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Monday, September 22, 2008
Around the NFC West: 49ers dominate


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee singles out Justin Smith as the 49ers' player of the game. Smith finished with one sack, one interception and a pass deflection. Also, the 49ers appeared to escape serious injury.

Also from Barrows: A look at how the 49ers' defensive backs fared.

More from Barrows: Allen Rossum had no idea the 49ers would call on him to score the first offensive touchdown of his career.

Ailene Voison of the Sacramento Bee likes what she sees from 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, even if she didn't see this coming.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers are drawing inspiration from O'Sullivan. Tackle Joe Staley: "It's probably smart to slide, but it pumps up the offense to see him [charge ahead]."

Also from FitzGerald: Frank Gore kept his eyes on the end zone even when he was bobbling the ball.

More from FitzGerald: Coach Mike Nolan was proud of the way his defensive backs held up against the Lions' big, athletic receivers.

And this: A 49ers report card showing high marks for the way San Francisco pressured Jon Kitna.

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle writes about Mike Martz, who didn't speak with reporters following the 49ers' blowout victory over the Lions. Ostler: "Think back. At what point over the last few seasons was there this much excitement and hope, however qualified, in 49erland? And what's not to like about Martz and O'Sullivan? The other players are buying in."

Monte Poole of the Contra Costa Times says the 49ers know what it's like to have no hope, one reason they were thrilled to beat even a poor team such as the Lions.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News looks at how the 49ers' defensive backs handled Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams. Williams: "They've got the passing mind calling the plays. So you can't compare our offense to the [49ers] offense. It makes no sense."

Also from Brown: O'Sullivan posted the 49ers' highest single-game passer rating since Jeff Garcia was quarterback.

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers says the 49ers have scored at least 30 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2003.

Also from Maiocco: Martz asked defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga to do his "haka" dance in a victorious postgame locker room. Note, too, that even Tarell Brown had a big day as the 49ers' defensive backs dominated.

More from Maiocco: Rossum scores the clinching touchdown on a fourth-down end-around after Mike Nolan decides against kicking a field goal. Kitna on O'Sullivan: "He is surrounded by some very talented players and he has an outstanding offensive coordinator." Not that the Lions had more fun with Martz.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Martz has restored personality to the 49ers' offense. Players think Martz has all the answers, Cohn writes.