The 49ers return to Candlestick Park this Sunday for a nationally televised home opener against the Detroit Lions. The whole Bay Area has to be pumped for such a big game to be played this early at home.
All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman is certainly excited to be playing in front of the 49ers Faithful. Last week in Green Bay, the third-year linebacker totaled a team-high 11 tackles and added a crucial fourth-quarter interception to help the 49ers win 30-22.
This week, Bowman’s joined our Niner Talk podcast to discuss the momentum the 49ers gained from the franchise’s first road win in Green Bay since 1990. The star linebackers also talked about his close-knit relationship with fellow All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis. Did you know Bowman asked Willis to be the godfather to his newborn twin daughters? Willis accepted the request, and Bowman shared his appreciation for his friend’s support.
To discuss the Lions perspective heading into Week 2, Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com joined us in the second segment to talk about Calvin Johnson’s health status for Sunday, the Lions improved pass defense and the team’s revenge mentality heading into Sunday night.
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Here are highlights from the interviews.
[:50 –Bowman’s thoughts on last week’s game against the Packers.]
“It was a huge confidence-booster I think. It allowed the guys to see really where we were at and what type of mindset we approached that game with. For us to go into Lambeau Field in such a hostile environment really showed the type of guys and the type of team that we have. We just want to keep building from it, keep getting better and see where we end up in the end.”
[1:30 – Bowman’s view of the defense handling a challenging game plan vs. Green Bay.]
“Going into the game we knew we were going to have to be single cover on a great tight end in Jermichael Finley. We did a good job with him. They tried to get him on some routes to make us bite and setting him up on double moves. We just had to stay on edge, do what we’ve been practicing in practice and just getting those reps against Vernon (Davis) and guys like Delanie (Walker) really helped out. Going up against Jermichael we were pretty prepared for it.”
[2:10 – Bowman’s thoughts on the 49ers matchup with the Detroit Lions.]
“I believe Detroit’s going to try to run the ball a little bit more. It’s kind of like a more balanced game, but similar in the aspect of the passing game. Those guys, like you mentioned, Brandon Pettigrew and the other tight end that they have they’re pretty good also. We are just going to have to be ready for both and see if we can get the team in the one-dimensional game plan, which is passing the ball. We’re just turning the game into what it was last week.”
[6:00 - Bowman’s thoughts on the 49ers growing home field advantage.]
“I’m excited. I know our crowd, our fans they’re going to bring the noise. Make it a hostile environment for Detroit just as well as the Green Bay fans tried to make it for us. We’re excited. We got our first win that was one of the first team goals that we all as a team put on our papers. To win the opener for us to do that means a lot. Now we just got to keep building and bring the excitement back to The ‘Stick on Sunday.”
[7:10 –Twentyman’s thoughts on Lions WR Calvin Johnson’s health.]
“The thing I got on Twitter instantly was the Madden curse. Obviously people are worried about that here, but I don’t think it’s too serious at all. I didn’t even notice it in terms of an injury limping out at practice, the portion open to the media. He had some issues last year with it. It never kept him from a game. I think this is a minor thing that isn’t that much of a concern. If the game were tomorrow Calvin Johnson would be playing in my opinion. Probably not too serious, but something obviously to watch through the course of the week.”
[8:00 – Twentyman’s thoughts on the Detroit’s Week 1 comeback win against St. Louis.]
“I think it proved a lot that they can come from behind. We showed that last year and I think the thing you take the most from that is when they got ball will with a 1:55 left and they were trailing 23-20 you just really felt that Matthew Stafford was going to be able to lead them at least into field goal range because of all the times he did it last year. I think that’s maybe the change from years past where he probably thought the Lions didn’t have a chance at that point. They’re never out of a ball game with Matthew Stafford and that offense. They proved that last week moving right down and really coming back and winning that game.”
[9:00 – Twentyman’s thoughts on the 49ers-Lions game last year.]
“It was their first loss of the season. The Lions went into that game 5-0 riding high on a lot of momentum. That was a difficult loss for them, and then they lost the next week to the Falcons as well. It kind of spearheaded a little bit of a downswing for them. I talk to Rob Simms in the locker room today, the Lions’ starting left guard. He talked about Justin Smith and how it’s not just a revenge on the 49ers themselves. Justin Smith had a terrific game last year in Detroit. One and a half sacks, had a forced fumble and a few quarterback hits. Simms talked about it’s not just revenge on the 49ers as a whole, but individual matchups. I think when you have two teams that are this good, especially this Lions vs. that 49ers defense it’s individual matchups that are going to win it. That’s the thing the guys were talking about ‘we have to win our individual matchups that will give us an opportunity to win the game and maybe have a little bit of revenge on the Niners.”
[10:15 –Twentyman’s thoughts on the Lions’ improved defense.]
“It was a big question mark heading into the season, obviously with how they finished last year against the Packers and Saints. They really were torn up in terms of allowing a lot of passing yards, passing touchdowns, over 900 yards on that secondary last year. Heading into this year there was a lot of concern. I thought they played really well last week with kind of a patchwork unit. You mention Chris Houston, who returned to practice in limited fashion today for the first time since Week 3 when he sprained that ankle. They’re still without their safety Louis Delmas, which is a big loss for them. He had knee surgery August 7, which I mentioned and (he) hasn’t practiced since. Looking back to that game last week it was kind of a patchwork unit, but they allowed one big play: one passing gain of 23 yards. That was the biggest play Sam Bradford and the Rams had in the pass game. They’ve got some experienced guys back there with Eric Coleman, Drayton Florence and John Wendling, who haven’t played football together, but they’ve played a lot of football in their careers. Getting Chris Houston will back will certainly help, but Lions fans had to be pretty excited with the way that secondary played after all the question marks coming into the season.”
Tags: Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis
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