Sinking the Vikes
Where do I begin? From efficient passing by Jimmy Garoppolo, to an absolute dominant game rushing the ball, as well as the complete and utter destruction of the Vikings’ offense, the 49ers played one of their most complete games of the season.
27-10 may not seem like an utterly dominant final score, however, a deeper dive into the stats and numbers will say otherwise.
On defense, the 49ers held the Vikings to 147 total yards, which is the lowest yardage total by any 49ers team in postseason history.
The 49ers’ run defense in particular, arguably had one of its best performances of the season, holding pro-bowl RB Dalvin Cook to a meager 18 yards on 9 carries. For some of you math majors out there, that’s an astonishing 2.0 yards per carry. To put into perspective, Dalvin Cook ran for 1135 yards on the season, averaging a solid 4.5 YPC.
During the regular season, Minnesota had the 10th ranked offense via Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Their rank when running the ball? 15th. Let it be known that their identity on offense was primarily running through Dalvin Cook, and a good amount of play-action passes from Kirk Cousins. Needless to say, the 49ers run defense handled a team that runs the ball well with ease and finesse.
Speaking of Kirk Cousins, the Vikings’ QB was held to his 3rd lowest passing yardage total of the season. Passing for a lowly 172 yards, Cousins was held in check by a formidable secondary, and a devastating pass rush lead by pro-bowl DE and likely DROY Nick Bosa.
On the day, the 49ers’ DL combined for 6 sacks! Spread amongst the stars, Bosa had 2 sacks, while Solomon Thomas, Armstead, Buckner, and Dee Ford each had 1 sack apiece. Another significant number: Armstead, Bosa, and Buckner TOGETHER combined for 22 QB pressures. That’s an absolutely remarkable number. The Vikings may not have a top-10 OL, however, it is a very solid OL nonetheless. Without question, the 49ers’ DL controlled this game for 4 quarters, while allowing Cousins to complete one-40 yard pass to Stefon Diggs, which was covered poorly by Ahkello Witherspoon.
Overall, it was one of the best performances of the season (by the defense) as a whole. From allowing the Vikings to rush for less than 30 yards, all the while holding Cousins to 172 passing yards, it was one of those “Holy crap, this is really where the defense is at” moments.
As for the offense.. I cannot complain much at all.
It was one of those games we actually haven’t seen in some time: Dominate running the ball, manage a very… manageable passing attack.
The 49ers’ ground game, lead by standout running back Tevin Coleman, averaged a solid 4 yards per carry, ran for a total of 186 yards. Coleman on the day, ran for 105 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry on 22 carries, and scored two touchdowns, both via rushing.
Raheem Mostert, who was looking like a top-5 RB in the league, left early with a calf cramp. He carried the ball 12 times for 58 yards.
Overall, solid blocking by the OL and the TEs opened huge holes for the RBs to run through all afternoon. Minnesota’s strong DL, lead by Danielle Hunter, only had 1 sack on the day. The entire team had two as a whole.
Jimmy Garoppolo had a good, but not spectacular game, and that’s alright! If he’s not being asked to throw the ball 40+ times, one can assume the run game is having a solid day. Jimmy finished the game 11/19, passing for 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and throwing for 122 yards.
Again, it was a game-manage day for Jimmy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. During the first half of the season, the running game was absolutely humming. And for Jimmy, that means he generally needs to do very little, with the most he needs to do being ball security (no interceptions, fumbles, etc.).
As for the wide receivers, it was a very balanced game for the pass catchers.
Deebo, Bourne, and Kittle each had 3 catches on the day. Emmanuel Sanders had 2. Bourne, who’s been one of the most clutch WRs, caught the only touchdown on the day.
The entire unit was solid. From averaging almost 5 yards per carry, to Garoppolo throwing clutch throws, it was a very well balanced attack.
Next up on the ledger: the Green Bay Packers, at Santa Clara, in the NFC Championship game.
Honoring the fans:
I asked, and you guys delivered! In this portion, I’ll be picking out some of the best reactions from the 49ers’ solid game against the Vikings!
The fact that Kittle only had 16 yards on 3 catches and many of the rookies and young players stepped up in the big game. Kittles blocking was amazing and that was huge but having these young guys step up is refreshing.! GO NINERS!!
— Dennis (@purpledawgfan1) January 12, 2020
I'd say the play of our defensive line. Held Cook to 18 yards. Overall, only 7 first downs for Minnesota. Secondly, Coleman kinda came out of nowhere with this performance. I say that cuz Mostert has been the workhorse lately. Credit to the OL
— NINER FAN IN TEXAS (@GoldBlooded79) January 12, 2020
John & Kyle knew what they were doing when assembling this team. Ford and Kwon made a huge impact on this team, & when spoon was benched this team only gave up 3 points, & even that was based on a bad read by Jimmy. Defense played lights out, this offense will score! #NinerGang
— AgentMose (@AgentMose) January 12, 2020
49ers were simply superior to the Vikings. And shut up the opinions of the professional analysts that keep doubting the potencial the 49ers have to win this year's Superbowl. Period.
— Betsy Vazquez (@vazquez_betsy) January 12, 2020
Talk about getting healthy at the right time! Man I like Akhello but he can't seem to finish and make a stop when it is needed. Something seems off, similar to last year. Hope he gets back to dominating.
— Samson Neustrom (@SamsonNeustrom) January 12, 2020