But in the third quarter Marsh scored on a cutback at right tackle, and the Detroit defense began to change the flow of the game. On the second play of the fourth quarter Plum passed 22 yards to Studstill for a touchdown. An interception and twisting return by Maher and a 17-yard run by Marsh helped take Detroit down to the San Francisco 10 with the Lions trailing 14-20. Plum rolled out, seemed confused, was hit, fumbled, and San Francisco Defensive End Clark Miller picked up the ball and ran 75 yards for a touchdown. Detroit returned to score on a plunge by Pietrosante, and then Dick Lebeau's interception helped the Lions down to the 49ers' 13 with a minute and 38 seconds left to play. Behind by six, Detroit was in position to pull it out, and Christiansen began remembering the four games he had lost so narrowly. Plum, however, threw two incompletions and the 49ers survived.
"With our young guys, we've lacked the really big plays," said 49er Linebacker Mike Dowdle. "But they made them today and they're learning. This is going to be a great team." Baltimore and Green Bay, please note.