San Francisco 49ers: Elite No More as Niners Humbled by the Minnesota Vikings

Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IISeptember 23, 2012

The 49ers lost their first game of the season 24-13 to the Vikings.
The 49ers lost their first game of the season 24-13 to the Vikings.Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

All the brash talk coming from the NFL this week had been how the San Francisco 49ers were the best team in football.

Undefeated in the young season, the 49ers contained the Packers and last year's league MVP, Aaron Rodgers, in their opening Week 1 win at Green Bay.

In Week 2, the 49ers held the duo of Matthew Stafford and Megatron, aka Calvin Johnson, in check to pick up their second win on the season. Two impressive wins against two playoff teams from last year.

With Minnesota next, the 49ers looked like they could pencil in an easy win against the Vikings. After all, this was the same team that needed a last-second miracle just to tie against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1.

Easy win? Yeah, not in today's NFL.

On Sunday, the 49ers never led, not one single time.

From the opening drive to the end, the 49ers were out-muscled, outplayed and outscored by the jumpstart Vikings, who scored on a 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line to take a 7-0 lead.

The 49ers defense was tired, worn out and abused all day by the Vikings, who scored a rushing touchdown when quarterback Christian Ponder ran in from 23 yards out after an all-out blitz by the 49ers.

The team the entire NFL considered to be the top squad in the league proved that it has a long way to go to be considered elite.

Elite teams don't melt against a team that won't make the playoffs, especially on the road. For a Niners squad coming off a high, Sunday's loss was definitely a huge slice of humble pie.

The Vikings demolished the 49ers and did what they wanted at will on offense. Every single time it seemed the 49ers where threatening, the Vikings would make a stop or force a turnover. On Sunday, the 49ers had three turnovers, including Alex Smith's first interception in more than than 220-plus passing attempts.

When the 49ers closed to within four points, the Vikings marched right down field and put the game away.

A second TD pass from Ponder to tight end Kyle Rudolph iced the game 43 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The 49ers now have to prepare to go cross-country to New York and play the Jets next Sunday. In the meantime, the 49ers can only hope this loss was a wake-up call that no team is to be taken lightly.