Miscues, Red Zone Offense Doom 49ers in 24-16 Loss To Vikings

Sep 9, 2018, 12:00 AM | Updated: Jan 4, 2019, 11:34 am
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

by Andrew Pasquini – Sports 1140 KHTK

The San Francisco 49ers (0-1) had a few good moments in Week 1 but those moments were marred by the bad in a 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings (1-0). The 49ers had plenty of chances to put themselves in a position to tie the game but mistakes gave the game to the Vikings.

The first miscue of the game came at the tail end of a 14 play, 69 yard drive in the second quarter. Trailing 10-3 with 2:30 left in the half, the 49ers had the ball at the 1-yard line with a 2nd and goal when Jimmy Garoppolo would hand the ball off to Alfred Morris who would fumble it away to the Vikings. Fortunately for the 49ers, the Vikings wouldn’t score and would trail by seven going into halftime.

The next big miscue from the 49ers would directly lead to points for Minnesota. Still trailing 10-3 in the third quarter, the 49ers had the ball at their own 20-yard line when Garoppolo would find George Kittle for what could have been a game-tying touchdown but Kittle wouldn’t be able to hold on to the ball. The very next play, Garoppolo would attempt a pass to Kendrick Bourne, who would slip and the pass would fall into the hands of Mike Hughes who would return the interception for a touchdown. What could have been a 10-10 tie turned into a 17-3 lead for the Vikings.

The 49ers would score their first touchdown of the game late in the third quarter trailing 24-6. On 2nd and 15 at the 22-yard line, Garoppolo would keep the play alive rolling out to the left and would drop a dime to rookie wide receiver Austin Pettis in the back corner of the red zone to put the 49ers behind 24-13.

Robbie Gould would tack on his third field goal of the game to put the 49ers down eight with eight minutes left in the game when the two teams would trade three and out possessions. Then would come the final miscue that would ultimately decide the game. With 2:54 remaining, the Vikings had a 4th and 1 and would keep the offense out appearing to go for it. Kirk Cousins would use a hard count to draw Solomon Thomas offsides  to give the Vikings a first down. The Vikings offense would be able to milk another minute off the clock before punting the ball back to the 49ers. Garoppolo would then throw an interception to Harrison Smith to put the game away.

Quick Hits

  • The 49ers were the sixth-worse team in the NFL last season in terms of red zone production, scoring a touchdown only 47 percent of the time and Sunday the struggles continued going 1-for-4 with three field goals and the goal line fumble from Morris.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo had what could be his worst game as a 49er. He completed 15 of his 33 pass attempts with a touchdown and three interceptions, including the pick-six to Hughes and the dagger to Smith. The three interceptions would be a career high for Garoppolo and his 45.1 passer rating is the lowest of any game he has started in his career.
  • DeForrest Buckner had 2.5 sacks Sunday and is now only half a sack away from matching his 2017 total of three.
  • Rookie Fred Warner led the way for the 49ers defense with 12 total tackles, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble.
  • Marquise Goodwin left the game with an injured quad and would return for a few plays before being shut down. Kyle Shanahan said after the game it is only a bruised quad.

Next Week

The 49ers face the Detroit Lions in their home opener next Sunday. The Lions host the New York Jets tomorrow night on Monday Night Football.

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Miscues, Red Zone Offense Doom 49ers in 24-16 Loss To Vikings