NFC Divisional: 49er D Repels Vikes, Propels to NFC Title Game
So there the Minnesota Vikings were ...
- basking in the Santa Clara sunshine,
- fresh off a solid upset of the New Orleans Saints, and
- without any damn bye week to slow their momentum.
Turns out the San Francisco 49ers would do that all by themselves, to the point the Vikes probably wished they'd had a bye week.
Not the way the Niners went about their business.
Led by a defensive effort that made the term stout seem too soft of a description, San Francisco justified their top seed by thoroughly and totally trouncing Minnesota, 27-10.
That was the flashiest stat, but other standouts included:
- A 38:27 to 21:33 time of possession advantage because
- Dalvin Cook was held to 18 yards on 9 carries, and
- Kirk Cousins West Coasting it to a 21-29 passing game but only gaining 172 yards.
When the outcome was theoretically still in doubt, one of those passes landed in the hands of Richard Sherman:
Dude's an OG in CB years, but slingers need to be on their game more than Cousins was if they're gonna beat him.
That was the only time the Vikings tested his island, and being real, it was the disastrously wrong time. The resultant short-field possession led to a house call, a 24-10 lead and basically ...
Along the way, when San Francisco wasn't stopping Minnesota, the Vikings were stopping themselves:
The Niners didn't really need to do anything spectacular because their o-line was manhandling Minnesota, too. Their longest run from scrimmage was 11 yards by Tevin Coleman, part of his 22-carry, 105-yard workout.
Fun lovin' Jimmy Garoppolo was a mere 11-19 for 122 yards because that'll all he had to be.
As legendary play-by dude Keith Jackson used to call them, the Big Uglies managing San Francisco's trenches carried them to the club's first playoff victory in six seasons.
Not bad for a crew that finished 4-12 a year ago.
And looking the part.