Before we get into what happened Sunday at Ford Field, if you came here looking for a rundown the "handshake heard ‘round the world", you're in for some disappointment. The incident was unimportant, overblown and unfairly took the focus from a truly remarkable accomplishment by a truly remarkable team…so I won't be getting into it.

The aforementioned noted, let's get to the good stuff. The 49ers headed to Detroit with a chance to start the season 5-1…a start that even the most optimistic of fans couldn't have dreamed of at the beginning of the season. Early on, the new 49ers started the day looking a hell of a lot like the old 49ers. After a sack, strip and fumble recovery on their first offensive play, the 49ers offense sputtered. Before the 49ers found their feet, they found themselves behind, 10-0.

In the 2nd quarter, the 49ers scored 12 points the hard way (that's a hard 12: TD, FG, Safety) to take a lead into the locker room at halftime. As the game neared its end, it looked like the Niners were going to cave. A late TD put the 49ers in a four point hole…and after the two minute warning, they scored 10 points to take the lead, 25-19. Then they made that lead stand up with two absolutely stunning defensive stands in the games final minute.

But what made this game special is not that the 49ers won after they failed to execute early. This game was not made special because the 49ers found a way to win despite committing far too many stupid penalties. No, this game was special because the 49ers didn't just overcome adversity. No. It would be more accurate to say that when it mattered most, they grabbed adversity by the throat, kicked it in the marble sack and took its lunch money.

The box score only tells part of the story. What follows are some of the individual performances that added up to victory in the Motor City for the 49ers.

Ndamakong Who?
In the week leading up to the showdown in the Motor City, much was made of Ndamaking Suh and his band of merry quarterback crushers. To be sure, the Lions have what could be the most dominant defensive line in football. On the 49ers' first offensive snap, Kyle Vanden Bosch collected a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery…and it looked as though Alex Smith was going to spend most of the game on his back.

But then something curious happened. The line stiffened (5 false starts notwithstanding), allowing only one more sack to the defenders that were supposed to run them ragged. As the game wore on, play got chippy, and the O-line got absolutely nasty. Before all was said and done, the 49ers rolled up over 200 rushing yards against Detroit's vaunted "front nine". Frank Gore looked absolutely dominant, rolling up 141 yards and a TD on 15 carries. For all their bluster, the Lions were manhandled in the trenches…something that none of the nation's "experts" thought possible. Most notable: the best player of the Lions' defensive front, Ndamakong Suh, was made a non-factor, recording only two tackles and no sacks on the day.

But what about Megatron?
Coming into this game, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio intimated that the 49ers were not going to assign their best corner to cover Detroit's do-it-all deep threat, Calvin Johnson. Coming into Sunday's game, he had 9 touchdowns in the season's first 5 games…a feat that no other NFL wideout had ever accomplished. Given the torching handed to the 49ers earlier this season by marquee receivers Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson, the question wasn't whether or not Johnson would score…but how much he would score.

So…did Megatron find the endzone against the 49er secondary of Rogers, Brown, Culliver, Whitner and Goldson? To quote Damon Bruce of KNBR: Negatron.

Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio had the 49er secondary bracket Johnson, gambling that the 49er pass rush would put enough pressure on Matthew Stafford to keep him from dialing up any deep tosses to his favorite target. Fangio's gamble paid off. Even though Johnson hauled in 7 passes for over 100 yards…he was kept out of the endzone for the first time this season. And any way you slice it that is one hell of an accomplishment.

Darth Vader Defense
There are a great many things that one could say about the 49er defense, but their performance in Detroit said it all: they shut down Jahvid Best, kept Calvin Johnson out of the end zone, and they sacked Matthew Stafford 5 times. The 49ers' front seven may be the best in the game today…and they have a 28 game streak of holding opposing rushers to less than 100 yards on the ground to prove it.

Middle Linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman get the lion's share (pun intended) of media attention, and with good reason. They can run, cover, tackle, and rush the passer with the best of them. These two give the 49ers the best tandem of middle linebackers in the game today…and it isn't close.

But the real story here is the revitalized pass rush. Ends Justin Smith (rapidly becoming the 49ers best free agent acquisition ever) and Ray McDonald (whose nickname should be Juggernaut…because he's unstoppable) have been frequent visitors to opposing backfields, terrorizing opposing runners and passers alike. Nose Tackle Isaac Sopoaga continues to be a massive upgrade over his predecessor, Aubrayo Franklin.

In recent weeks, however, rookie Aldon Smith has been on the brightest star in the 49er pass rush. He spent his Sunday afternoon beating Lions' OT Jeff Backus like a Salvation Army drum. Over the past three games, he's racked up 5.5 sacks and a safety. Smith adds an element to the 49er nickel defense that they haven't had for some time: an edge rusher that has the ability to get to the quarterback at any time. As soon as this guy tightens up his game at OLB, he is going to be scary good.

So the next time the 49er defense takes the field, cue the music. And by music, I mean the heavy metal version of the "Imperial March", a la Star Wars. Why? Because this defense is choking the life out of its opponents…like Darth Vader.

Alex the Great?
He certainly didn't look it for most of Sunday's game. It was obvious that his early lost fumble stayed with him throughout the game. His mechanics were spotty, his accuracy was off and at times he looked REALLY uncomfortable in the pocket, even when he had time to throw. The 49ers were abysmal on third down, and Smith's play had a lot to do with it. For the game, he posted a season worst QB rating of 60.

It is funny how quickly a player can go from goat to great in the space of one play.

On 4th and goal from the 6 yard line, the 49ers faced their final chance to pull out a win. When it mattered most, Smith didn't hesitate. He didn't drop his shoulder on his release. He didn't lock out his lead leg, causing his pass to miss high. No…when it mattered most, Alex Smith fired his best pitch…and the 49ers won the game. So for one play at least, he was Alex the Great.

When the season started, no one could have predicted that the 49ers would start this hot. The fact of the matter is, this team defies convention. In a lockout shortened offseason, with a rookie head coach, a new offense and a massive influx of new starters, this team was supposed to struggle. And yet going into their Week 7 bye, the 49ers are 5-1. How good can they be? Only time will tell. But for now, the 49ers are in a place that many of us remember…at the top of their division, among the best teams in the league.

Enjoy it, 49er fans. Enjoy it.