The Vikings moved the ball a little too easily on their first couple of plays, but Charvarius Ward made like his teammate and Deebo’d Minnesota rookie wideout Jordan Addison for an impressive interception.
The 49ers moved the ball inside Minnesota’s 10-yard line within a matter of moments, but for the second time in three weeks, Christian McCaffrey fumbled the ball as he was about to score. That bailed the Vikings out, and we remained scoreless after two possessions.
The Vikings were backed up in their own territory, but their offense had zero issues moving the ball, and before you knew it, had found their way inside of the red zone. On 3rd & 2, Cousins founds rookie Jordan Addison for a gain of 20 yards to give the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Brock Purdy found Brandon Aiyuk for a gain of 10, Jauan Jennings for a gain of 18, and had the longest rush of his short career for 18 yards to put the 49ers into Vikings territory.
Christian McCaffrey did not come off the field during any of the 49ers first quarter snaps. On 3rd & 5, Purdy’s pass to Jennings was a bit behind him, but Jennings couldn’t haul in the catch.
Then, Jake Moody did the one thing the 49ers drafted him not to do: Miss a field goal. So, after two possessions, San Francisco missed a chip shot field goal and fumbled the ball.
If the Vikings' plan coming in was to play keep away, then they passed with flying colors. On their third drive, Minnesota had an 18-play drive for 67 yards. The 49ers were fortunate to have an offensive pass interference called on the drive. The defense kept Cousins out of the end zone to make the score 10-0 after Fred Warner got his hand on a pass.
Purdy found Aiyuk for a gain of 25 yards on the next drive. Jennings also caught a 10-yard pass, and the Niners offense was in Vikings’ territory after a handful of plays.
Shanahan pulled a rabbit out of his hat after McCaffrey picked up eight yards on 3rd & 1. He called a tight end screen to Ross Dwelley that picked up 12 yards, bringing the 49ers inside the Vikings 10.
For the 16th game in a row, McCaffrey found the end zone. That’s a record for touchdowns from scrimmage. That made it 10-7 with just over a minute remaining before the half. And with the 49ers getting the ball to start the third quarter, the defense faced a critical stop.
On 3rd & 6, with 17 seconds to play, Steve Wilks elected to blitz six defenders and play with zero help in the secondary behind it. Ward appeared to have his second interception, but it was Addison this time who wrestled the ball away. He raced to the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a commanding 16-7 halftime lead.
Purdy was 11-for-13 for 122 yards in the first half. But the offense would need him to be equally as effective in the second half. A missed block, a sack that could’ve been disastrous, and a tipped pass on 3rd & St. Paul caused a 49er punt.
We’d see what adjustments the defense and Wilks would make out of the gate, as it would be up to them to get stops and the offense the ball back.
There were no stops as the Vikings scored on their first possession of the half after an 11-play, 77-yard drive. Minnesota had gains of 11, 27, and a pass interference that brought the ball to the 1-yard line. Thanks to a false start and the Vikings' inability to run the ball, a field goal was all Minnesota got to make the score 19-7.
If you went to the fridge during the commercial break, you probably missed their touchdown. McCaffrey caught a pass for 12 yards. Then, Purdy found Kittle for 28 yards. Finally, on a swing pass, McCaffrey outraced every defender after making Byron Murphy miss for a 35-yard touchdown. Moody’s extra point made the score 19-14.
The Vikings, who had scored four possessions in a row, only needed five plays to reach midfield. After converting on a third down, Minnesota was up to 6-of-8 on third down. We weren’t out of the third quarter and Cousins had surpassed 300 yards.
It was shocking to see the Vikings' offense move the ball up and down the field as easily as they did. Cousins played well, which he usually does, but it looked more like the ‘98 Vikings. The defense couldn’t cover, and the pass rush couldn’t affect Cousins, no matter how many rushers Wilks sent.
San Francisco finally got a third down stop. That forced the Vikings kicker, who was undrafted, to attempt a 54-yarder. His kick was good and that made it 22-14 to end the third quarter.
Minnesota had been 0-4 this season in one-score games.
Purdy’s mobility masked what had been some questionable blocking through the first three quarters, and the first drive of the fourth quarter was no different. Brock was forced to scramble on two plays.
On 4th & 6, Shanahan seemed like he gave it some thought to leave the offense on the field. Instead, he elected to kick a 55-yard field goal, which Moody drilled to make it 22-17 with just over 13 minutes to play.
The decision to settle for a field goal was questionable at best considering the 49ers needed a touchdown to win. Yes, they’d need to convert a two-point conversion, but the defense hadn’t gotten a stop for five straight possessions.
But it worked out, after the Vikings elected to punt in 49ers territory. It took the 49ers offense four plays to get to where the Vikings punted it from, but Purdy threw an interception on a route to Jennings.
Mooney Ward was flagged, which didn’t turn out to be the worst thing since it was only illegal contact. That did happen on 2nd & 13, however. The Vikings picked up another first down, before eventually forcing another third down.
On 3rd & 3, Isaiah Oliver was flagged for defensive holding. The pressure was in Cousins’s face, but he magically escaped, and found Addison for yet another first down. The defense had one final chance with two minutes to play on 3rd & 10.
Joseph’s 50-yard field goal was no good, which gave the 49ers the ball on their own 40-yard line with 1:11 to play and no timeouts. But Purdy threw his second interception, a porous decision, ending the Niners comeback attempt 22-17.
It’ll be another week of overreactions. Despite injuries to Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel, it felt like the 49ers had plenty to win the game. But costly mistakes and miscues, on both sides of the ball, were the difference.