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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

49ers fall short after being torched by Kirk Cousins, Vikings offense in 22-17 loss

Oct 23, 2023 at 8:20 PM--

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
SF 0 7 7 3 17
MIN 7 9 6 0 22

Monday night's game against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was one a proud San Francisco 49ers defense would probably like to forget.

Usually regarded as having one of the top defenses in the NFL, the 49ers were sliced and diced all evening long by Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw for 378 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 35-of-45 passing in a 22-17 victory. Rookie receiver Jordan Addison caught seven of Cousins' passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns, while the Vikings rolled up 452 yards of total offense.

Despite struggling defensively with a number of costly mistakes in all facets of the game, the 49ers had a chance to come out of Minnesota with a win on their final possession. But the Vikings sealed the deal on a late interception of quarterback Brock Purdy, who finished with 272 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 21-of-30 passing.

First Half

The highlights came from the defensive side of the ball early, starting with a takeaway from the 49ers on the third play of the game. Following a 19-yard run by running back Alexander Mattison on the first play from scrimmage and a completion for no gain on the second play, cornerback Charvarius Ward wrestled a Cousins pass away from Addison for an interception, setting the 49ers up at the Vikings' 48-yard line.

The 49ers moved inside the red zone on five plays, then the Vikings got the ball back on running back Christian McCaffrey's second lost fumble of the season. The fumble was recovered by defensive end Dean Lowry, giving the Vikings possession at their own 11-yard line.

The Vikings capitalized off the fumble with an efficient 10-play, 89-yard drive that gave them a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard scoring strike from Cousins to Addison. The Vikings faced a 3rd-and-2 from the 20-yard line on the play, which saw the rookie Addison break wide open for his fifth touchdown of the season.

The 49ers responded with a 10-play, 53-yard drive that moved the ball to the Vikings' 22-yard line before being forced to settle for a field goal attempt from rookie kicker Jake Moody. But Moody missed his second consecutive field goal, this one from 40 yards out after missing what would have been a game-winning 41-yard kick in a 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 6.

The Vikings took over at their own 30-yard line and put together a 13-play, 67-yard drive that moved them to the 2-yard line after a 14-yard completion to wide receiver K.J. Osborn on a 2nd-and-24 from the 46 and a 30-yard completion to running back Cam Akers on 3rd-and-10. But the 49ers tightened on defense and forced the Vikings to settle for a 21-yard field goal from kicker Greg Joseph to open up a 10-0 lead.

The 49ers started at their own 25-yard line after the kickoff with 7:33 left in the first half and moved across midfield in three plays after Purdy connected on a 25-yard third down completion to Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers moved inside the 10-yard line with just over a minute to play, then McCaffrey took a second down run into the end zone three yards out to cap a 12-play, 78-yard drive and cut the lead to 10-7. The run gave McCaffrey a touchdown in 16 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in NFL history.

1:01 remained on the clock when the Vikings took over at their own 25-yard line. They moved to their own 40-yard line with 17 seconds remaining, then, after having Ward snag the ball away from him in the first quarter, Addison pulled off a stunner when he snatched another interception out of the arms of Ward and ran in for a 60-yard touchdown with seven seconds left on the clock. Joseph missed the extra point attempt, giving the Vikings a 16-7 lead over the 49ers at the break.

The 49ers got a solid first half performance from Purdy, who threw for 122 yards on 11-of-13 passing with 16 rushing yards on two carries. But a shaky showing from the defense (270 total yards allowed) along with McCaffrey's fumble, Moody's missed field goal and late touchdown left the 49ers facing their biggest deficit of the season as they started the second half.

Second Half

The 49ers punted after six plays on their first possession of the second half, then the Vikings stretched their lead to 19-7 on a 20-yard field goal from Joseph after an 11-play, 77-yard drive. The Vikings faced a 1st-and-Goal at the 1-yard line after a pass interference call on cornerback Deommodore Lenoir in the end zone, but after a run from Cousins for no gain on first down and a false start penalty on second down, the 49ers were able to hold the Vikings without a touchdown and stay within two scores with 6:59 left in the third quarter.

It took only 65 seconds for the 49ers to trim their deficit to five. After a touchback on the kickoff, Purdy connected with McCaffrey for a 12-yard completion, then moved the 49ers to Vikings' 35-yard line on a 28-yard completion to tight end George Kittle. Then McCaffrey scored his second touchdown of the game when he took a short pass from Purdy and weaved through a hole in the Vikings' defense for a 35-yard score. The extra point from Moody put the score at 19-14 with 5:54 left in the third.

The Vikings responded to the touchdown with their fifth consecutive scoring drive, this one a 10-play, 50-yard possession that ended in a 54-yard field goal from Joseph. The Vikings moved across midfield in seven plays, then put themselves in a 1st-and-15 after a false start penalty. The 49ers kept them in check from there, forcing the field goal with 20 seconds left in the third quarter.

The 49ers answered with a long field goal of their own -- a 55-yard strike from Moody after a six-play, 31-yard drive to cut the lead to 22-17. Then, after a seven-play, 30-yard possession, the 49ers forced the first Vikings punt of the night with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter. The 49ers took over at their own 25-yard line after a touchback, then moved across the 50 on a 4th-and-1 dive by Purdy. But on the next play, Purdy made his first major mistake of the night when he threw an interception into the arms of safety Camryn Bynum, giving the Vikings possession at their own 30-yard line with 5:30 left to play.

The Vikings moved the ball to the 49ers' 33-yard line on the next possession before attempting a 50-yard field goal by Joseph, which sailed wide right with 1:11 remaining. The 49ers began at their own 40-yard line after the miss, then moved across midfield to the Vikings' 40-yard line before stopping the clock with 34 seconds. However, on the next play, history repeated itself as Purdy was picked off by Bynum again, this time at the 22-yard line with 25 seconds remaining. The Vikings ran out the clock from there to seal the win.

The Vikings moved to 3-4 on the season with the win, while the 49ers fell to 5-2 on the season with the loss.

Game Notes: The 49ers were seven-point favorites heading into Monday night's game... McCaffrey's second quarter touchdown put him within two games of tying the all-time record of 18 consecutive games with a touchdown, shared by running back LaDanian Tomlinson and halfback/flanker Lenny Moore... The 49ers now carry an all-time edge of 25-24-1 in their series with the Vikings... The 49ers return to the Bay Area next week for a Sunday afternoon home game (4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT, CBS) against the Cincinnati Bengals (3-2), who are coming off a bye. The Vikings will be heading to Lambeau Field in Green Bay next week for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff against the Packers (2-4).

SF Team Stats MIN
260 Passing Yards 378
65 Rushing Yards 74
325 Total Yards 452
9.07 Avg Yards per Pass 8.4
2.95 Avg Yards per Run 3.52
1 Fumbles Lost 0
2 Int Thrown 1
1 Sacks Allowed 0
00:25:04 Time of Pos 00:34:56
5 Penalties 5

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Brock Purdy 21/30 272 1 2
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Christian McCaffrey 15 45 3 1
Brock Purdy 5 19 3.8 0
George Kittle 1 2 2 0
Elijah Mitchell 1 -1 -1 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
George Kittle 5 7 78 0
Brandon Aiyuk 5 6 57 0
Jauan Jennings 5 9 54 0
Christian McCaffrey 3 3 51 1
Ray-Ray McCloud 2 3 20 0
Ross Dwelley 1 1 12 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Christian McCaffrey 1 1
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Jake Moody 1 2 55 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 1 58 0 62
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Talanoa Hufanga 9-2 0 0 0
Oren Burks 6-0 0 0 0
Charvarius Ward 5-1 0 1 0
Nick Bosa 5-0 0 0 0
Deommodore Lenoir 4-2 0 0 0
Javon Hargrave 4-0 0 0 0
Isaiah Oliver 3-0 0 0 0
Tashaun Gipson 2-1 0 0 0
Clelin Ferrell 2-1 0 0 0
Fred Warner 13-6 0 0 0
Dre Greenlaw 10-2 0 0 0
Kevin Givens 1-0 0 0 0
Javon Kinlaw 1-0 0 0 0

Vikings Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Kirk Cousins 35/45 378 2 1
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Alexander Mattison 8 39 4.9 0
Cam Akers 10 31 3.1 0
Brandon Powell 1 5 5 0
Kirk Cousins 2 -1 -0.5 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Jordan Addison 7 10 123 2
T.J. Hockenson 11 12 86 0
Brandon Powell 4 5 64 0
K.J. Osborn 5 6 47 0
Cam Akers 2 3 30 0
Ty Chandler 1 1 12 0
Trishton Jackson 1 1 7 0
Josh Oliver 2 2 6 0
Alexander Mattison 2 3 3 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Greg Joseph 3 4 54 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Ryan Wright 1 22 0 42
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Brandon Powell 1 4 0 4
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Camryn Bynum 9-2 0 2 0
Jordan Hicks 8-4 0 0 0
Harrison Smith 6-3 0 0 1
Josh Metellus 5-3 0 0 0
Harrison Phillips 4-2 0 0 0
D.J. Wonnum 4-2 0 0 0
Byron Murphy 4-0 0 0 0
Akayleb Evans 4-0 0 0 0
Dean Lowry 3-2 0 0 0
Jonathan Bullard 2-0 0 0 0
Danielle Hunter 2-0 1 0 0
Theo Jackson 1-1 0 0 0
Andrew Booth 1-1 0 0 0
Jaquelin Roy 1-0 0 0 0

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