The noise level inside of Ford Field have already been playing into the hands of the Detroit Lions. High decibal levels and amount of penalties are keeping the San Francisco 49ers struggling early on offense in this pivotal NFC matchup.
The Niners were looking After a nice four-and-out put up the the 49ers defense, San Francisco turned the ball over on their first offensive play of the game as Kyle Vanden Bosch stripped the ball right out of the hand of Alex Smith from behind, setting the Lions up nicely in the red zone and lead to a field goal. From there the 49ers wouldn't get a first down for three straight offensive possessions, and it was starting to look gloomy already.
The 49ers had four penalties in the first five mintes of the game, two on either side of the ball, and kept it up for the majority of the quarter. A Carlos Rogers pass interference call on Nate Burleson set Detroit up in the red zone for the second time, leading to a Brandon Pettigrew touchdown pass. Jim Harbaugh even got himself a penalty, throwing a challenge flag on the extra point attempt leading to a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the ensuing kickoff. They finished the first with seven penalties for 69 yards.
The ground-and-pound came alive a bit towards the end of the quarter, as Frank Gore had a 47 yard run while racking up 62 yards, leaving the Niners on the goal line at the end of the first quarter.