SAN FRANCISCO ? With a 10-point second-half lead on the Detroit Lions, it seemed the only way the 49ers could lose was if they did something inconceivable.
Coach Mike Singletary opted to go for it on fourth down late in the third quarter at the 49ers? 46-yard line. Instead of keeping the door ajar for a Lions comeback, Alex Smith?s 48-yard pass to Frank Gore, in essence, sealed the victory at Candlestick Park.
?Obviously, it was a gutsy call there,? Smith said.
49ers v. Lions
Michael Crabtree juggles and finally pulls in a 52-yard Alex Smith pass in front of William James in the first quarter to lead to the 49ers first field goal of the game.
Dre Bly picks up a fumble after stripping the ball from Calvin Johnson in the 4th quarter for his second turnover of the game.
Dre Bly picks off a Drew Stanton pass and runs back the ball for 26 yards in the 4th quarter.
Dre Bly tries to fire up the crowd.
Cornerback Tarell Brown breaks up a pass intended for Bryant Johnson in the 4th quarter.
Josh Morgan pushes of a Detroit tackler on a quick out pattern.
Linebacker Takeo Spikes sacks Detroit quarterback Drew Stanton on the third play of the game but the 49er defense once again had trouble all day trying to pressure Stanton.
The Niner defense jumps on Takeo Spikes after his 1st quarter sack.
Safety Shawntae Spencer rides Dennis Northcutt out of bounds for a short gain in the first quarter.
Frank Gore rumbles through the Detroit defense line dragging Cliff Avril along for a 14 yard run. Gore finished the day with 71 yards and 1 TD and ran for a team record 4th consecutive 1,000 yard season.
Tight end Vernon Davis throws the ball into the stands after scoring a touchdown.
The Lions defense drags down Frank Gore as he passes 1000 yards for the season.
Quarterback Alex Smith finished 21 of 30 for 230 yards, a TD and no interceptions.
With Joe Nedney injured, replacement kicker Ricky Schmitt has a kicked blocked in the 2nd quarter.
Quarterback Alex Smith congratulates Frank Gore after his short run for a touchdown on Sunday.
Takeo Spikes holds onto Maurice Morris for a short gain.
DeAndre Levy collars Delaney Walker.
Quarterback Alex Smith and wide receiver Arnaz Battle finally have something to smile about after beating the Lions 20-6 on Sunday.
Tight end Delanie Walker heads up field for more yardage after escaping the tackle of Louis Delmas.
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree throws his gloves into the stands after the 49ers beat the Lions 20-6.
And it was a successful call. Gore scored three plays later on a 1-yard run for the 49ers? final points in their 20-6 victory over the Lions.
?I thought the defense had begun to get in rhythm,? Singletary said. ?I think we had sort of figured out what they were trying to do and feeling pretty confident defensively. ... So it just seemed like it was a good time to do it.?
Smith and Gore executed a play-fake into the middle of the line, and then Gore made an over-the-shoulder catch and turned upfield for the big gain.
?Alex just told me to get out,? Gore said. ?He was going to look for me. I did a great play fake. They bit and then they dropped back. I saw them turn their backs and I just leaked out and Alex threw me the ball.?
Singletary said he alerted offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye prior to the third-down play that he was prepared to go for it on fourth-and-1.
?And that?s about all I?m going to tell him,? Singletary said. ?But, for the most part, he called it, and he made that play, and it worked out well.?