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Winners and losers from the 49ers win over the Vikings: Bully ball in the trenches for the Niners

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You could list every defender on San Francisco if you wanted to

Divisional Round - Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

I liked the matchup going in for the San Francisco 49ers, but even I didn’t expect that type of destruction. A 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings, whose offense didn’t do much of anything. Here are the winners and losers from the Niners Divisional round win.


Nick Bosa

Bosa was everywhere. He finished with five stops, two sacks, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup, and what felt like several other appearances in the Vikings background. Bosa looked rejuvenated off the bye. He’s always hustling, but this game we saw Bosa finish, which had been the only part of his game missing. It was nice to see Bosa not have to worry about keeping contain on a bootleg and pin his ears back and rush the passer. He played the run just as well. It was a complete performance from the rookie.

Emmanuel Moseley

Speaking of complete performances, how about Moseley? He had a couple of impressive run stops where he tackled Dalvin Cook in the open field near the line of scrimmage. Moseley finished the game with six targets, but only allowed three receptions for 24 yards, and 16 of that came on one play. More than anything, Moseley played with confidence. He made plays on short crossing routes as well as throws down the field. Moseley was calm and confident with the ball in the air, and that made the difference.

Dre Greenlaw

Quietly, Greenlaw turned in one of the best performances of the day. It was evident that the 49ers team speed was too much for Minnesota, and Greenlaw had a lot to do with that at the second level. Greenlaw was rangy against the run and on short throws. He was always a good athlete, but now we’re starting to see him sniff plays out, and that’s allowing Greenlaw to play even faster than he timed in the 40-yard dash. The box score doesn’t do justice for Greenlaw, who only allowed 26 yards in coverage on six targets. For what this scheme needs its linebackers to do, Greenlaw played about as well as you can ask on Saturday.

Tevin Coleman

I couldn’t be happier to be wrong about a guy. You know how coaches always say, “be worried when I’m not talking about you,” well, this is one of those times. When Coleman is patient and lets the play develop, then puts his foot in the ground and goes, he produces as he did against Minnesota. He’s so fast that he can generate a little power and become difficult to tackle. Coleman ran for eight first downs, he had two runs over ten yards, forced four missed tackles, and 61 of his 105 yards came after contact. Thank you, bye week.


Ahkello Witherspoon

Confidence is the name of the game at cornerback. Witherspoon only lasted 13 plays before getting pulled after giving up a touchdown to Stefon Diggs. It was a similar story, Witherspoon was in position, he went to find the ball, and couldn’t adjust or make a play when the ball was in the air. Throw in a penalty and two other passes that were completed his way, and we will not see No. 23 on the field for the rest of these playoffs, save another blowout. There isn’t much else to say about Witherspoon without stating the obvious.

Matt Breida

Breida wasn’t producing much of anything with his touches. He averaged two yards a carry on eight carries and didn’t run for a first or have a run of ten yards. The real issue was the late fumble. Turnovers are backbreakers in the playoffs. Luckily for San Francisco, the game was out of reach. Breida may be back in the Shanahan doghouse after that final carry.

Jimmy Garoppolo

It’s not often you can win a playoff game when your quarterback plays poorly, but that was how dominant the rest of the 49ers were. Jimmy didn’t play well, and there is no way around that. The second half run game dominance was just what the doctor ordered after a series of missing in the passing game during the first half. George Kittle did a great job of playing defensive back on one throw. Emmanuel Sanders was open on another, but the throw was behind him, and the same thing happened to both Kendrick Bourne and Deebo Samuel. Had it not been for Bourne on two throws, Garoppolo would have had two other deflections. I

’m not sure if the early sack threw Garoppolo off, but he was missing behind his receivers consistently, which hasn’t been the case all season. Not only that, he was late with throws. The interception was a throw Jimmy can’t make moving forward. He has to acknowledge underneath defenders by manipulating them with his eyes. The good news is nine of his 11 completions went for first downs and a touchdown. Jimmy has to be better. He will be.


Richard Sherman

Defense is about timely stops and turnovers, and the 49ers are built for that. The sacks were there, and Sherman’s interception led to a touchdown. It demoralized Kirk Cousins and the Vikings. Following that interception, Minnesota didn’t score on their final five possessions. Sherman made an impact in coverage all day. Like most of the Niners, he looked fresh. On Bosa’s final sack, Sherman’s man was the read, but he took the receiver away, and Cousins was forced to hold the ball. That was the theme all afternoon for the 49ers secondary.

Kendrick Bourne

His effort on two throws alone gives Bourne the nod. He ran a slant for a touchdown and beat cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Bourne is a great red zone threat in this offense. His touchdown route and catch were the least impressive reception of the day. On third and long, Jimmy was under pressure and did a nice job of giving Bourne a chance (I don’t know if he was even the intended target), and Bourne is fighting off the defender and makes a nice diving catch for the first down.

On another third down, Garoppolo did a nice job maneuvering in the pocket to buy time, but his throw to Bourne was well behind him. Bourne twists and turns to make a catch and hold on after contact for a gain of 21 yards. Instead of punting, the 49ers were able to get a field goal. That catch is why Kyle Shanahan believes he has the best hands on the team, not a routine drop that happens to everyone.

Ben Garland

No Kittle for the first time all season. This could go to any other member of the defense, but I can’t ignore the Niner’s offensive line. It seemed like the Vikings would match the 49er’s defensive line early on, but that disappeared quickly. Garland didn’t get beaten once in pass protection and generated Weston Richburg type movement in the running game. He was awesome and was a big reason why the 49ers ran for 186 yards. They played bully ball in the trenches, but it wasn’t just the defense. The Vikings knew the 49ers were running the ball and had no answer. That’s backbreaking for a defense. If you can, go watch the drive where San Francisco ran it every play in the second half and scored, and watch what Garland does to the defensive tackle each play. What a game.