Lions Resort to Third-Stringer Against 49ers

By Joe Kukura
|  Sunday, Dec 27, 2009  |  Updated 8:53 AM PDT
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If the 49ers can't win this game, then Oakland can go ahead and have them.

It appears Santa is being generous to the 49ers this year.  Matthew Stafford has been placed on injured reserve, so the Lions will start third-string rookie Drew Stanton against San Francisco. This will be Stanton's first-ever NFL start.

The Lions, tied for the second-worst record in the NFL, have also lost 19 consecutive games on the road. Sunday's game is being played at Candlestick Park.

Stanton told the Associated Press getting the start was the best Christmas present he has ever received. The 49ers would probably second that emotion.

49ers fans will not see their old friend Isaac Bruce Sunday. ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that Bruce will not play anymore this year, and is likely to call it a career.

But we will see our old friend Julian Peterson. Remember him? He's now a Detroit Lion. Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat tweets that Peterson has had a "just OK" season with the Lions. "He's started 12 of 14 games, 4.5 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 4 forced fumbles," Maiocco observes.

The 49ers will hope to hand Peterson another statistic -- a 20th consecutive road loss for his team. The NFL record for consecutive road losses is 24.

And that record was set by -- guess who? -- the Detroit Lions, from 2001-2003.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who will steal Christmas by shooting his eye out after being visited by three ghosts whom he foolishly fed after midnight.

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