In the loss, the 49ers had numerous opportunities to come out on top, including two potential game-winning drives, but quarterback Brock Purdy was intercepted twice, ultimately sealing the deal for San Francisco.
Defensively, the 49ers gave up five consecutive scores in a row, as quarterback Kirk Cousins was in command all evening in a classic performance that was the primary reason why the Vikings won.
Here are three quick takeaways from the 49ers 22-17 loss to the Vikings.
For the second consecutive week, Brock Purdy had the chance to put the team on his back, ultimately falling short of accomplishing the goal.
Now, it was two different stories, as Purdy struggled all game last week before placing the 49ers into field goal position on their final drive, while the quarterback played fine on Monday, but didn’t show up in the big moments.
Overall, I honestly thought Purdy played a fine game, consistently getting the ball out (just one sack), and making the right reads to move the chains.
However, there were three inexplicable mistakes that cost the 49ers the game.
The first came on the opening possession of the second half, where Purdy took a 12-yard sack trying to make a hero play rather than checking it down to an open Christian McCaffrey, killing the drive.
Then came the two interceptions. Purdy’s first one came on a poor route by Jauan Jennings, but was still an inaccurate pass that went straight to safety Harrison Smith in a crucial situation. The second interception was the worst one, as the quarterback floated a 50-50 ball short with less than a minute left that safety Cameron Bynum intercepted.
Purdy has shown that he can execute the offense, but has yet to display that he can put the team on his back, while struggling in both situations where adversity has been present this season.
He was far from the only reason San Francisco lost, but there is reason for concern after another shaky performance.
The pass rush was awful on Monday. Just flat-out awful.
Kirk Cousins consistently had time to throw, releasing the ball to open receivers calmly before the pressure got there, and even when it did, the quarterback was unfazed in doing his job.
As a result, the 49ers got zero sacks, while recording a 15.6% pass-rush win rate, their lowest figure since 2017, according to PFF’s Brad Spielberger.
The 49ers spent significant money shoring up that defensive line, both this offseason and in the past, and did not see any big-time plays from their stars.
San Francisco’s questionable playcalling defensively also deserves some blame, but the pass rush has got to find ways to disrupt the quarterback and get home, which wasn’t the case on Monday.
The 49ers may officially be in the market for an upgrade at cornerback after their top options did not have a great game on Monday.
Sure, the pass rush didn’t get home at all, but the 49ers cornerbacks gave up passes on all levels of the field, including a dropped interception by Charvarius Ward that cost the team seven points.
The secondary had been a strong suit coming into the season, but the 49ers struggled against a team without Justin Jefferson, which is a significant cause for concern.
The trade deadline is approaching, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the 49ers call for a cornerback, move Lenoir into the slot, and go all-in on 2023.
Chicago’s Jaylon Johnson is the player who comes to mind, but he may be too expensive for the 49ers’ cards.
Regardless, they need to shore up the secondary one way or another, otherwise; the defense will face issues across the board.