It seems like we always lose in SF. They were favored and they are a good team, no doubt. Still, any loss hurts and the close ones hurt as bad as the blow outs, though in a different way, because of all the near miss, could have, would have, should haves.
Coming into the game, I thought the 49ers would trample us in the run game because they are good at it and because, quite literally, we were starting a 4-man D-line of all back-ups. That is a rare situation for any team to face.
Their O-line was far superior to the D-line we could field and their D-line, to my mind, was superior to our usually poor O-line. Games decided in the trenches, blah blah, you know the deal.
I will say this: Zimmer was spot on about the refs mostly not calling Holding on the 49ers and George Kittle can go swim the bay for his ignorant response.
During the game, I saw it again and again and could barely believe the amount of blatant holding by nearly the entire 49ers O-line. I've never seen so much obvious Holding go uncalled, never ever nowhere. Except by the Packers in every single Packers game.
Incredibly, the 49ers Holding was even worse than the average Packers game! Yes, it was!
I could not see every player every play, obviously, but every time I looked or the view showed them, especially on outside runs, it looked like a conga line with the 49ers O-linemen either gripping the Vikings D-linemen by the waist with both hands from behind (make your own rude joke here) or arm-locking a Viking player's shoulder. I often saw two and sometimes three 49ers in a row, just feet from the staring officials while more or less imprisoning the Vikings players in wrestle holds.
Yes, they called Tomlinson for Holding twice. I guess he got on a refs bad side? But calling 2 out of, what, 73 holds is not a good percentage by the refs.
I'm not saying this is what happened but it looked just like the refs said they were not going to call any holds so go ahead and Hold as much as you please but like they only gave that message to the 49ers.
When a 300+ lb. linemen wraps his arms around your waist to "conga line" you or has your arm and you cannot amputate it in time to get to the ball carrier, then, yes, Deebo Samuel is going to have a big day on these outside sweeps. The DL can't string it out and the CB, S, and LB on that side end up facing a WR, a TE, a FB, and a pulling Guard. Four on three, story over.
Kittle made it sound like Zimmer was whining about typical everyday, refs missing some calls football. That was not what this was. This game had more grappling by the 49ers than most WWE fights. I dare Kittle to try to match, hold for hold, his team vs. ours and show the refs did an equally poor job of calling penalties on both teams or that the Vikings held even one tenth as much as the 49ers. It was like 17 to 1, 49ers holds to Vikings holds. That's being generous, by me to him. Maybe 58 to 2.
So, we had a game where the Vikings fielded a DL of pure back-up players facing an excellent O-line who was also given free rein to hold as much as they wanted.
It's actually nearly a miracle we only lost by 8....
I know, obvious, not his best game. Still, a rating over 90 facing quite a few tough situations. A few real bad looking throws none worse than that INT. That is one of the many woulda coulda shoulda plays that haunt us.
I loved us going for it (Crazy Zim! You Wildman!) on 4th and goal from the 2 in the 1st quarter. It's like a 2-point conversion so it should be a slightly over 50% chance of converting. If you kick the FG, you get 3 points, the TD you get 7. So you take the nearly even odds to more than double the potential points.
Faced a top CB, only had 4 catches but all of them were explosive plays. 30 yards, 15 yards, 15 yards, and 23 yards. It's funny, his stat line of 4 catches for 83 yards would be the envy of most WRs but feels a little disappointing. He has raised our expectations so much. It behooves me to also point out he also threw a pass complete for 24 yards (thus, over 100 yards total on the day) and picked up a PI by the defense for a ton of yards -- another explosive play. If not for that PI, he would have gone over 100 yards receiving.
To those who think he was "underutilized", no. He was thrown at 9 times, and got to throw a pass as well. About 30% of Cousins' throws went to JJ and no other player got the ball as much as him other than Cousins and the Center hiking the ball.
Alright, this was the Thielen we know from the past years. He looked refreshed and precise. Oh, yeah, for sure that one catch was stolen from him. Total crap by the refs. Think about how bad or bought off these refs were. They can't tell a clear catch with a clear replay showing it is a catch. It never touched the ground. If it hits his hands and stays in his hands and never touches the ground... how can it not be a catch? Were the refs drunk? High on shrooms? Licking acid dots? Or did a Vegas mobster hold a .22 to the temple of their favorite grandchild in Poughkeepsie?
It was great to see him more utilized in the screen game -- targeted 7, caught 6, 64 yards -- but it was awful seeing him get hurt. Tough deal for the team. We'll need to lean heavier on Cousins and Crew now.
His running before his injury was pretty poor. A run of 30 saved his stat line -- sort of -- if you can call his 10 runs for 39 yards game total a "saved" stat line. Granted, he missed the last quarter of the game and the fumble play was not on him, and he lost a bunch of yards on that. We've got to block! Cook cannot teleport like Nightcrawler of the X-men.
Speaking of which, in 2022 free agency, what do you guys think of us signing Nightcrawler? I hear he has some off-field issues but he could be hella good. I mean, geez, 2-point conversions alone, just give him the ball and **poof**, he's in the end zone.
I think we can get him for 4 years at 32 million but I'd go as high as 3 years for 150 million....
A bit lame in the screen game. Fantastic TD run. Most of his other runs were unimpressive. I'll say this: he is less likely to get a ten yard run than Cook but his short runs get an added yard over what Cook would get.
A star is born. Or was whenever Mrs. Nwangwu gave birth to Kene. Nowadays in the NFL it is so rare for a player to get a TD via kick off return. One in a year for a returner is excellent. He has two now even with missing so many games. He also had that 7 yard run. He looks like Chris Johnson out there. But faster. A fantastic get for a 4th rounder.
By the way, Nwangwu's first KO return was only out to the 22 but it was amazing. Any other player would have been tackled at the 12 and then at the 17 or so.
Nice 16 yard catch and had another one called back by penalty on someone else. I did not note his blocking.
Always a big fan but I do notice we've gone to using him much less. Is it because opposing teams have studied him and take him seriously? I'm not sure but I still believe in him.
A little quiet. I get a feeling he's going to have a big game in Detroit. Like 5-6 catches and a TD. Just a feeling.
Sack allowed. But, only one and it was Nick Bosa. LT is such a tough position.
It is more than obvious that, with Cole in the line-up, we have much less pass rush pressure allowed up the middle. However, we also have worse run blocking. Say what you will about Bradbury but he kicked butt in the run game, getting multiple blocks in the same play and getting downfield and clearing linebackers. Cole over Bradbury is a conscious choice that the passing offense is more important than the running offense.
That new-fangled pass first, risk crazy Zimmer! Air Zimmer! (Zeppelin Zimmer?)
Yes, return of the penalty. But, did you see that hold? It was almost nothing. Not quite non-existent but close. The player pushed past Udoh and Udoh's arm was in front of him and got flapped away. He never "held" anything. The 49ers blockers did that every play that they weren't actually full on holding. In this case, Udoh is innocent. Let my Udoh go! Free Udoh!
Wow. Pretty dang good. Hey, he was facing Trent Williams and wall-to-wall holds! 5 tackles, 3 Hurries, and, yeah, a penalty.
His best game as a Viking. Take that for what it is worth but he had a Sack and the Watts Sack was really mostly him.
Played like a starter. That is high praise. He tied for the DL tackle lead and had the most solo tackles. I saw him several times penetrate and disrupt. These were plays that the delay he caused should have led to tackles by others near the line or behind the line but they were either out of place or held out of place by the 49ers line.
He isn't much vs. the pass and he did have a penalty as well.
I'm proud of Lynch. He looked like a possible failed 4th round choice last year and he's become a critical role player, value back-up, and a more than dependable team mate.
Watts earned this also but Watts got it last week: REVELATION OF THE WEEK
He was great in the 1st quarter but then mostly disappeared. Still, it was a great 1st quarter. He disappeared right when the 49ers went into full blatant hold mode. Why isn't Watts effective with a 315 pound O-lineman tackling him? What's wrong with Watts? He had a Sack (mostly due to Wonnum), 3 tackles, and 4 Hurries. According to ESPN, Watts had half of the Vikings total QB hits this game.
Not bad for an in-week pick up. I like him better than Wonnum. (Save this comment for later use against me)
Lots of tackles but it is hard to be enthused about number of tackles when we get run all over.
Disconcertingly invisible. A lot of jog-chase the opposing runner out of bounds. He didn't seem like he gave full effort vs. the run. He had a couple early good overages in the pass game. This was his worst game all year, though he's had an incredible year.
Lots of tackles but also a missed tackle. And a nice Tackle Behind the Line with a hard hit.
How can he made two huge plays in the first two games and then none, zero, zilch in all the games since then?
Fantastic game. Yes, we were run all over but we did pretty well vs. the pass, often due to Smith. Interception, Hard Hits, Pass Knocked Away, and a Tackle on the line.
Up and down. A horrible blown coverage and a badly missed tackle. Also... a Pass Defended. He's really down in his play the last two games. He is the Breeland of Safeties -- great plays mixed with goofy awful ones, but at a bad ratio now, one part good to two parts bad. I don't like that mix! It makes me want to make my own mix, one part whiskey, two parts tequila. Nasty? Yes. That's my point.
Keep it up Woods and you are paving the way for Bynum to start next year.
Our best CB but... that doesn't mean great. He did some good things but he does some surprisingly boneheaded things for a guy with his experience. Blew a coverage, just awful, and had a dumb penalty that kept a drive alive for them (handing them points).
Mostly invisible but in a good way, like shutting down his guy.
For the second week in a row.... DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
Get. Off. The. Field.
We need to rest, regroup, recover, and recoup.