Minnesota Vikings – 10 – San Francisco 49ers – 27
This matchup gave us the number one seed in the NFC against a suddenly surging upstart sixth seed. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the game looked like.
No, Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t yet look like a Super Bowl hero. His results were mixed at best, throwing for 131 yards with a TD and an interception. But here’s the thing. He doesn’t need to look like the second coming of Joe Montana or Tom Brady, yet. The 49ers can probably win it all this year with Jimmy G as a game manager. San Francisco flat out dominated this game in the trenches. Minnesota sold out to stop George Kittle from killing them. It worked, by and large, the elite TE had only three catches for sixteen yards… it just didn’t matter as San Francisco’s platoon of running backs kept the chains moving.
On defense, San Francisco produced another stifling performance, holding Kirk Cousins to only 172 yards with a TD and an interception, while Stefon Digs and Adam Thielen could only combine for 107 yards total, despite a 41-yard touchdown from Diggs. The 49ers also sacked Cousins six times for a whopping forty-six yards. But it was San Francisco’s performance against the run that was truly awe-inspiring. The 49ers held Dalvin Cook to 26 yards from scrimmage on fifteen touches, including nine rushes for a paltry eighteen yards. That’s significantly below his season average of 4.5 yards per carry if you’re keeping score.
The Vikings were held below one hundred fifty yards of total offense for only the second time this season (Green Bay), after a season averaging over three hundred fifty per game. Minnesota had their moments early, trailing by only four at halftime, but were shutout by the Niners in the second half as the NFC’s top seed pulled away by controlling the clock. The Vikings possessed the ball six times over the course of the second half, resulting in three punts, two turnovers on downs and the first postseason interception of Kirk Cousins’ career.
Over the course of the game, the 49ers dominated the time of possession by a margin of almost two to one. Looking forward, this is a well-rounded San Francisco team whose only weakness might be the lack of a signature receiving threat. Up next, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who the Niners have already dominated this season, 37-8 in week twelve.
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Image Source: AP Images