49ers 0 (9:41 1st)


A new era begins Sunday at Ford Field. Detroit Lions fans undoubtedly are hoping, in the long run, it's not a new error.

The Lions open the 2021 season at home against the San Francisco 49ers, marking the regular-season head-coaching debut of Dan Campbell, under first-year general manager Brad Holmes.

There's a new quarterback, too, in case you haven't heard.

The Lions are rebuilding — or, retooling — as they've gone four seasons without a playoff appearance, and even longer (1992) without a playoff victory.  

Campbell and Co. get a daunting first test in the 49ers, who are coming off an injury-marred 6-10 season following a Super Bowl appearance in 2019. Making the sledding even tougher, the Lions enter the game without an offensive line cornerstone in Taylor Decker, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a finger injury.

Follow along here for live updates from Detroit News contributor Nolan Bianchi.

More: Five things to watch: 49ers at Lions

49ers at Lions

► Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Ford Field, Detroit

 TV/radio: Fox/97.1

► Records: 49ers 0-0; Lions 0-0

► Line: 49ers by 8.5