Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Final grade: B
The Vikings defense came up big against the 49ers playing their best game of the season, coming up with two huge turnovers in the fourth quarter and three total in the game. The defense only had one three-and-out on the afternoon, but they came up big after a 94-yard return had the 49ers starting inside the 10 yard line to open the second half. Limiting San Francisco to a field goal was a huge lift for the Vikings.
The defensive backfield is coming together with Antoine Winfield having a steady game, and A.J, Jefferson and Josh Robinson making some plays to help turn back an offense that came into the game ranked ninth in scoring.
Linebacker Chad Greenway had a huge day with 13 tackles and two sacks. The defense played well with plenty of delayed blitzes causing problems for quarterback Alex Smith. The defense will have plenty of challenges in the coming weeks to prove that they are an improved unit over last season when they allowed the most touchdown passes in the league.
Fourth Quarter: A
The Vikings defense finally recorded two things many people have been looking for—a sack credited to Jared Allen and an interception by a defensive back. Third-round draft pick Josh Robinson came up with the pick when Smith overthrew Michael Crabtree with two and a half minutes left in the game.
The Allen sack resulted in a forced fumble that was recovered by Brian Robison. The two turnovers were big in stopping any chance of the 49ers coming back in the game. The defense closed out the game allowing the fewest points on the season.
Third Quarter: C
After holding the 49ers offense to only three points in the first half, they surrendered 10 points in the quarter. On a positive note, after a huge kickoff to open the half the defense held San Francisco to only three yards and another field goal.
The second time the 49ers had the ball they were able to drive 86 yards on nine plays for a touchdown. The defense continues to give up large chunks of yards. They will need to come up with a stop in the final quarter to preserve any chance of the Vikings winning this game.
Second Quarter: B
The defense allowed the 49ers to complete a 13-play drive to open the second quarter that resulted in the a field goal, the only points the defense allowed. The fewest points an opponent has scored against them in the first half this season.
On their next drive the 49ers were able to put together another sustained drive with an 11-play drive. Only a blocked field goal prevented the 49ers from scoring.
Still, based on points allowed, the defense has come up big when needed and kept San Francisco out of the end zone.
The defense still needs to find a way to get off the field a bit quicker.
First Quarter: B
The Vikings did something they have not done in the first two games of the season—they held the opposition scoreless in the opening quarter. Still, the 49ers were able to convert two of three third downs in the quarter.
Linebacker Greenway and rookie safety Harrison Smith led the defense with tackles for loss to keep the San Francisco offense in check.
The only thing keeping this grade from being an F is a 55-yard field goal to put the Jacksonville game into overtime. Against the Colts, the defense couldn't stop Andrew Luck from driving 45 yards in 23 seconds for the game-winning field goal. Jared Allen is without a sack, and the defense has yet to intercept a pass.