Who Deserves Most Blame for San Francisco 49ers' Embarrassing Loss to Vikings?

Brandon Alisoglu@@BrandonAlisogluCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 23:   Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers hands off the ball to Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers against the Minnesota Vikings at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 23, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

After beating the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, there weren't many conceivable scenarios that included the San Francisco 49ers losing to the Minnesota Vikings. But that's exactly what happened.

The NFL likes to remind us every once in awhile that "Any Given Sunday" is more than a movie.

After such a stunning loss, there is more than enough blame to go around, but these fellows are at the top of the list.


The Defense

Through the first two weeks, San Francisco survived on stingy defense and opportunistic offense. Since the offense wasn't likely to produce such numbers each week, the defense would have to continue to shut people down or force numerous turnovers.

Against the Vikings, it did force a couple turnovers, but it didn't shut down Minnesota when the game was on the line. 

On the most important drive, Minnesota was driving in response to a 49ers score that closed the gap to 17-13. Instead of keeping the game within reach, the Niners defense gave it away by committing three stupid penalties to help the Vikings advance downfield. 


Alex Smith

If you aren't going to be Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, you can't turn the ball over. That was the deal if I was going to believe that Smith was a good quarterback. 

Smith didn't live up to his end of that deal. He threw for 204 yards but also had a pick and a fumble. 

Like I said, either put up a lot of points or don't turn the ball over. It's that simple. 


Jim Harbaugh

Whenever a team commits untimely penalties, that falls back on the coach. His squad lost discipline, and it ended up costing San Francisco the game.

The other reason he lands on this list is because he abandoned the run.

Frank Gore finished the game with a 5.3-yard average, but was only given 12 carries. I understand that they were behind most of the game. However, Smith was ineffective and the lead was never prohibitive enough to justify so few carries.