SAN FRANCISCO -- One week after losing a confrontation with the crossbar in Green Bay, Vernon Davis gave up dunking.
The 49ers tight end scored two touchdowns in Sunday's 27-19 win over visiting Detroit. For both trips to the end zone, Davis chose jumpers for his basketball-inspired celebration.
"I think my vertical is leaving me gradually," Davis said after totaling 73 yards on five catches. "I'm kidding. I can still dunk it."
Davis got the 49ers on the board first, beating Detroit safety John Wendling to the left corner of the end zone on a 21-yard pass from Alex Smith. Davis then darted toward the goal post, and it looked as if he was going in for a redemption dunk.
In last Sunday's season-opening win at Green Bay, Davis attempted to celebrate a third-quarter touchdown by dunking the football over the crossbar. But he didn't get up high enough and was rejected by the imaginary rim. There are some 20 videos on YouTube documenting the whiffed dunk.
But this time, Davis pulled up just shy of the goal post and executed a picturesque fadeaway. He even held up the follow-through while watching the football sail over the crossbar.
Then in the fourth quarter, with the 49ers driving to put the game away, Smith hit Davis on a cross pattern. He started up the right sidelines, then cut back toward the middle of the field, losing a couple Detroit defenders on his way into the end zone for a 23-yard score.
Again, Davis chose not to dunk. Instead, he mimicked a runner, floating toward the upright before shooting it over the crossbar.
It wasn't exactly LeBron James like.
"Vernon can't play no hoop," cornerback Chris Culliver said with a smile.
At the risk of speaking too soon, Davis said he's not getting double-teamed as much this season. He credited the continued improvement of receiver Michael Crabtree and the presence of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham for arresting some of the defense's attention.
Davis now has eight catches for 116 yards, second only to Crabtree on the team. Davis' three touchdowns is matched only by San Diego's Dante Rosario among NFL tight ends.
"Vernon's been everything we expected him to be," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "What he does out there on the field is, to us, what he's supposed to do. There's nothing miraculous about it in our eyes because we know the potential he has. He does it every day in practice. So when he does it in games, it's just like 'There he goes.' "
Davis wouldn't commit to what hoop move he'd pull out on his next touchdown celebration. He said it could be another jumper. He might pull out the finger roll. Or he might pass it to Crabtree, who would set Davis up for the alley-oop dunk.
Of course, that could lead to another viral video moment. But no one in the 49ers' locker room seemed to mind Davis' end zone NBA dreams.
If he's attempting basketball moves on Sunday, that means he's scoring. And if he's scoring, that usually means the 49ers are winning.
"Whatever he decides to do when he scores," Willis said, "we're all for it."