49ers vs. Vikings: Live Score, Highlights, Analysis for NFL Week 3
Update: Jared Allen Beat Joe Staley, Strip-Sacks Alex Smith
The Vikings All-Pro defensive end strip-sacked Alex Smith, getting the football back for Minnesota. The Vikings were then able to kneel on it and officially close the game out. The 49ers will fall to 2-1 and the Vikings will improve to 2-1.
Update: Toby Gerhart Fumbles For Third Time
In an unbelievable turn, Gerhart fumbled for a third time, recovered by the 49ers. San Francisco's offense will again take the field, still down 11 with under two minutes left and no timeouts remaining.
Jim Harbaugh Keeping Game Alive
At this point, Harbaugh is dragging the game on by throwing challenge flags, of which he does not have because the Niners already used their timeouts. Clearly taking advantage of the replacement refs, the 49ers head coach has not yet given up. Unfortunately, a loss seems inevitable for the team.
Update: Alex Smith Picked Off, Vikings Win
Alex Smith's 9-game streak (245 passes) of not throwing an interception comes to an end after Vikings defensive back Josh Robinson picked off the 49ers quarterback. That will seal the deal, giving the Minnesota Vikings the win, evening out both teams in the NFC at 2-1.
Update: 49ers Back On Offense After Toby Gerhart Fumble
The 49ers offense is back on the field after the defense recovered a fumble by Toby Gerhart. The 49ers are still down two scores (11 points) with under 3 minutes remaining and no timeouts. A comeback appears less than likely.
The Vikings Close It Out
Time is winding down and the Vikings are continuing to stay balanced and move the chains. With Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, Minnesota has kept this last drive alive -- keeping the ball away from the 49ers. San Francisco has been forced into using their timeouts.
While Jim Harbaugh may still be thinking win, it looks like all the players have lost their spirit. This is a tough, tough loss for the Niners and a huge wake-up call.
Update: 49ers Offense Goes Three-and-Out
With under 7 minutes left in the ball game, San Francisco's offense went three-and-out. It was three straight passes, including a drop by Vernon Davis. The Vikings will probably look to run some clock here, using Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart to close this one out.
Donte Whitner Drops Sure-Fire Pick-6
On third down, the 49ers came with a jailbreak blitz, and a pressured Ponder threw over the top, in and out of the hands of Donte Whitner. The Vikings were happy to punt instead. This was another opportunity missed by the 49ers to change the tempo of this game.
The 49ers Offensive Struggles Continue
San Francisco is not playing with any sense of urgency, down 11 points in the 4th quarter. The wide receivers are not getting open, and the Niners are running the ball way too much at this point. It's understandable that they want to maintain balance, but they need to start throwing and establish a rhythm passing -- that's the only way they are going to get themselves back in this game.
The clock is ticking and it's looking bleak for the 49ers.
They do not seem to be playing with the same heart that they usually enter each week with. It seems that the Vikings killed their spirit early and the 49ers never got it back. A comeback at this point does not seem to be in the cards.
Michael Crabtree Must Come Alive
In last week's game against the Detroit Lions, Michael Crabtree suddenly came alive late in the game when the 49ers needed to put it away. The Niners need their starting receiver to step up here and make some big plays for the passing game.
The 49ers Defense Holds
San Francisco's defense forced a punt after the turnover. There are still double-digits remaining on the clock in the 4th quarter, so theoretically, the 49ers could climb back into this one. San Francisco needs to show some life offensively, and do so immediately.
The drive will start from their own 20-yard line.
Update: Minnesota's Ball
The Gore fumble is confirmed -- it is Minnesota's football.
San Francisco Is Tanking This Game
While Minnesota did show up today, and they deserve much credit, the Niners are clearly not helping themselves. From the coaching, to the on-field performance and basic fundamentals, the 49ers have shot themselves in the foot, over and over.
This is the most uncharacteristic game San Francisco has played under the Jim Harbaugh regime.
Frank Gore Fumbles
On the first down on this drive, Frank Gore fumbled. The play is being reviewed, but the ball clearly came out before Gore was down by contact. This should be Minnesota's ball.
Update: Kyle Williams With Another Big Return
Following the Vikings touchdown, kick returner Kyle Williams returned another one for big yardage. The 49ers offense will start at midfield, thanks to Williams' special teams contribution. Williams has 160 return yards today.
Scoring Update: Ponder to Rudolph Connection, Good for Second Time Today
Inside the 49ers red zone, Ponder delivered a huge touchdown for the Vikings, throwing to tight end Kyle Rudolph in the back of the end zone. It was the second time these two connected for a score today. The touchdown gave Minnesota a commanding 24-13 lead in the 4th quarter.
The Third Quarter Comes to An End
This game got taken over by the refs in the third quarter. Certainly some questionable calls that extended the drive for the Vikings, who are now in striking distance, inside the 49ers 5-yard line. We are ready to start the 4th quarter. A TD here by the Vikings would spell bad news bears for San Francisco.
Christian Ponder has had a surprising amount of time to throw this game. He has not been pressured, which is a testament to his offensive line, and yet a surprise given San Francisco's personnel and credentials.
The Vikings are currently driving on the 49ers, well into 49ers territory. If San Francisco can limit them to a field goal, they can keep it a one-score game.
The Vikings are on offense, leading by four, as the 49ers are inching back into this one. It's still the third quarter with plenty of time for this game to go either way. But the Niners have made some adjustments to allow themselves to get back into this one.
If San Francisco can put a halt to Minnesota's drive right here, it could further shift the momentum of this game.
Scoring Update: Smith Throws First TD of the Day to Davis
San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith pull to within 4 points after being down two scores. The Niners engineered their best drive of the day, capped off with two great plays by Vernon Davis.
To set up the 1-yard score, Smith dropped one right over the top of Davis, who got his feet in, right before going out at the 1-yard line. The Niners showed their jumbo set on the next play, having Minnesota thinking they were just going to pound it in, but play-faked and went over the top of the defense to a wide open Vernon Davis.
This play was identical to -- if not the same play -- the 49ers used to score against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.
49ers on the Move
San Francisco is beginning to establish a tempo on this drive. They are moving the ball with a balanced attack. They're play-calling has also improved on this drive, revealing some more creativity and change-of-pace. The Niners need to cap this drive off with a touchdown as they near the goal.
Alex Smith and Comebacks
Let's not forget that with Harbaugh, they have put some pretty miraculous finishes together already. The notables have been against Seattle, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans. And some of these games have come down to the nitty gritty in the 4th quarter. Smith is capable of putting something together, but the play-calling needs to be stout.
The 49ers are currently driving down the field now, so they can begin to make an impact right away. It's almost midway through the third quarter, with San Francisco still down two scores.
The Cold Hard Truth
It's pretty disappointing for the Niners who could not capitalize and a tremendous opportunity provided to them by Kyle Williams. The 49ers return man set up a great scoring chance, but San Francisco wilted in the red zone. 90-plus yard returns don't happen all the time, and when you're down multiple scores, it would have been nice if the Niners could have taken advantage.
It was an opportunity to shift the momentum of the game and they could not seize the moment.
Scoring Update: David Akers FG Adds Three to 49ers Score
The 49ers drive stalled inside the Vikings red zone and San Francisco was forced to settle for three. These are last year's issues affecting this team today. The Niners hoped to eradicate the red-zone woes, but it continues to haunt them. Instead of being down 17-14, the 49ers are down 17-6. If Minnesota can continue to hold the Niners to field goals, they have a good shot of holding their lead until the end of the game.
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