The Niners opened the 2018 season with a 16-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium. The most disappointing aspect of this loss is the Niners had plenty of opportunities to win this game. They had two drives in the 4th quarter only down 8 points, and both times failed. Although a loss is a loss, there are many positive things to takeaway both on offense and defense, and there were definitely some things we need to work on. I’m proud to say that the Niners stayed in it to the very end  — on the road, against a team that some think is a legitimate Superbowl contender.

Offense:

I like to always start with positives when talking about anything so lets start there. Rookie Mike McGlinchey played well, especially for it being his first career NFL game. What made his play even more impressive is that Sunday was the first time he has ever played guard. Running Back Alfred Morris ran the ball well although his fumble at the 1 yard-line was a big momentum swing in the game. George Kittle, like most of the Niners, had a very up-and-down game. Kittle finished the game with 5 catches for 90 yards, but had a huge dropped ball that would have been a walk-in TD when the 49ers needed it desperately. The very next play is when Jimmy G-Cool threw the pick-6. Speaking of Jimmy G-Cool, he clearly had his worst game of his young career — going 15/33, 261 yards a TD… and 3 picks. Jimmy was high on a lot of this throws and the pass-rush of Minnesota was getting to him. The Niners receivers didn’t make any life easier for their quarterback, dropping at least 4 passes — 2 of them in the endzone. The offense seemed able to move the ball fairly well, considering the caliber of defense they were playing. There were simply too many times the Niners shot themselves in the foot.

Overall, the Niners hung in there even after losing Mike Person, his backup Joshua Garnett, and Marquise Goodwin on offense. The opportunity to make a lot more plays was there today, and I expect them to learn how to make sure to take advantage of each and every one of them in the future.


Defense:

Sunday the defense came to play, holding Minnesota’s offense to only 17 points. Kirk Cousins threw for only 244 yards and two touchdowns, but missed on his final eight pass attempts. The run defense also showed up for the most part, limiting Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray to 82 combined yards. Rookie linebacker Fred Warner looks like a total star in the making. He had nine tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a forced-fumble in the first half alone! Warner also flashed in front of a handful of passes and should have a at least one pick, if not two.

DeForest Buckner had a monster game with 2.5 sacks and was in Cousins’ face all day long. Just like the offense, the defense missed on plenty of chances to make plays. There were dropped interceptions, far too many missed tackles, and lets not forget (or maybe we should forget) Solomon Thomas with literally the stupidest penalty that you can ever get — Neutral Zone Infraction on 4th & 1 (?!).

Overall, I feel great about what the defense was able to do today against the Vikings. Whenever the team needed a stop, the defense came up big. The only thing that matters in pro football is who got the W and who got the L. There are no moral victories. However with that being said, I only feel disappointed with this game because this game was there for the taking and the Niners simply didn’t take advantage of it. They shouldn’t hold their head down low, as they went toe-to-toe with a really good football team today. They learn from it and move on.


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