49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 16, 2012
He hate me: Vernon Davis hopes Avril's eye gouge was unintentional


SAN FRANCISCO - Vernon Davis said he hopes Cliff Avril didn't do it intentionally.

Davis, who played all but two snaps against the Packers in Week 1, missed chunks of two first-half drives after getting poked in the eye by defensive end Cliff Avril. One play before his eye injury, Davis and fellow tight end Delanie Walker tangled with Avril near the 49ers sideline, with all three of them going down in a heap.

Davis said he hoped that Avril wasn't retaliating for that play. "No hard feelings," Davis said. "You take it. You come out with wounds and bruises but you bounce back. You go in the next day, you get treatment for those things and mentally, you get prepared for the next game."

Avril was involved in scrapes throughout the evening, most of them with 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis, who feuded with Avril both during and after - via twitter - last year's game in Detroit. Avril also attempted to rip off Anthony Davis' helmet during today's game.

"He tried to do it a lot," Anthony Davis said. "He hates me. It's so funny. We don't even know each other. You can just tell it burns him up."

Vernon Davis returned later in the half and seemed to show no ill effects. He caught the 49ers' first touchdown of the game and also their last, 23-yarder with 3:04 left in the game.

Ted Ginn's replacements have a tough time in Candlestick Park. In the 49ers first meaningful home game since Kyle Williams gave away two punt returns in the NFC Championship, another Ginn substitute, Kendall Hunter, coughed up the ball on a kickoff return.

The Lions recovered the first-quarter miscue at the San Francisco 25-yard line, and four plays later Jason Hanson booted home a 41-yard field goal. The fumble broke an impressive, 26-quarter streak in which the 49ers did not commit a turnover in the regular season. It also was the first lost fumble by the 49ers in a regular-season game since Vernon Davis lost one during a Nov. 6 game against the Redskins last year.

The fumble also was another indication that the 49ers special teams units - the league's finest a year ago - still are congealing this year. They allowed a punt return for a touchdown during the exhibition season and another last week against the packers. The 49ers complained that the touchdown in Green Bay should have been called back for an illegal block. Ginn has missed the first two games of the season with a sprained ankle.

Williams had no miscues in his first meaningful home game since the NFC Championship. In fact, he made one of the game's clutch plays, sprinting back to recover a rolling squib kick by the Lions after they had cut the 49ers' lead to eight points late in the game. The 49ers were expecting an onside kick, and Detroit instead kicked it downfield and tried to recover the bouncing ball. Williams also returned one punt for eight yards.

Et cetera -- Aldon Smith was credited with one sack but might get another after NFL officials review today's game. He seemed to take Matthew Stafford to the ground on a play that was reviewed and re-spotted by officials. Ray McDonald was given credit for the sack.

* Prior to the game, punter Andy Lee and kicker David Akers were presented with golden-boot trophies as winners of the 2011 Golden Toe Award given by Pro Football Weekly.

* Top draft picks A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James were inactive for the game. The only draft pick who suited up was sixth-round pick Trenton Robinson, a safety.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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