The San Francisco 49ers had the opportunity to start the season 3-0, but due to two costly lessons, they left Minnesota with a loss and a 2-1 record.
You could make the argument for a third lesson as well, but for now let's leave it at two.
For the 49ers, the first costly lesson was on the offensive side. The 49ers had the ball after the Vikings punted. Given the circumstances, Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Raye and quarterback Shaun Hill should have done a better job recognizing the situation.
With the 49ers getting the ball back with just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, they needed to at least get a first down. The Vikings still had all three of their timeouts.
So, the playcalling was way too conservative, especially on the road. The 49ers ran the ball twice with Glen Coffee. He managed to get them to a third-and-six situation. At this point in time in the game, with the Vikings using their timeouts, this would have been a perfect time to use Vernon Davis or even Isaac Bruce on a throw, so the 49ers could hang onto the ball.
Instead, they ran the ball with Coffee, who did not pick up a first down. This, in turn, gave the ball back to the Vikings with no time outs. They had to drive 80 yards, so you'd figure the 49ers would be able to make the stand, but it didn't work out well.
Here's the costly lesson for the 49ers: when playing a prevent defense, never allow a receiver to get behind you. Well, Mark Roman got beat by Greg Lewis who made a tremendous catch with two seconds left for the game winner.
I do realize that Roman may have lost his footing, but he was able to push Lewis as he was making the catch. If Roman just bumped him a little bit harder and used Lewis's momentum to his advantage, it would have been an incomplete pass and the Vikings would have had one last chance to try for the end zone from 32 yards away.
For the the last lesson learned it's the fact that you can't keep giving teams chances because eventually they will take advantage of the mistakes. That's what happened with the Vikings.
The 49ers ran the ball on third-and-six didn't get the first down. They were forced to punt and give ball back to Vikings. Mark Roman allows Lewis to get behind him and find an opening to make the tremendous catch to win the game.
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