Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Recap: 49ers lose Week 1 contest, fall to Vikings 24-16 in 2018 season opener

Sep 9, 2018 at 1:14 PM--

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
SF 0 3 10 3 16
MIN 3 7 14 0 24

The San Francisco 49ers were going to have a tough challenge beating the Minnesota Vikings and their top defense in Week 1. Despite hanging around in a sloppy game, the Niners fell 24-16 in a game where they had plenty of extra chances.

Opportunities were going to come few and far between for the San Francisco 49ers, as they visited the Minnesota Vikings and their strong defense at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 1. And head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad missed a major one early in the second quarter after driving the length of the field while trailing 10-3.

The Niners' first red-zone drive -- a 14-play, 69-yard drive -- made it all the way to the Vikings' 1-yard line. But running back Alfred Morris fumbled on yet another goal-line carry (it was his second fumble of the drive), which Minnesota recovered.

That was a key missed chance. And there were more for the 49ers on the defensive side of the ball.

One of the biggest issues for San Francisco was tackling, or lack thereof. With linebacker Reuben Foster (suspension) out, Brock Coyle ended up starting at WILL but missed more than a few tackles on Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and others. And Coyle's lack of speed also allowed Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins to scramble out of the pocket and pick up first downs on a number of plays.

The 49ers may have lost 24-16, but there were a number of positives for San Francisco.

Perhaps the biggest was defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who was regularly in the backfield and managed 2.5 sacks on Cousins. Including this tandem one with fellow lineman Ronald Blair:

Still, San Francisco's woes in the game were marked by missed tackles, dropped passes and failed chances. Tight end George Kittle would have had a game-tying touchdown grab in the third quarter. But the pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo slipped right through Kittle's hands. And on the following play, wide receiver Kendrick Bourne slipped on his route, allowing Garoppolo's intended pass to go right into the hands of Vikings quarterback Mike Hughes for a pick-six interception.

Those drops continued the following drive, namely a costly one by wide receiver Pierre Garçon in the end zone. While it would have been a spectacular catch had he made it, the Niners were nevertheless forced to settle for their second field goal of the game.

Overall, San Francisco was 1-of-4 in red-zone drives. But it sure was nice to see Garoppolo hit rookie wideout Dante Pettis for an impressive touchdown pass on the fly with an equally impressive grab on the other end:

Drops hurt the 49ers here a lot, as did a number of misplaced balls by Garoppolo. And yet they didn't plague Minnesota, which is a prime reason why Cousins and the Vikings offense never trailed in the game.

Defensive backs Ahkello Witherspoon and Jaquiski Tartt each gave up touchdown catches on plays where they failed to turn their heads and locate the ball. Miscues like those, combined with the numerous other areas, show why San Francisco still has a ways to go before emerging as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are a contender. So it shouldn't be too much a shock to see a relatively one-sided 49ers loss in this contest.

Garoppolo was 15-of-33 for 261 yards, the touchdown and three interceptions for a passer rating of 45.1. Meanwhile, Cousins' Vikings debut was solid enough on paper, completing 57.1 percent of his passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and a rating of 97.8. Penalties also weren't a huge factor for the Niners. But a key neutral-zone infraction against defensive end Solomon Thomas on 4th-and-1 just ahead of the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter gave the Vikings a fresh set of downs. That hurt.

But not as much as Garoppolo's final interception of the game to seal the Vikings win.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin exited with a leg injury but managed to return. But offensive guards Mike Person and Joshua Garnett both left with foot injuries, and linebacker Brock Coyle suffered a head injury in the fourth quarter.

Garoppolo now has a loss, the 49ers start off 0-1 and will now prepare for their home opener on Sept. 16 versus the Detroit Lions.

SF Team Stats MIN
20 First Downs 19
327 Total Yards 343
237 Pass Yards 227
90 Rush Yards 116
3 (21) Penalties (Yds) 7 (52)
4 Turnovers 1
4 (42) Punts (Avg) 6 (36)
28:51 Time of Pos. 31:09

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
J. Garoppolo 15/33 261 1 3
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
M. Breida 11 46 0 11
A. Morris 12 38 0 14
J. Garoppolo 2 6 0 4
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
G. Kittle 5 90 0 36
T. Taylor 4 28 0 10
D. Pettis 2 61 1 39
P. Garçon 2 21 0 11
K. Juszczyk 1 56 0 56
M. Breida 1 5 0 5
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
A. Morris 1 1 0 0
D. Pettis 1 0 0 0
A. Witherspoon 0 0 1 0
R. Sherman 0 0 0 0
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
R. Gould 3/3 42 1/1 10
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
B. Pinion 4 43.5 1 48
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
D. Pettis 2 7 0 14
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
F. Warner 11-1 0 0 1
D. Buckner 3-4 2.5 0 0
J. Tartt 5-1 0 0 0
B. Coyle 4-2 0 0 0
A. Colbert 4-1 0 0 0
A. Armstead 3-2 0 0 0
E. Lee 3-1 0 0 0
K. Williams 3-0 0 0 0
C. Marsh 3-0 0 0 0
E. Mitchell 1-2 0 0 0
R. Blair 1-1 0.5 0 0
R. Sherman 0-2 0 0 0
S. Day 1-0 0 0 0
J. Ward 1-0 0 0 0
D. Jones 1-0 0 0 0
A. Witherspoon 0-1 0 0 0
S. Thomas 0-1 0 0 0

Vikings Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
K. Cousins 20/36 244 2 0
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
L. Murray 11 42 0 9
D. Cook 16 40 0 15
K. Cousins 4 26 0 13
S. Diggs 1 8 0 8
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
A. Thielen 6 102 0 34
D. Cook 6 55 0 17
S. Diggs 3 43 1 22
L. Treadwell 2 18 0 16
K. Rudolph 1 11 1 11
D. Morgan 1 9 0 9
T. Conklin 1 6 0 6
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
D. Cook 1 1 0 0
H. Smith 0 0 0 0
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
D. Carlson 1/1 48 3/3 6
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
M. Wile 6 38.3 4 56
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
M. Sherels 3 2 0 8
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
H. Smith 7-1 1 1 0
S. Richardson 4-2 0.5 0 0
D. Hunter 4-0 1 0 0
L. Joseph 4-0 0 0 1
E. Griffen 3-1 0.5 0 0
E. Kendricks 3-1 0 0 0
B. Gedeon 3-1 0 0 0
M. Hughes 3-0 0 1 0
A. Sendejo 2-1 0 0 0
T. Waynes 2-0 0 0 0
X. Rhodes 2-0 0 1 0
A. Barr 1-1 0 0 0
H. Hill 1-0 0 0 0
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

Related News

More San Francisco 49ers News

Football Outsiders calls Vikings' Kirk Cousins a 'healthier version' of 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo

By David Bonilla
Feb 24, 2021

In a feature for ESPN, Football Outsiders suggested a non-Deshaun Watson bold move for each NFL team. Before continuing, it is important to note that they admit some of the suggestions are far-fetched but believe that each would improve the teams' chances of winning. The suggestion for the San Francisco 49ers is to trade for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. I'll pause for the collective groan from readers. This isn't really about the trade itself, though, but the reason behind the suggestion and why Cousins' name keeps coming up for the 49ers when the Vikings — nor Cousins — have given any indication

Bengals likely to host 17th regular-season game vs. 49ers

By David Bonilla
16 hrs ago

NBC Sports' Peter King offered some scheduling insight into what will likely be a 17-game season in 2021. The NFL continues negotiations with broadcast partners on a new television deal, and the networks and league are working on the assumption that the regular season will increase by one game. Until now, there has been speculation on where those 17th games will take place. We already knew that each NFC West team would be matched up against the AFC North opponent with the same spot in its standings from this past season. That means the San Francisco 49ers taking on the last-place Cincinnati Bengals in 2021. King is hearing that the AFC will be hosting all 16 of the

49ers TE George Kittle identifies where he can improve this offseason

By David Bonilla
Feb 15, 2021

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle can do it all. He excels as both a receiver and a run-blocker, making him the complete package. Still, there is always room for improvement. According to Pro Football Focus, only six of Kittle's 63 targets this past season went for 20-or-more yards. The All-Pro tight end hauled in four of those pass attempts for 131 yards. To his credit, one was determined to be uncatchable, leaving Kittle with just one drop. He would love to create more opportunities as a downfield target, though. Kittle spoke with Chris Simms of NBC Sports last week and was asked what he hopes to work on this offseason to improve his game in 2021. "I would like to get better at the longer-distanced routes, some longer-distanced third-down

Adam Peters explains why the 49ers were at Trevor Lawrence's pro day

By David Bonilla
Feb 16, 2021

San Francisco 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters recently spoke with Matt Barrows of The Athletic. He was asked about the team's presence in South Carolina to watch Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Niners own the No. 12 overall pick in the upcoming draft, and Lawrence is expected to be the top selection, going to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yet, San Francisco was among 17 teams in attendance to watch Lawrence. Peters reminds everyone that there were other players there. For example, one of the receivers that Lawrence was throwing to during the workout was Cornell Powell, who caught 53 passes for 882 yards and seven touchdowns for the Tigers last season. The


Trending News

Share 49erswebzone