Lions pride hurting after Alex Smith and 49ers end winning start

San Francisco beat Detroit 25-19, and following post-game celebrations, a new rivalry might have emerged in the NFL.
Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers coach, left, shouts at Lion's coach, Jim Schwartz, right, at full time in San Francisco's 25-19 win against Detroit.
Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers coach, left, shouts at Lion's coach, Jim Schwartz, right, at full time in San Francisco's 25-19 win against Detroit.

DETROIT // Jim Harbaugh charged across the field, lifting his shirt to expose his belly to attempt a chest bump. He extended his right hand to Jim Schwartz for a shake and slapped him on the back with his left hand.

Schwartz did not like what was done or said - claiming he heard an expletive - and went charging after Harbaugh. What an emotion-filled scene following a meeting of turnaround teams that matched pre-game hype in San Francisco's 25-19 victory over Detroit yesterday.

The NFC might have a new, nasty rivalry no one saw coming.

After the 49ers knocked the Lions from the unbeaten ranks on Alex Smith's touchdown pass with one minute and 51 seconds left, both coaches added some highlights — or lowlights — of their own.

Harbaugh took the blame in one breath — and a shot in the next.

"That's totally on me," Harbaugh said. "I shook his hand too hard."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the incident will be reviewed.

Harbaugh, a first-year NFL coach who played at Michigan, had to be separated from Schwartz more than once after Schwartz came running and lunging toward him as both teams were going to the tunnel.

"I went to congratulate coach Harbaugh and got shoved out of the way," Schwartz said. "I didn't expect an obscenity at that point. Obviously, when you win a game like that, you are excited, but there is a protocol that goes with this league."

Players from the 49ers (5-1) and Lions (5-1) gathered and appeared to restore order — probably because they were worn out from a hard-hitting, penalty-filled game with four lead changes after half time.

"Ironically, I was playing peacemaker," Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Detroit defensive end, said. "But this is an emotional sport."

Smith's fourth-down, six-yard pass to Delanie Walker gave San Francisco the go-ahead touchdown with 1:51 left. The play stood after video review did not show definitely whether Walker's right knee was down before the ball reached the goal-line.

David Akers gave San Francisco a six-point lead with 1:02 to go with a 37-yard field goal.

Detroit had a chance to drive for a winning TD, but could not get a first down against a swarming defence that hit and confused Matthew Stafford, the quarterback, from the start.

That last drive started with San Francisco's fifth sack and ended with a catch and lateral — 69 yards short of the end zone — to trigger Harbaugh's exuberant celebration.

"It fires me up a lot," Harbaugh said. "If that offends you or anybody else, then so be it."

Elsewhere, Tom Brady got the offence going just in time to lead the New England Patriots to the winning touchdown in the final minute of a 20-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Brady threw an eight-yard scoring pass to Aaron Hernandez with 22 seconds left and the Patriots' top-ranked offence overcame the Cowboys' stingy defence.

Dan Bailey's 26-yard field goal had broken a 13-13 tie with 5:13 left. Each team ran one series before the Patriots got the ball after a punt with 2:30 remaining. Brady then completed eight of nine passes for 78 yards on an 80-yard drive capped by his pass to Hernandez in the middle of the end zone.

New England (5-1) won despite their first two lost fumbles of the season and Brady's two interceptions. He finished the game 27 of 41 for 289 yards with two touchdowns.

Dallas (2-3) ended a five-game road winning streak after a bye despite coming back from a 13-3 deficit midway through the second quarter. Tony Romo was 27 of 41 for 317 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Until the final drive, Rob Ryan, the Cowboys defensive coordinator, was headed for his second straight strong game against the Patriots.

He held that job with Cleveland when the Browns beat the Patriots 34-14 on November 7 last year. Since then, the Patriots had scored at least 30 points in 13 consecutive games. That streak ended yesterday, but New England still won.

The regular-season win was Brady's 20th straight at home and the Patriots 31st in a row at the Gillette Stadium.

They took a 3-0 lead on their first possession on a 31-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. It began when Kyle Arrington intercepted a pass that Dez Bryant failed to reach for on a medium-range slant pattern.

The Cowboys tied it on Bailey's 48-yard field goal after Terence Newman intercepted a pass by Brady that was tipped by defensive end Kenyon Coleman.

New England turned the ball over again on the kickoff after the field goal when Gerald Sensabaugh recovered a fumble by Matthew Slater, the first fumble lost by the Patriots this season. But Dallas gave the ball right back five plays later when Tashard Choice fumbled and Gerard Warren recovered.

The Patriots capitalised with a 26-yard field goal by Gostkowski with 12:07 left in the half for a 6-3 lead. They made it 13-3 on their next possession on a five-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Wes Welker. Officials ruled initially that Welker had gone out of bounds as he reached the ball out toward the goal-line but that was overturned on video review.

That put Brady into eight place in NFL history with 276 touchdown passes, one more than Vinny Testaverde.

Dallas cut the lead to 13-10 at half time, marching 93 yards on 11 plays to score on Romo's one-yard touchdown pass to Witten, the star tight end's first catch of the game, with 33 seconds left.

The Cowboys tied it on Bailey's 22-yard field goal with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter.


Philadelphia 20 Washington 13

Pittsburgh 17 Jacksonville 13

San Francisco 25 Detroit 19

Atlanta 31 Carolina 17

Green Bay 24 St Louis 3

NY Giants 27 Buffalo 24

Cincinnati 27 Indianapolis 17

Oakland 24 Cleveland 17

Baltimore 29 Houston 14

New England 20 Dallas 16

Tampa Bay 26 New Orleans 20

Chicago 39 Minnesota 10

Published: October 17, 2011 04:00 AM


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