Do you want to know why the 49ers lost today to the Vikings? They were abysmal on third downs. (And, yes, Brett Favre’s game-winning TD fling came on a third down.)
Defensively, the 49ers allowed the Vikings to convert 50-percent of the time (10 of 20). And, offensively, the 49ers were a staggering 0-for-11 when faced with a third down. If they convert one of those third downs, they win the game.
After the 49ers took the lead, 24-20, with 8:12 remaining, the offense got the ball back twice and could not close the deal. Glen Coffee had five carries for minus-1 yard, and Shaun Hill had an 8-yard completion on a third-and-17, as the 49ers had two three-and-outs.
I spoke with 49ers center Eric Heitmann, an eight-year veteran, about that topic after the game: