49ers defense thump Vikings, roll into NFC title game with 27-10 victory

sfgate.com: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8), is tackled by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, center, during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

Santa Clara, Calif — In the first ever NFL playoff game at Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers defended its home field in dominating fashion, outlasting the visiting Minnesota Vikings 27-10 on Saturday afternoon in the NFC Divisional round for their first playoff win in six years.

With the win, the top-seed 49ers (14-3) advance to the NFC championship game for the 16th time in franchise history where they await the winner between Seattle and Green Bay on Sunday in the other NFC Divisional matchup.

In his first playoff start, Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 3-yard touchdown to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne for an early 7-0 lead. Garoppolo marched San Francisco 61 yards in eight plays after its defense forced Minnesota (11-7) to punt on their opening drive.

Garoppolo wasn’t spectacular, finishing 11-of-19 for 131 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“A lot of things to clean up, but we played well enough to get the win,” tight end George Kittle said. “That’s all you can ask for. Playoff football, anyone can win and we just made more plays today.”

Kittle had just three catches for 16 yards in the contest.

As a group including Kittle, San Francisco’s pass catchers (wideouts Deebo Samuel 3 catches for team-leading 42 yards, Bourne 3 catches for 40 yards, TD; and Emmanuel Sanders 2 catches for 33 yards) combined for just 11 catches for 131 yards and a score.

Minnesota quickly responded, tying the game up at 7-7 on a 41-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Stefon Diggs. 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who had struggled in coverage down the stretch of the season, had great coverage on Diggs, but slipped at the 19-yard line and Diggs ran into the end zone.

But that would be Minnesota’s best highlight of the day as San Francisco would hold the Vikings to 147 yards of total offense. San Francisco’s offense racked up 308 yards total.

“The 49ers I felt were the better team today,” Cousins said after the game. “We didn’t do enough offensively to give ourselves a chance to win the game. It hurts now. Mike [Zimmer] said he was proud of the way the team fought this year, but right now, it’s just so raw. We’re kind of focused on this game and falling short. I thought the 49ers were a good team. They earned the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the way they played this season.”

San Francisco would retake the lead for good, behind the first of two rushing touchdowns by running back Tevin Coleman. Coleman capped off a 10-play, 53-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to give the 49ers a 14-7 lead.

“Those guys did very well,” Coleman said of his offensive line. “They moved the guys back so I had clear holes to run through. So, yeah, they did a real good job.”

Coleman finished the game with 105 yards on 22 carries.

Following an interception by linebacker Eric Kendricks inside the 49ers’ own territory, Minnesota added a 39-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime.

On their first possession of the third quarter, San Francisco stretched its lead to 17-10 behind a 35-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould.

After Richard Sherman intercepted Cousins inside Minnesota’s territory on the Vikings’ next possession, Coleman gave the 49ers a two-score lead with his second score of the game, a 2-yard run that increased San Francisco’s lead to 24-10.

It was Sherman’s third career playoff interception. Sherman has intercepted Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and now, Cousins.

Defensively, San Francisco overpowered Minnesota’s offense all day limiting the ground game and their play-action attack. Running back Dalvin Cook couldn’t find any running lanes, rushing for just 18 yards on nine carries.

“That was the No. 1 emphasis all week,” Bosa said of the Minnesota running game. “We knew we were facing probably the best back we’ve faced all year with Dalvin, and we knew we had to earn the right to pass rush. So, that’s what we did. We took the run as serious as we could, shut it down and then we ate.”

Bosa had a great start to his playoff career, registering two of San Francisco’s six sacks on the day. The returns of defensive Dee Ford, linebacker Kwon Alexander and safety Jaquiski Tartt proved to be vital for San Francisco’s defense, that looked like its dominating self from earlier in the season.

“It was huge to have those guys back,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “They’re leaders on our team, talented players, they make big plays for us. We were missing some pieces out there, but to get those guys back, we hit back on all cylinders.”

At one point, the 49ers held the Vikings’ offense without a first down for 27 minutes of game time. Minnesota had mustered just seven first downs, compared to 21 by San Francisco. The 49ers held the Vikings to 2-of-13 on third downs and dominated time of possession (38:27 to 21:33).

“We were playing good the whole game,” Armstead continued. “They got us early with the touchdown. We just locked in. We knew what they wanted to do which was run the ball. It starts with that, stopping the run. I think we did a good job with that. I saw they only had twenty something yards. Once we did that, we were able to get after the passer. When you do that, you can have a complete game and shut people out.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Vikings-49ers all set for the big day

sfgate.com photo: Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries near the goal line in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans.

On the 49ers podcast with J Lami:

#1 For the second consecutive season the 49ers. The George Kittle went over 1,000 receiving yards for the second straight season

#2 The Vikings can’t be understated they’re a team full of surprises and beat the Saints in New Orleans last week

#3 The Vikings cold be a comeback team with quarterback Kirk Cousins and wider receiver Adam Thielen.

#4 Last play of the game in New Orleans talk about Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph who caught a four yard touchdown to eliminate New Orleans

#5 How important is home field advantage on Saturday for the 49ers

San Francisco 49ers podcasts are heard each Friday with Joe Lami at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Headlines Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Niners favored by a TD; Ravens ten point favorites; plus more

@Ravens photo: Baltimore Ravens host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Playoffs on Saturday

On Headlines Sports with Tony Renteria:

#1 Will the task be easy for the San Francisco 49ers to get by the Minnesota Vikings Saturday or it’s not as easy as it looks. The 49ers picked by seven. In San Francisco’s last game they just got by the Seattle Seahawks by the slimmest of margins 26-21 and for the Minnesota Vikings they just got by the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome 26-20 on a pass to Kyle Rudolph from quarterback Kirk Cousins for the win.

#2 The Ravens have been a pick as on odds favorites to make the Super Bowl, they’ve had lots of rest since their last game of the regular season on Dec 29th against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 28-10 win. It was a game where quarterback LaMar Jackson sat out to rest for the playoffs as Jackson and the Raven are favored to beat the Tennessee Titans this Saturday by 10 points.

#3 The Houston Texans are in Kansas City the Chiefs for Saturday’s playoff match the Chiefs are favored by nine in this one. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mohomes in his last game against San Diego went 16-25 for 174 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

#4 The Seattle Seahawks are in Green Bay, the Packers are favored by four points this one could be even closer than the odds. This game will feature two of the NFC’s best quarterbacks for Seattle Russell Wilson in NFC Wild Card game was 18-30 for 325 yards and for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers on the last day of the season on Dec 29th vs. Detroit went 27-55 for a whopping 323 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Tony does Headline Sports each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NFL Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: A preview look at all four playoff games this weekend

nfl playoffs logo

On the NFL Playoffs podcast with J Hawkes:

Joe will take you through each of the following games with news and analysis:

Saturday

#1 Minnesota @ San Francisco: The Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins can work the offense he’s one of the key reasons why the Vikings are where they are in a huge comeback victory over the Saints last weekend. The 49ers got a narrow win themselves when the 49ers prevented the Seahawks at Century Link Field in Seattle to score in the fourth quarter to insure home field advantage.

#2 Tennessee @ Baltimore: The Tennessee Titans (10-7) battle, scratched and clawed to get this far they take a lot of faith and hope into this next game against the Baltimore Ravens. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 8-15 for 72 yards and a touchdown in the Titans last game against the New England Patriots in a 20-13 win. For the Ravens (14-2) they’ve been picked as favorites to make the Super Bowl and have tons of confidence in their starting quarterback LaMar Jackson who got this far.

Sunday

#3 Houston @ Kansas City: The Houston Texans got a three point win in their last game over the Buffalo Bills 22-19 to advance to the next round of the playoffs. The Texans with quarterback Deshaun Watson under center threw 247 yards against the Bills and had one touchdown. The favored Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) with quarterback Patrick Mahomes under center have been doing it all year. In the Chiefs last game Mahomes threw for 174 yards, went 16-25 and a touchdown.

#4 Seattle @ Green Bay: This game could be the game of the week in the NFL Playoffs this weekend. This game will provide two of the most exciting quarterbacks in football with Russell Wilson going for the Seahawks and Aaron Rogers going for the Green Bay Packers. In Wilson’s last game against the 49ers Wilson went 25-40, 233 yards, and two touchdowns. For the Packers (13-3) quarterback Aaron Rogers in his last game against Detroit went 27-55 for 323 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.

Joe Hawkes podcasts the NFL post season each Friday and will be covering the NFC Division game at Levis Stadium between Minnesota and San Francisco at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

49ers set to square off against the Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round

photo from mercurynews.com: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) and quarterback Adam Cousins (8) both are jubilant following Cousins winning touchdown pass to Thielen in New Orleans last Sunday at the Superdome 

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

In the first game of Sunday’s NFC Wild Card matchup, the Minnesota Vikings stunned the New Orleans Saints, winning 26-20 in overtime to earn their first postseason road victory since Jan. 9, 2005. With the win, the Vikings will travel to Levi’s Stadium to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round.

The Vikings have now eliminated the Saints in two of the last three postseasons. For the Saints, it makes the third-straight postseason that they were bounced out of the playoffs on the game’s final play.

Minnesota won the toss in overtime and took the ball and never looked back. The key play for the Vikings was the 43-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen to move Minnesota to the Saints’ 2-yard line. On 3rd-and-4, Cousins would find Kyle Rudolph in the left corner of the end zone for the game winning score and punching the Vikings’ (11-6) ticket to Santa Clara, Calif.

The sixth-seeded Vikings’ shocking upset over the heavily favored three-seeded Saints (13-4) was largely due to the play of Cousins, who completed 19-of-31 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown.

Thielen, who fumbled on the game’s opening drive, shook off the turnover to lead all Vikings pass catchers with seven catches for 129 yards. After missing the final two games of the season, running back Dalvin Cook returned to the lineup and rushed for 94 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. Cook also registered 36 receiving yards on three catches.

Minnesota’s offense racked up 22 first downs while racking up 362 net yards on the Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

For the top-seeded 49ers (13-3), it is the first time that Levi’s Stadium gets to host a playoff game in the six years that the stadium has been opened. San Francisco, who earned a much needed first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs after taking down their bitter rival, the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17 at CenturyLink Field, won the NFC West for the first time since 2012.

That season, the 49ers would advance to Super Bowl XLVII.

San Francisco is getting healthy at the right time, as they expect linebacker Kwon Alexander (torn pectoral) and edge rusher Dee Ford back in the fold for the game. Alexander, who was cleared to practice this week, had been on Injured Reserve since Week 9.

Ford missed three weeks with lingering hamstring issues.

Safety Jaquiski Tartt, who missed the final four games of the year with a fractured rib, will be ready to go Saturday.

The 49ers are 4-0 all-time in the divisional round as a top seed. Kickoff for the 49ers’ first playoff game since 2013 is at 1:35 p.m. PT and will be on NBC with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on the call. Michelle Tafoya will be reporting from the sidelines.

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: A look at this weekends playoff games; Cal tries to get back in win column host Wazuu this Thursday

sfgate.com file photo: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass as he throws a pass that was fumbled and recovered by the New Orleans Saints in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans.

On the Headlines podcast with Barbara

#1 Taking a look at NFC Playoff game for Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings who surprised just about everybody with a huge victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Super Dome come to Levis Stadium on Saturday to face the 49ers. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a overtime four yard touchdown pass for the victory could the Vikings shock the 49ers too?

#2 The AFC Playoff game for Saturday the Tennessee Titans will face the Baltimore Ravens a team favored to make the Super Bowl the Ravens have been tough all year.

#3 On Sunday in the AFC the Houston Texans are in Kansas City to face the rugged Chiefs. The Chiefs with quarterback Patrick Mahomes have been doing it all season.

#4 Seattle got that big victory in Philadelphia on Sunday now head to Green Bay this should one for the ages as this one will be played on a very tough Lambeau Field

#5 Cal’s Men’s basketball has seen some tough times they took a tough loss to the Stanford Cardinal last Saturday and are hoping to turn things around this Thursday at Haas Pavilion against the visiting Washington State Cougars.

Join Barbara each Tuesday for all the latest in Headline Sports at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Pats and Brady to decide future; Can Vikings surprise 49ers Sunday? plus more

usatoday.com file photo: Tom Brady might have played his last game in New England however Robert Kraft team owner is knocking at Brady’s door

On the podcast with Amaury:

#1 The New England Patriots have lots of questions in their off season about Tom Brady’s future where does head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots go from here?

#2 The San Francisco 49ers are hosting the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are coming off a huge win New Orleans one thing for sure the 49ers can’t be too over confident going into this game.

#3 Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones is not one to keep coaches long although his last one Jason Garrett survived nine seasons and finished this season at 8-8 as the Cowboys failed to make post season. Garrett will be replaced by former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

#4 It was mentioned that congress might take away baseball’s exemption status if MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred goes ahead and reduces 42 minor league teams. Will this give Manfred something to think about before pulling the trigger on the 42 minor league teams.

#5 He’s called the Cuban Ohtani- Oscar Luis Colas who defected from Cuba is headed for The Show. Colas is a left handed pitcher, an outfielder and a first baseman.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the radio play by play talent for the Oakland A’s and can be heard on KIQI 1010 San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

San Francisco 49ers Playoff podcast with David Zizmor: After surprise win in New Orleans will Vikings be a challenge for 49ers?

sfgate.com file photo: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings and Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers greet each other on the field after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the 49ers 24-16

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 The 49ers host the Minnesota Vikings on Sat Jan 11th at Levi Stadium. The Vikings are coming off a win in New Orleans. Can the Vikings come out and surprise the 49ers after what they did in New Orleans?

#2 The Vikings forced overtime on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for a four yard touchdown in overtime on first possession for the win.

Join David for all of the San Francisco 49ers Playoff podcast coverage at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NFL Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: A look at all the playoff teams this weekend

houstonchronicle.com: Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) fights for yards against Tennessee Titans defensive back Tramaine Brock (35) as he makes a first down reception during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Nashville.

On the NFL Playoffs podcast with J Hawkes:

#1 On Saturday AFC Playoffs It’s the Houston Texans hosting the Buffalo Bills the Texans are 2.5 point favorites

#2 The Tennessee Titans are in New England to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Pats with home field advantage are favored by 4.5.

#3 Sunday’s NFC games: Taking a look at the New Orleans Saints led by quarterback Drew Brees will be in Minnesota. The Saints are favored by eight.

#4 Seattle is the slight underdog as they come calling in Philadelphia against the Eagles who are favored by 1.

J Hawkes will take you right through the NFL playoffs each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers preview: Rams Seek Revenge While Niners Need to Get On Track

file photo from 49erswebzone.com: 49ers corner Richard Sherman (left) and tight end George Kittle (right) pose for a selfie with fans

By: Joe Lami

SANTA CLARA — The Niners stumbled in a trap game, yet still, control their own destiny to the NFC one-seed. If they win out, they take the top seed. A loss to the Rams before the NFC West winner-take-all matchup with the Seahawks would give home-field to either Green Bay or New Orleans. Even with a loss this week, San Francisco would win the NFC West with a win in Seattle, thanks to a tiebreaker.

The importance of retaining the #1 seed is crucial for San Francisco. Three of the five 49ers’ Super Bowl victories came when they were the top-seed in the conference.

The good news for San Francisco is they are beginning to get healthier. Both Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams are set to return this Sunday after missing Sunday’s loss. The return of Sherman will be important to get him game time before next weekend’s gauntlet in Seattle. Guard, Mike Person is listed as questionable, fighting a neck injury. Jaquiski Tart (broken ribs) and Dee Ford (quad, hamstring) are listed as out.

The Niners will use this matchup against the Rams to get back on track. San Francisco’s won five of their last eight games against LA, including this year’s week four 20-7 win.

In that win, San Francisco’s defense completely shut down Jared Goff, allowing only 78 passing yards on 24 attempts. The Niners shutout the Rams on third-down, holding them to 0-for-9. The offense was just okay, as Garoppolo threw for 243 yards, 101 of them were caught by George Kittle, of course. Even though Jimmy didn’t throw a TD, he rushed one in San Francisco’s second touchdown of the afternoon.

The Rams have been Jekyll and Hyde this season, looking great at times, beating the Seahawks and Saints, but then getting boat raced by the Cowboys.

Kyle Shanahan mentioned last week about preparing for Atlanta’s Super Bowl. His team didn’t answer, and they’ll face another desperate team this week. LA’s playoff hopes have pretty much gone up in smoke, as they need to win out and pray for a miracle that Minnesota doesn’t beat the Packers or Bears. They hold the final tiebreaker over the Vikings.

His team will need to be ready for everything that the Rams will bring. Todd Gurley has been much more active these last three weeks, nearly totaling 200 yards and three touchdowns. He was inactive when the Niners completely shut down the Rams in week six, expect him to get a lot of carries on Saturday.

Jared Goff is currently fourth in the NFL in passing yards, just shy of 4,000. His 17-15 TD to INT ratio is shocking, however, and can be taken advantage of a hungry 49ers’ defense.

The Niners offense fell back to earth last week, scoring just 22 points. After the best month of his career, Garoppolo finished with 200 yards and a touchdown for a 90.3 rating, the lowest in the last five games. It was also the second-lowest in the last eight weeks. TLDR, Garoppolo has been one of the best QBs in the second half of the season.

If the Niners can contain Gurley, and get to Goff, like they did four times already this year, they should be able to slow down LA’s offense. Meanwhile, their defense is susceptible to the run. Breida only had four carries last week, while Raheem Mostert had 14. Mostert’s been excellent these past few weeks, giving the Niners a multi-headed monster in the backfield.