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There could be a real shakeup at end of Lions-49ers game

Detroit Coach Jim Schwartz and San Francisco Coach Jim Harbaugh turned their postgame handshake last season into a confrontation. The teams, and the coaches, meet again Sunday night in San Francisco.

September 11, 2012|Sam Farmer
  • Detroit Coach Jim Schwartz, right, and 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh, left, exchange words while 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) and others intercede.
Detroit Coach Jim Schwartz, right, and 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh, left,… (Rick Osentoski / Associated…)

One of the more intriguing moments of Detroit's game at San Francisco on Sunday night will come in the 61st minute.

As long as the game doesn't go into overtime, that's when coaches Jim Schwartz of the Lions and Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers will meet at midfield for a postgame handshake.

That proved to be quite a dustup in Detroit 11 months ago, after the 49ers' 25-19 comeback victory at Ford Field. A hard handshake and dismissive backslap by the supercharged Harbaugh infuriated Schwartz, who took a moment to process the situation, then ran back to confront the visiting coach.

The coaches had to be separated in what wasn't the proudest moment for either of the men.

"That's long in the past," Schwartz said Monday. "That just seems so long ago that that occurred. When two teams take the field, that's not going to be on one player's mind."

Rest assured, the TV cameras will be trained on the coaches at game's end, no matter the outcome.

Like Schwartz, Harbaugh is ready to put the situation in the past.

"Our approach with the mini-controversies are really to give them the attention they deserve — which isn't much," Harbaugh said.

The showdown pits two 1-0 NFC powerhouses, with the 49ers coming off a huge victory at Green Bay, and the Lions squeaking past the resurgent St. Louis Rams.

The game in San Francisco could be billed as … gripping.

Capitol offense

It's unbelievable how poised and sharp Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III looked in his pro debut Sunday, leading Washington to victory at the Superdome, where no visiting team had beaten the New Orleans Saints since the 2010 season.

The Redskins stay on the road for a game Sunday at St. Louis. It was the Rams who cleared the way for Washington to draft Griffin in the first place, trading the No. 2 pick to the Redskins for three first-round picks and a second-rounder. That's steep, but if RG3 keeps playing the way he played in the opener, he was well worth the price.

Old … friends?

Strange gearing up for a Thursday night game this early in the fall, but that's the new schedule. There will be Thursday games for the rest of the season. The first one is a classic and the latest chapter in a storied rivalry dating to 1921. The Packers and Chicago Bears will be meeting for the 185th time, more than any other teams have faced each other.

Whereas the Bears are coming off a stomping of the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts, the Packers have already tied last season's loss total. Green Bay's defense will be looking to redeem itself after giving up 180 yards rushing against San Francisco, and yielding scores to the 49ers on five consecutive possessions.

It's a snap

Do you remember the last time Dallas played at Seattle?

Tony Romo does, much as he'd like to forget it.

It was a wild-card game in early 2007, when the Cowboys quarterback was supposed to hold on a 19-yard field-goal attempt with 1 minute 19 seconds left, a kick that would have put Dallas ahead. Romo bobbled the ball, however, and tried to run. He was stopped two yards short of the end zone and a yard short of a first down.

Seattle wound up winning, 21-20, eliminating the Cowboys from the postseason and planting the seeds of the notion that Romo isn't a closer.

The Cowboys, coming off a terrific win over the New York Giants in the Kickoff Opener, now have a chance to keep their solid start rolling. The Seahawks are trying to gather some momentum behind rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

Saints elsewhere

New Orleans hits the road to play at Carolina, the second week in a row the Saints are facing a dynamic young quarterback. This time, it's Cam Newton, who has yet to taste victory over New Orleans.

Fantasy players take heed, this game figures to be a passing-palooza. In his four September games, Newton has thrown for 1,315 yards, an average of 328.8 yards per outing. Meanwhile, Saints quarterback Drew Brees has gone an NFL-record eight consecutive games with 300 or more yards passing. He has also thrown at least one touchdown pass in 44 consecutive games, three shy of Johnny Unitas' league record.

It's early, so it's a little dicey to make this call after only one week, but Newton could have a chance …

To be the next RG3.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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