OK - I got fired up to write this after reading a PFT article stating that the 49ers struggle against teams that run well -- we don't...the Vikings RBs got a measly 3.3 yards per carry (league avg. is 4 this year). That's a myth.
What really happened is that Ponder looked like Fran Tarkenton on third down. 7/14 on third downs, plus a 4th down conversion. They were 36% on the season going in. Here are their third-down conversions:
3-yard Peterson run on 3rd and 1
11-yard pass to rudolph on 3rd and 10
1-yard TD pass to rudolph on 4th and 1
11 yard pass to Aromashodu on 3rd and 11
6 yard pass to Gerhart on 3rd and 2
14 yard pass to Gerhart on 3rd and 10
2 yard TD pass to Rudolph on 3rd and 2
14 yard pass to harvin on 3rd and 5
Converting this many third and longs -- especially while under pressure -- is almost unheard of and its a bit of an anomaly.
Now, we came in sloppy and lethargic -- yes. And we came out passing for some reason, yes. And, the 49ers failed to connect on key passes - yes. And, there were some highly questionable personal foul calls that extended 2/3 of MIN's TD drives - yes. But that's not why we lost.
We still would have won this game if it weren't for Ponder perhaps having the best game of his career. Hats off to him.
But don't take much from this loss, if anything at all. The scramble-dumpoff is not a gameplan.