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The Vikings scored 10 points off bad decisions—not bad play—by the 49ers

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10 points by some very very bad decisions

10 points. The Minnesota Vikings managed 10 points in their playoff drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. It felt more like 44-10 with the way it went, but 10 points. 10 points of some really dumb decisions. What were those decisions? Well I’ll go over both of them.

Let me do it backwards. We’ll start with the field goal to get things up to 10 points. This was due to a Jimmy Garoppolo interception:

Really not sure what Garoppolo was looking at there. Down below on the other side he has some guys to lob it at, but he wanted to get Deebo Samuel, so there you. It’s a bad throw, but Garoppolo had already thrown it over the defender once which led to points, so it may have worked if tried again.

“Just left it a little short,” Garoppolo said in the post-game press conference. “I had the hole over the top of him. Just left it short. He made a good play on it. Tip your hat to him.”

I guess it’s a bit of a copout to not say the throw was “bad play” as well as a bad decision, but I’m rolling with this. The defense bailed the offense out and held the Vikings to a field goal. But before that was a Stefon Diggs catch for a touchdown. Another bad decision, but not by who you’re thinking of. First the touchdown:

So I know everyone is looking at Ahkello Witherspoon for this and saying he’s at fault. I mean, after all, he got flagged for pass interference a few plays earlier to keep the drive alive. So is this his fault?

No, this is on the 49ers coaching staff. Because Witherspoon shouldn’t have been in there to begin with. The announcement was made that Witherspoon would be starting days before the game and you could hear a collective groan from fans. There really isn’t much of an explanation needed: Moseley has been playing better than Witherspoon all year and it wasn’t more apparent on the next series when he took down Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph to prevent a first down.

Moseley has proven time and time again he’s the better back and he did it again. Giving Witherspoon was a terrible decision by the coaching staff and it cost the 49ers seven points.

Kyle Shanahan said the touchdown was the play to pull Witherspoon in the post-game press conference:

“ I told [CB] Ahkello [Witherspoon] that going into the game, and [CB Emmanuel] Moseley. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Ahkello. I’ve got a lot of confidence in E-Man, what he’s done when he’s come in. we gave Ahkello the start, but he knew. It was a very tough decision with the way that E-Man has been playing. He knew if he was struggling at all, we weren’t going to hesitate. I’m sure if we left him in, he would have had a chance to play himself out of it. He was aware of that before the game and I loved how Moseley came in and played.”

Richard Sherman didn’t blame Witherspoon for the benching, saying his fellow cornerback played well and called the early game issues an “unfortunate series of events.”

No one here has said Witherspoon is a bad cornerback. On the contrary, he’s a great depth piece. He’s just not someone to start and play every down, especially against the likes of Stefon Diggs. Hopefully the coaching staff looks at this and doesn’t make the same mistake. Take away the interception and the touchdown and this game is a shutout.

And don’t take anything away from the Vikings, which is why that win is all the more impressive. The Vikings are a good team and this game could have been much closer. That play could have been the difference.