49ers 20, Vikings 3: Grades

SANTA CLARA – Here are the grades from the 49ers’ 20-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

COLIN KAEPERNICK: B. Managed the game. Completed 17-of-26 pass attempts (65 percent), turned the ball over zero times, committed no delay-of-game penalties and took just one sack. This is how Kaepernick must play for the Niners to win.

RUNNING BACKS: A. Reggie Bush left the game with a strained calf in the first half, so starter Carlos Hyde had to carry the entire offense. And that’s what he did. He carried the ball 26 times for 168 yards (6.5 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns. The way he ran tonight, he seems like he could finish the season with 2,000 yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS: C. The leading receiver was Anquan Boldin, who had four catches for 36 yards. Receivers were an afterthought in the passing game. Actually, the entire passing game was an afterthought. Boldin made his biggest contribution as a blocker on Hyde’s first touchdown run.

TIGHT ENDS: C. Vernon Davis dropped a pass, but he made a crucial 20-yard catch in the second half to help put the game away. And the second-best receiving tight end was Garrett Celek, not Vance McDonald. Celek had three catches for 40 yards, and McDonald had just one for five yards. Both players played extensively. The Niners’ offense is built around tight ends.

OFFENSIVE LINE: A-. The left side of the offensive line created much more push in the running game than the right side of the line. But both sides held up in pass protection.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A. Helped limit Adrian Peterson to 31 rushing yards on 10 carries. Nose tackle Ian Williams was particularly dominant, shutting down Peterson’s runs up the middle. Without the threat of a running game, the Vikings’ entire offense fell apart.

LINEBACKERS: A. NaVorro Bowman was the 49ers’ best run-defender. And he was so good, the Vikings never established a play-action passing game, which was the only way they could have attacked Bowman and the Niners’ defense.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: A. Antoine Bethea made a beautiful play in the end zone breaking up a deep pass intended for Mike Wallace in the first half. Teddy Bridgewater’s pass was perfect, but so was Bethea’s coverage. He made the catch extremely difficult for Wallace, who dropped the ball. This was a turning point in the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Jarryd Hayne fumbled the first punt he received and got benched in the first half. Bruce Ellington returned a punt for a touchdown, but it was called back due to two separate blocks in the back.

COACHES: A. Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini couldn’t have been much better – his defense held the Vikings to three points. Mangini’s play calls were perfect. Each blitz seemed to come precisely at the right time. Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst performed well, too. He kept coming back to the plays that were working (like stretch zone runs to the left), and he kept rolling Kaepernick out of the pocket – exactly how Greg Roman should have been using Kaepernick the past two seasons.

This article has 332 Comments

  1. uh…that Bethea pass defended in the endzone….even a homer fan can’t deny we got away with one there.

    hmmm….I think the Niners like that zone stretch play.

    1. looked like Wallace pushed Bethea first to create space, then Bethea definitely interfered. Glad it wasn’t called, receivers get away with murder… but any Vikings fan was pissed on that no-call.

      I love all the stretch runs (zone blocking, what a concept!), something Gore could never take advantage of since a DT could beat him to the edge. It pairs well with Kap’s running ability as he threatens the backside end and LB which creates a good cutback lane if the D over-pursues the initial action.

  2. This is how Kaepernick must play for the Niners to win.
    When the o line is dominating and the run game is working. Is that how he needs to play if those things aren’t working?

    1. What exactly does that mean, When the o line is dominating and the run game is working. Is that how he needs to play if those things aren’t working? Isn’t that how a team is successful? Everyone doing his job, and executing the game plan? I hope you’re not looking for Brady or Manning like performance from Kaepernick, expecting him to put the team on his back. He’s not there yet, but with his work ethic and desire, I think it will come. Maybe not this year, but perhaps next….

        1. Razor,
          He’s just mad that Summers Eve rescinded their sponsorship of him. The team is built to run the ball. That is their formula. His comments reached the DS94 level a long time ago. I’m sure he’s well liked by co-workers and family, even if his permanent placement at the kiddie table would seem to indicate otherwise.

  3. So…Mangini schooled Norv…..and Grant ; )

    Also, not really into arguing grades but out of curiosity:

    The Tight end had 7 receptions for 92 yards (more than 13 per reception), which accounted for more than half of the passing game.

    And their block were also a big reason the running game was so sucessful.

    And Vance McDonald’s hustle prevented the TD after the FG block.

    So what is the reasoning for a C grade?

    1. I agree! Pretty hard on the tight ends and they were good work horses tonight! Other than that, I like the grades grant!

    2. I’ll say it. That’s a little to deep of an evaluation for Grant. He looks at the raw numbers, then he looks at Vernon Davis’s performance and goes, meh, it’s a C grade because Vernon didn’t go off and have a huge game. Very small thinking.

        1. Yes he did, but his numbers weren’t eye-popping. I’m simply pointing out Grant’s flawed analysis. Having a solid all around game, without gaudy stats, is a little too deep for Grant. All 3 of our TE’s played well. Vance Mcdonald ran down a 175 lb cornerback to save a TD on the blocked FG. Celek showed off his good hands, and Vernon made the plays he had to make. All 3 looked good as blockers, particularly VM who is simply a blocking machine. Wow that kid can block.

          Don’t try to figure out the logic in Grants grading system. Personally I would give the TE’s a B+.

          QB: B+, managed the game beautifully, made plays with his feet. Never forced a pass, and stepped up in the pocket while keeping his eyes down the field. Definate growth from CK7. 5-0 under the bright lights of MNF to start his career is worthy of praise!

          RB: A+, two words, CARLOS HYDE! “El Guapo” was indeed a handsome man. Look up ‘complete RB’ in the dictionary…..Hydes picture should be there. He has it all and this new blocking scheme fits him like a glove!

          WR: B-, no big plays, but no big drops. Anquan looks strong as ever. I’d like to see Ellington involved more, but 13 personnel, which we saw a lot of in the first half, doesn’t allow for it. So that’s a scheme thing.

          OL, A-, and probably the biggest, and most pleasant surprise of opening night. A couple holding calls aside, the OL was stout in the stretch zone schemes, opening up holes for Carlos on nearly every play. Pass protection was more than adequate, and a huge upgrade over what we saw last season. Of course, a lot of it has to do with scheme. Getting Kap out of the pocket on designed roll-outs is one of the most appalling oversights Roman made the last 2 season. A really amature, mind-blowingly dumb, and inexcusable oversight on GR’s part!

          1. I think the OC ran a great scheme to mitigate the weak right side of the line. Running 3 TE and putting two on the right side helped the pass protection and run blocking but limited the use of the WR downfield. I think as the O-line gets more comfortable and develops farther they will begin to open up the offense more. This was a good game to get everyone comfortable. First time the starters have all played together.

    1. I agree completely. Grant is determined to only see the negative with Hayne. Oh, and Ellington wouldn’t have made 1 yard on that return if it wasn’t for those illegal blocks in the back.

      1. Banjax, even as the blocks happened Dilfer pointed out that they had no effect on the return. If you watch it again, you’ll see the first one was very iffy. It looks more like two guys fighting for position, and then falling down.

    2. well, during a preseason game, hayne called for a fair catch and grant went nuts over that fact. turns out hayne was asked to take the fair catch! we should always check with maiocco for some real facts. grant just likes to end his write-ups with a flourish, and his articles suffer as a result.

      1. I agree with the sentiment he was benched. He misplayed the punt and had the 49ers lost this game, Hayne would be the story line.
        It would be surprising to me if Hayne was active next week. Ellington is the better returner, Mike Davis is a better runner, and if the calf strain is not serious, Bush will play.
        Hayne was active because the NFL makes money from that decision. This is a business. First and always foremost.

          1. Circumstances made him the back up RB. I believe he had 6 plays after the fumble. He wasn’t fielding the next punt after the fumble. It’s simple accountability. It happens in the NFL. Instead of being upset a popular player was benched for a play (the next punt) be proud that Tomsula held him accountable.

        1. Exactly, he wasn’t benched. He was in there for several punts after. One punt was horrible and went way out of bounds. He also made a nice tackle in coverage on special teams.

    3. Yeah little bit of prejudice showing from Grant there…. and he did return the next punt after the dropped one….. it was just called back for a penalty.

      You can’t risk 2RB….. mind you…I’m still buzzing from 1RB… from the off… 9yds…9 yds…. to rack up that set of numbers without a 70 yard run in there was something special. Lets hope it wasn’t just a piss-poor run defense…..

  4. I thought Marcus Martin played great tonight. 21 years old his future is bright. Nice win and on to the next one. Hyde is special. Line played well but I wouldn’t call it dominant. Great win fellas enjoy it.

      1. Hey Allan. I thought Pears did a pretty good job and Devey is far better than Silberman. All in all not a bad performance, but they could still do better.

          1. Seb,

            Glad to hear your man enough to admit you were wrong…Since I get my info. and simply report it from Las Vegas Oddsmakers, or official NFL Magazines, I’m not wrong, they are.

            Niners bought some time to become more polished in the passing game.
            NICE WIN NINERS!

            1. Tommyboy,
              Can you show me where Vegas and NFL Mag predicted a 52-0 blow-out win by the Vike’s?
              Looks like the odds makers love putting their proverbial foot in their mouths (lol).

              Last night’s 49ers win must have been painful for you tommyboy, but I’m sure you’ll live to see another day.

        1. Yeah, all in all it was better than expected (which isnt saying much).
          Pears doesn worry me much because he is a known quantity: solid but unspetacular.
          Devey is a wild card but was good enough for this game.
          But I foresse tight end help a lot on the right side.

      1. Yup razor. For those of us that have been here all off season long know who those people are. Speaking about that. Where is TomD and Nick at? I just wanted to hear there thoughts.

    1. Hyde=Elite. They don’t call him the handsome man for nothing. “El Guapo” is the epitome of a complete back! He’s got the feet of a much smaller, 199 lb RB. He can EXPLODE through the hole, and has the vision. and now patience, to find the holes. He’s got the speed to get around the end. And he is a bruising, punishing runner who looks to lay the wood on defenders. And all of that adds up to a running back who can feest on the new run schemes, ala Redskins Alfred Morris,except Hyde is a little bigger, considerable faster, and even more physical!

      Niner die-hards, let me ask you now: Would you rather have an aging Frank Gore on the team, as much as we love him, taking carries away from the young stallion like last year, or was it time to move on, considering a talent like Hyde, the future bell-cow, waiting in the wings, frothing at the mouth to let loose?

      Keep in mind, Frank Gore bowed out of the Colts game at halftime, with 31 yards, due to his muscles tightening up and cramping. A tell tell sign of an aging athlete who’s body no longer respond the way it once did.

      Look, we all love what Frank gave us over the years. He will go down as the greatest RB in 49er history. He was a special player who has a love for the sport and a savant like ability as a bell-cow RB. But, as a GM, it’s imperative that you not get caught up in nostalgia, and that move towards younger players when the veterans are past their prime. It’s better to let a guy go a year to early, than hold onto him for a couple years too long.

      1. Frank Gore is NOT the best RB in 49ers history.

        Roger Craig is the best. Frank Gore stayed in San Francisco for at least 1 year too many. I’m glad he’s gone.

        1. I loved the high-stepping, Roger Craig. He was a key component during our dynast years. But, a lot of his success was due to the WCO, and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Nobody had an answer for the 49ERS WCO during Craig’s prime years, so he had that advantage. Frank Gore, IMO, was more talented. He saw more 8 men in the box during one season than RC did during his whole career. I can only imagine how good Gore would have been if he were the featured back during that time.

          1. Gore won how many SBs? I mean, Gore demanded to be the focus of the Niners offense for as long as he was on the team. He demanded it last year, when there was a CLEARLY superior talent waiting to explode onto the scene. Blame GRo and Harbaugh all you want, but Gore would get petulant if he wasn’t getting on the field enough.

            1. E
              What do super bowls have anything to do with who is a better running back?? A.Peterson has won 0 SB ditto for BSanders and Jim brown. However LBlount and J Starks were RB for SB winning teams. Whats your point?

              1. Keep reading down the post. The point is, Gore was a crutch that kept the 49ers from operating an efficient, diverse offense. He was a ball-hog, and a me-first guy dressed up as a team-first guy.

                Roger Craig played with the best QB in history, under the best coach in history, and with the best WR in history, so I understand what you’re saying, but I find it far-fetched to consider Gore as better than Roger Craig, who was the first RB ever to reach 1000/1000, and helped to redefine the position into a model that Marshall Faulk perfected.

                Oh, and yeah, I’d take Marshall Faulk over any RB in the history of the NFL, except for Bo Jackson.

  5. I know that this is just the first game of the season but where are those five reasons for the NINERS to lose the game Grant? I think that you’re a NINERS hater and a Riders lover so why don’t you go and write for the team you love and leave the NINERS blog for somebody else… I’m just saying….

      1. Grant isn’t paid to like a team or not, if anything if he wants to be considered professional he has to take his heart completely out of it (either with liking or hating).

        Im no Grant defender, but you have to be pretty dumb if you think writers are “Fans” of the teams they write about…

        1. But Grant’s disdain the the 49ers makes him an un-objective (if that’s a word?) writer. That’s the problem. He doesn’t have to love the team he covers, but his hate is a stain on his blog. Bleacher Report won’t allow the obvious bias, that’s why Grant’s BR work is far superior to this blog.

  6. Actually Hayne didn’t get benched. He was in at punt return after his first fumble.
    What happened is that Bush got injured, and Hayne was then the primary backup at RB. As insurance better not to risk him in the punt return.
    Practically Hayne moved to 2nd RB, while Ellington moved to PR.

  7. Rocket, oh, Rocket, where are you?

    Just kidding (probably), there’s a long way to go, but tonight was a good start.

    I wonder how those who predicted six wins or less are feeling about now?

    1. Wait for the first four games. If we are 2 and 2 then eight or more wins has a better chance. Last year we did well in the first game too.

      1. I know, but that defense is for real. That wasn’t a fluke or lucky good play. Defense like that will keep the 49erd in many games, and if they can get anything at all from the offense, win a bunch of games.

        BTW, if anyone wants to take under 6 wins, I’ll take any reasonable amount of action.

      1. Rib
        I believe that last years team was less than the sum of its parts (which were pretty good) This year the D looks similarly good and so far the O is more enjoyable to watch. Whether that will translate in to wins remains to be seen. But I believe that Kaep will keep improving and that gives me hope for the season ahead

        1. I put a lot of last years woes on a coaching staff that had clearly checked out. 16 penalties in the Chi game? Ridiculous. Collapse against SD? Pathetic. Losing to the 2 win Raiders? Even more pathetic. York and Balke get their share of hate, but they recognized it was time to move on from Harball

          1. But was it a self fulfilling prophecy? By leaking that JH was gone regardless they made it almost impossible to operate and when in turn the team under performed they canned harbaugh for not winning in an impossible situation

      2. it’ll be tough to know until we go up against a QB that can shred the blitz. We got to Bridgewater a lot with varied pressure, whereas last year we vanilla-rushed 3 or 4 most plays. He never made us pay for sending LBs and Safeties. One play ended and it looked like we had 8 guys in the backfield. None of our guys looked like they could get pressure quickly, but we’ll see.

        On O, it’ll depend on how we do with good DLs. Can we run effectively against the Rams? Or will they penetrate consistently, put us in 3rd and long, and force Kap to throw from inside a collapsing pocket? TBD.

        All I can say is I’m elated with how we played versus what I was expecting. Kap looks better. OL looks better (scheme change helps with zone blocking and 2TEs). D looks about what we expect against a simple, ground-based offense. ST will play much better. Tough schedule this year, but 1-0 is a perfect start

    2. I predicted winning more than 4 games would be a feat. I still think 4 more wins is going to be a feat, but let’s clarify some things here.
      First, you or no one else on this blog were on the field, in the coaching box, or contributing in any tangible way to this win. So, put the pitch fork down and sip that coffee enjoying a win.
      Secondly, the team won in spite of all the turnover. Why are you focusing on the negative? Each week, the season will be harder. This team is going to need its fan base cheering at every game. What they don’t need is someone dividing the base. The NFL adapts quickly. They will game plan for Hyde and for blitzing. Let’s see how SF adapts to it.
      Third, there is nothing wrong with getting a prediction wrong. My prediction sucked. Yet, the best part of being wrong is I have even more elation today that the team won heavy-handedly. I’d love to be wrong every week.
      Still stoked to be wrong.

    3. ex,

      It was a good start no doubt, but this was a game I had them winning when determining what I thought their record would be. Defense definitely played great and the running game was fantastic. I’m a lot more optimistic after seeing that than I was in the preseason that’s for sure.

        1. Ex,

          One week at a time my friend, one week at a time. I definitely liked what I saw in game one, but it’s a marathon; not a sprint.

  8. Grant,

    Your forgot one grade. Grant Cohn: F For drastically underrating the 49ers for how they would play against the Vikings. And yes, I know this is only one game and there are 15 to go. Oh, and by the way, wasn’t it something like “The raiders are doing everything right and the 49ers are doing everything wrong.” After week one, how’s that working out for you? And finally, we’re holding you to it: “If I’m wrong and the 49ers win, I know you’ll go after me and I’ll deserve it. This is how I see it. No apologies.”

      1. No one is happier than I that Grant was wrong in his prediction. That said, his prediction of 23-13 wasn’t THAT bad. I didn’t know what to expect from Chryst and Mangini; did any of y’all?

        1. BT,

          Not that bad!?!?!? Say what?

          He missed by almost four TDs, not to mention, he had the winner wrong. If that doesn’t qualify as a horrible pick, what does?

          He said himself, he should be hammered if the pick was wrong, no excuses, right?

          1. 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing…..lets be honest, it’s all gone better that expected…. journalists pick with their head, fans with their heart. I always felt this was a close one and can say I’m more than pleasantly surprised by this result, but being real, I still see 6-10 as a reasonable season given our schedule. Now you can doubt me and call me a Raider fan but I used to travel from London to watch the Niners, I bet none of you can claim that…. (Bangkok however is a tad far, and I’ve got a wife now…..)

            1. Wrong, I pick with my head.

              Go down the line. Tell me one position group that is better last year than this year, just one. I’ll wait.

              Hint: You can’t do it. The 49ers are better or equal at every position group this year than what was on the field last year. QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DB, OLB, ILB, DL. Pick any of those and try to explain how what was on the field last year was better than what is on the field this year.

    1. For all his talk of “bold” prediction so, Grant was just going with the media herd that were unanimous in their picks for a Niners disaster. Pretty safe, nothing bold there.

      So much for “inside the 49ers” when we can get the same faulty analysis and “insights” from some national media hack in his New York City office.

  9. 1. What a relief. The entire narrative this last week was that the Vikes are an up and coming playoff team and the niners will be lucky to win 6 games.

    2. I loved the situational blitzing. Tart had a nice sack and good coverage on at least 2 plays.

    3. Front seven kicked a$$. I mentioned that our front seven was top 10 if not top five recently and a couple of people dissented. I double down – our front seven is very talented.

    4. Kap took 2 bigish hits. The first was on the sideline and the second was in the middle of the field after not sliding feet first. I get very anxious when that happens.

    5. Carlos Hyde is going to be very good. We need a change of pace back. Bush is too fragile for the NFL. What’s up with hunter? can we bring him back from his phantom injury?

    6. What happened to screen passes to the rbs?

    7. didn’t hear much about former number 1 draft pick ward.

    8. On to the well rested steelers. It sucks that we have to travel east on a short week while they have had 10 days off.

      1. They may need both Davis and Hunter. My guess is Hunter’s IR status will be lifted week 6 and he’s back on the roster and Davis will get plenty of touches. We lost our scat back so who do they fill in for Bush’s receiving yards?

    1. Davis will be that change of pace guy for us. The question is if Bush is out long term do we make room for a Gaskins. Is Hayne’s 15 mins done?

  10. The big men up front are the MVPs tonight. Kap had moreceived time in the pocket than at any point last season. Great game by them.

  11. Grant, thanks for the game grade. I’d change…

    – Wide receivers slight downgrade to C-. Not open very much. They played hard though. Threw blocks. Boldin was his usual tough guy.

    – Tight ends upgrade to B. They threw crunching block after crunching block. VMac wiped out two defenders on a Hyde run to the left. Textbook stuff.

      1. eh……………… I was there. C at best…………..

        There was a decent amount of Vikings fans and some small pockets of unsold seats, but only maybe 60% were on their feet on 3rd downs.

        The vibe will improve with team success, but the 49ers did a nice job of replacing the PA dude w music- albeit they have cranked it up to high levels that even I find a bit loud- and I love loud music

    1. VMac got killed on that seem route where Kap threw to his back shoulder off target. He was really slow getting up. Glad to see he didn’t get injured.

  12. TomD! TomD! Ya out there Tommy? Yeah, great prediction there Tommy!


  13. O R E G O N W H I N E R, where are you? What was that you said about Kaepernicks’ performance on Monday Night Football? Daaa duh, dunh dunh!

    1. Razor…

      I’m here, and to my recollection, I haven’t mentioned Kaepernick’s performance on MNF…but don’t let facts hold you back…

      1. Razoreater September 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm
        Yea, I can’t wait for Kaepernick to show what he can do on MNF….

        OREGONINER September 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm
        I’ll bet this is the last time you say that….

        1. I can imagine that you know every word to Leslie Gores songs….

          Seb….I just don’t respond to your ‘playground ‘ posts

  14. For everyone that was disparaging of the Mangini hire, and like to point out how he wasn’t any good as a DC in his one year with the Pats, here is a fun fact:

    In his last eight games as a DC (including tonight), Mangini’s defenses have held the opposition to 232.5 yards on average, and 11.5 points on average.

    Not bad for a guy that people like to pile on.

    1. I was one, and based on first impressions, I shouldn’t have worried. I liked the aggressiveness and constant movement before and after the snap. There was a lot of confusion for Teddy B.

    1. Thanks Grant. You are burning the midnight oil.

      6 – Ian Williams. Even stuffed middle runs when the 49ers were in the wrong defense and he was fighting a double team.

      7 – The Crowd. They showed up tonight. (Grant or anyone that was there… was this the loudest Levis has been?)

      1. 8. Mangini. I said that Norv was pedestrian. Mangini painted a masterpiece. 1 for 13 on third downs. 5 sacks. It would have been perfect if it was a shut out, but that is being persnickety.

    2. Well well well. Guess it is time for you to eat a big plate of humble pie. I seem to remember you predicted a loss. And this post is not for Grant only.

    3. No, Grant, it’s not “all of s sudden” that CB is a strength. There were plenty of people on here who felt that Brock plus Acker or Reaser > cox / culliver. You, and many others just wouldn’t listen.

      So, what happened all of a sudden is you woke up to what was pretty plain to see all along, that the 49er secondary is better than last year, maybe a lot better.

    4. Loved this quote

      “Expect teams to stay away from him, even though he has played just one game in the NFL. Acker will burn any team that tests him.”

      Quite a bit of hyperbole there, but hey, it makes for a better story and it made me smile.

      I hope you’re right about Acker because the next 6 games in our schedule are tough.

  15. Grant,
    Read your Bleacher Report. Interesting analysis of the Zone Blocking and the sideline to sideline concept.
    Do you think Hyde was this good last year, but he had to wait behind Gore, he runs between the tackles? And the lack of roll-outs, was this something that Roman just didn’t know how to figure out?
    What I do like about the new Niners offense is there seems to be a scheme, not just gimmicks.
    Hyde is the engine, and the multiple TE sets and play-action.
    Does Tomsula get any credit? Even though the team was sloppy, they didn’t play tense. Not sure if Mangini is as good as Fangio but Chryst sure seems like an improvement over Roman!

    1. I think last year Hyde was this good but he wasn’t a fit for the power gap scheme. Remember how many here were upset because he would run into the back of his line men. People said he needed patience. The new scheme plays to his skill set better. Tomsula should get credit for weathering the storm and keeping the guys mostly focused. I think the dumb plays and penalties will improve.

      Pittsburgh has a much better QB, so next week could be tough.

  16. Is Grant’s statement correct about McDonald with one catch for five yards? I thought I remembered a first down catch he made for about 15 yards down the middle; did I get that wrong?

      1. You have to take that with a grain of salt. Ed Hochuli’s crew believes football exists to show off refs knowledge of the rule book. His crew has been flag happy for a very long time.

  17. I predicted a 16-13 win and need to apologize for ‘misunderestimating’ Mangini’s D. I was right about the mistakes by both teams and Kap showing small improvements in his passing game. Wonder what sort of spin the national writers are going to put on this win tomorrow. Niners bandwagon is still welcoming errant fans and assorted doubting Thomases! Onward to Pittsburgh where I expect to see a more productive passing game against a weak Steeler secondary.

    1. A blocked kick, a muffed punt, and all the vaunted Vikings offense could do was score 3 points. This was a stomping by the D.

    2. Take away the non call in the end zone and the score would have been 20 – 10. That’s pretty close. But if you take away TD saving run down on the blocked field goal then it’s a barn burner. A free runner on a field goal is pretty unusual.

      1. Um, that is 2 scores.
        Also, if that PI was called it would not have been a guarantee to score. Remember the 7 play Texans game?

        1. Not pass interference. Wallace initiated contact with brock. Looks like he was trying to push off, then they began hand checking each other.

      2. Coulda’, woulda’ , shoulda’. And if it’s and buts were like candy and nuts, The world would be a merry-go-round!

        Bottom line, the 49ers dominated the trenches on both sides of the the football. This team is alive and well, and poised for another strong season.

      3. HT,

        I thought that was an obvious PI, at first. If you take another look you’ll see Wallace knock Bethea’s hands down first. On the other hand Bethea had more early illegal contact than Wallace did. But Wallace was first. So what’s the call?

        I will say, most times, that’s going to be a PI on Bethea.

        Having said that, take away a muffed punt, take away a blocked FG, take away blah,blah, blah… It can work both ways.

      4. The point is that those calls can go either way. In the past we’ve had some critical either way calls go against us.

        A team might not score from the one yard line but what does that have to do with discussing how Mood_Indigo score prediction can be effected by events during the game that can’t be predicted.

        You guys need to try to stay in context, or I need to work harder to establish the context.

  18. I have been preaching about the controlled roll outs for a while. Glad to see my strategy being employed in a game. Geep and Logan have done a good job.
    I got to see the Sundance Kaep. He finally was allowed to move.

  19. Plenty of surprises week1. Eagles, SeaHawks (hahahahaha!), and I thought Oak would be better.
    Oh, btw, Seattle alone in last place; La Dolce Vita!

  20. Dear Mary,
    Guess you showed your football incompetence by trying to sound somewhat knowledgeable, but actually are so wrong about everything, you sound like the Pats ball dude.
    Sure feels nice to crow about the division leading Niners and pity the cellar dwelling Seasquawks.
    It sure is nice to mention that Jim Tomsula has a perfect record, and a 2 game winning streak as the HC of the Niners, while also pointing out that Cheatin Pete has a 2 game losing streak going, and may have a 3 game losing streak after meeting the Packers.

  21. Just watched the game. And have to say, that was a great way to start the Jim Tomsula era. Loved it! And I am happily eating humble pie for predicting the Vikings would win (amongst other bold and in hindsight poor predictions).

    My thoughts:
    – Its already been said, but the OL was excellent. Actually, not just the OL, the blocking in general. The TEs, WRs and RBs all blocked well too. Sure, there were a couple of penalties, and some plays weren’t perfect, but as a collective that was some whoopin’ the 49ers O put on the Vikings D in terms of blocking.
    – Speaking of a whoopin’, that’s what Mangini’s D gave to Turner’s O, too. The run D was very solid, and the coverage was consistently pretty good too. Great energy, the guys were really flying around the park. But what made it so difficult for the Vikings was the scheme. Really took the Vikings O out of sync. Great job by Mangini. But caution with the excitement moving forward, it may get harder as teams will start to get a book on the 49ers D. What gives me a lot of hope though is the D showed a very good understanding of the D, disguised coverages well, didn’t appear to have any blown assignments (no glaring ones, anyway), and the team was able to create pressure.
    – Hyde was of course great. The blocking was a big reason for his success, but it looked to me like he made a lot of yards after contact too. And he did a great job finding the creases. Could be a big year for #28 if he can stay healthy.
    – The 3 TE offense was a nice wrinkle. I’m looking forward to seeing if that continues to have success moving forward. The 49ers have some pretty athletic TEs, so it should create mismatches.
    – After all the excitement, and the talk about how confident most people felt with him fielding punts, it was almost inevitable Hayne would fumble one. Bad way to start his NFL career, but he’ll bounce back. I hope the team sticks with him as the PR man. But I also thought he did a decent job as the backup RB. If he holds onto the #2 RB role while Bush is injured it may be prudent to put someone else at PR.
    – Those uniforms made it very difficult to ID who was who. But from what I could see it appeared there was pretty heavy rotation of the DL, and quite a few of the DBs got some snaps. I could be wrong, but I thought I saw Ward out there a few times, though not sure what position he was playing when he was on the field (if indeed he was on the field).

    All in all, a good day in the office. Bring on the Steelers!

      1. Yes, if Bush can’t go, Davis gets the nod. And he’s another exciting RB. Very shifty and seems to have the required vision.

        I think it’s about time Trent Baalke gets some credit. His draft strategy appears to be paying off. This team seems to have some depth as well. To lose as many starters as we did this offseason, and to have this much success against an up and coming team on opening night is remarkable. I figured it would take some time for this team to come together. And I figured we see some big mistakes, especially on defense, due to inexperience. What I saw last night was a fast team, stout along the trenches, and very disciplined.

        This GM really has a vision for sustained success and the early returns are very encouraging!

    1. I said previously that Hayne should catch the ball with his hands, instead of cradling the ball against his body. I hope he uses this as a learning lesson.

  22. confirms my believe that fangio was and is overrated.

    imagine in the past if we had similar blitz packages with willis, aldon, justin on the field…..

  23. Could not have asked for a much better start to the season. Alot to be positive about with the coaching and the performance of the players. I was pleasantly surprised by the play calling on offense and defense. Mangini’s blitzes were creative and he called them seemingly at the perfect times. Chryst finally put CK in a position to use his skill set without requiring too many complex reads. I was worried we had Jimmy Raye but we saw a Norv Turner in his prime type of game. It’s not what I expected and that is cause for celebration. Tomsula looks like the anti-Bill Walsh. He looks like he’s a sweaty meatball on the sideline so I didn’t expect such an intelligent use of resources. They still have alot of room for improvement but after 1 game looks like the team is pointed in the right direction.

      1. You’re showing your age with the William Bendix reference and I’m showing mine by getting it. Still I see what you mean. Made me smile.

  24. First off Grant was 0-5 for his predictions so he looks to be in mid season hater form already. “Bowman overwhelmed” buwahahahahaha

    Now to the game. Already love the switch from Gro (who wouldn’t run a sucessfull play more than once if his life depended on it) to Chryst who had a clear plan of attack (stretch play left and roling CK out). I love that they rolled Kaep out and gave him easy throws on the move for short yardage with the possibility of RAC. The motions, formations and misdirection plays all reminded me of 2011 when our O seemed creative. The line held up well and Carlos Hyde was born to run the zone stretch (much more so than Frank was who was more of a traditional I formation back)

    Kaep looked like he is starting to figure it out. I counted at least 4 instances where he threatened the LOS while keeping his eyes downfield and made the correct throw. He was more decisive when to run/pass when he was pressured. Dilfer even gushed about how he set, hitched, re set and finally found his 4th read Boldin. Several nice touch passes and even a few to the backs. CK hit 8 different receivers out of his 17 completions. He only had a few bad throws (missing VD in double coverage, throwing the slant short to Boldin)

    Even after loosing 4 starters, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH OUR D. Secondary looks hungry. Lynch will be a terror if he stays healthy. Front 7 looked dominant and were really sure tacklers. I love that we are more agressive and rather than sitting and waiting (to be picked apart) we force the action by bringing pressure and let the chips fall where they may. Tart will have 4+ sacks this year. My only gripe is that once we get to the QB we have to bring him down. Too many times TB was able to wriggle out of pressure when we had him dead to rights. We could have had at least 4 more sacks.

    Finally i know its only been one game but our D looks like its here to stay. Every single member of our D (except Bethea and Dorsey) is homegrown. Our D line depth looks like it will be an asset and I saw all 5 of our CB play D at one point or another and do a good job. Give Trent Baalke credit for finding those players and our staff for developing them. He might have a blindspot for finding O players (C hyde aside) but his D picks are top notch

    1. expectations must be really low if you were impressed by CK. passing game is gonna be a real work in progress this season

      1. They are what they are. Im not impressed with the finished product just the fact that he seems to be moving in the right direction. Last year he looked like he regressed after 1 game this year it looks like he is applying some of what he learned in arizona. He could still fall off the rails but im cautiously optimistic that he is on the right track

      2. Kap took what the defense gave him and didn’t have to do much more considering Carlos Hyde’s night… That was just smart football on Kap’s part. He’s definitely improved within the pocket and his decision making was excellent.

      3. Whatever you say…. But, I’m impressed. Kap looked horrible last year so the only other route was back up qb. So I’m impressed that he managed that whole game from start to finish. He has never completely managed a game so I’m impressed as f***! My expectations aren’t low but kap is starting anew. He re learned how to be a qb so slow steps and hard work equalls impressed to me..

      4. Well, Kaep helped his team to a 3 score lead, and did not have to throw the ball way down the field when his best option was to give the ball to Hyde.
        They took away the deep ball last game. Steelers will be stacking the box to stop Hyde next game. Kaep will light up the secondary because Steeler DBs are pedestrian.

  25. I gave the Viqueens too much credit thinking they’d score 9 points against us in my 23-9 prediction… I also knew like many other fans that we weren’t going to be as bad as many of these idiot writers thought.

    Great game plan by the coaches and good execution from the players (aside from the dumb penalties). Time to rest up for Sunday, team… Very winnable game if we don’t shoot ourselves in the feet.

  26. The offensive line performed well almost great but not perfect. Zone Blocking was fabulous and Hyde took advantage of the seams. Hyde was literally picking and choosing his gap on top of that he changed up on his gaps and moves down field making him unpredictable as designed. Hyde will quickly become the best offensive player on the team and the new face of the unit. Aldon Smith who is he again? Remember poise and polish, well the 49ers have a new shining albeit rebuilding team. From the top down well done all.

  27. Hyde looked great and even this die-hard Gore fan is ok with the passing of the torch

    very pleased to surmise that the problems with play calls in the last few years seem to be a function of the Harbaugh-Roman process, not something inherent in remaining personnel. this is huge because those penalties were momentum killers.

    thot Kaep looked very good and especially glad that he kept looking downfield as he was scrambling toward the line of scrimmage

    the next opponents will gameplan to try to stuff Hyde and I’m concerned that our QB-WRs arent showing great chemistry for a variety of reasons. and we seem to be carrying a TE who is an underachiever in pass catching. but time and the harsh strictures of the NFL will prove everything out one way or the other.

    very glad to be 1-0!

  28. Well, I wrote yesterday I would not be surprised if he 49ers won but I was prepared to see a loss. So, I am happy that my mental preparation as for naught. That was a nice win.

    Some thoughts:

    I expected Mangini’s defense to be good. Anyone who bothered to look past the surface could see he had an excellent defense in New England in 2005, at least when everyone was healthy.

    I expected Hyde to be effective but not as good as he looked last night. However, I think it is worth mentioning that it was clear the Vikings had not schemed for the style of running game the 49ers brought to the game. Hyde’s job will be more difficult as teams get film on him in this offense. I beleive he is up to the task, but I think it best to temper expectations a bit here.

    Kap looked good overall, albeit still not entirely comfortable with the passing offense. As was noted above, it is a work in progress. He showed some nice incremental improvements, which build on the improvements he showed at the start of last year (but then inconsistently thereafter). If he can consistently maintain the improvements, I think he will grow comfortable with the passing offense and it will start to run more smoothly. One thing I really liked last night was that the ball was spread around – I think that bodes well for the offense once it is in sync.

    Special teams were mixed. Hayne should get better (and I thought he was serviceable as the number two running back), but if Bush is available next week, I would not be surprised to see Hayne inactive and Davis active.

    1. It was a very professional win for the 49ers…I receive my news from national magazines and Las Vegas..sThey were way off the mark.
      However, the Niners can use this time to polish their passing game a little more…Still nice opening win, however, be prepared for the remaining teams to have some film on you now, 49ers, then to stack the box….For Now, 1-0 atop of your division!

      1. Hmmm, you were the one that wanted to trade Kaep for Tebow, and predicted they would lose 0-52.
        You sound like you are a different person.

        1. As I stated, I receive my news from National publications and Las Vegas, dutifully reporting most items found for the readers on this website.

            1. And I will feel free to rip you for your fallacious comments. Still haunting me, I see. Just expect what you deserve, I plan to dish it out big time.

      2. “I receive my news from national magazines and Las Vegas.”

        I thought this juncture was a good point for a reminder that what comes out of Vegas is not ‘news’ and is of marginal use as a predictor of wins/losses. But rather than recreate prior posts I have written about the nature of how the house sets the line, and how the line changes thereafter, I am going to repost the one I think is the most succinct (from Nov 5, 2014, http://49ers.pressdemocrat.com/49ers-doomed-play-calling/)

        Betting lines are set by the house based on what they think will minimize the house’s chance for loss. Thus, the initial line is set not so much on prognostication of the game but on loss management strategies. Or put another way, the line is set by professional gamblers (the casino) not football analysts.

        A vital component of understanding the line is to know that after the initial line is set, the line is determined by the action (the bets placed) not the house. Many people seem to think that the casinos have experts who adjust the line based on analysis and information. This is not true. Once the initial line is set, the house adjusts it based on which way the bets are placed – in other words, the line is adjusted by the action of professional and amateur gamblers who are betting on the game, not football analysts. All the line is good for is to show a prospective bettor what gamblers believe to be the less risky bet.

  29. I wrote this last night, but I think it bears repeating. Kap added a new powerful weapon to his arsenal last night. There were multiple times where he passed when it looked like he was going to run. He has not done that very often in the past. He also did some pump fakes off of this. This new weapon will freeze second line defenders preventing them from just going after him until he gets past the line of scrimmage. As much as it pains me to say this, it’s similar to what RW does for the Seachickens and for someone with Kap’s running abilities is a much needed addition. I expect this to be particularly effective on 3rd down.

  30. Replay of the game coming up at 9am on NFL Network.

    Carlos Hyde was the obvious offensive MVP and not sure but my impression is that Ian Williams was the defensive MVP. Need to check him out. Saw him spilt numerous double teams last night. Gonna watch him closely.

    The 49ers played with a lot of energy last night. Took me by surprise. They showed a lot of moxie. The schedule is extremely tough. If the Niners can get to their bye week with four or five wins it would be an accomplishment. Steelers, Cardinals, Packers, Giants, Ravens, Seahawks, Rams and Falcons. Thats a meat grinder.

    1. I don’t know, but when I see that lineup of opponents after watching last night’s demolition of the Vikings, I see the Niners with favorable chances of beating the Steelers, Cardinals, Giants, Ravens, and Falcons, with the games against the Packers, Seahawks, and Rams being toss-ups.

      This is not the Harbaugh Niners team that was made to look foolish because G-Ro couldn’t adjust in-game.

  31. I said that Kaep needed to get the ball into the hands of his play makers, and he did exactly that. Glad he showed good judgement and kept safe.
    He also impressed me with his toughness. He got blown up on the side line, and popped right back up. If I got hit that hard, I would still be down.

    1. Well chosen play Seb,

      It looks like the 49ers have something to work with. However, that defense and running game can not carry you past the New Englands, Seattle’s , Baltimores, and Ram’s always and forever…Teams have film now and can stack the box forcing Kap to stay in the pocket…Nice win for now, time to go back to work…Good Job 49ers.

      1. TD
        Glad to see your opinions evolving. I hope the team continues to deserve it, and that the national media can come lagging along behind.
        It’s just one game, but it seems like a very decent start. This is a mostly young team, and I think this start will aid their confidence.

        1. BT,

          Grant missed his pick by almost 4 TD’s, not to mention he got the winner wrong. Were you being sarcastic when you said it wasn’t that bad of a pick? An inquiring mind wants to know.

          1. Ex
            No, not at all.
            The first game of every season is the hardest to pick. I wasn’t surprised that Grant or anyone else would pick the Vikes in that game. The Offense in preseason was endemic, what did we have to go on? In that regard, a 10 point spread didn’t seem to me to be excessive.
            I knew SF could win, but I wasn sure they would win; hence the pass I give to Grant on that one. Are you in Cfc’s Pick’em League? I’m not this year, but it can be humbling. That’s my rationale.

            1. No, I’m not in the pool. It’s tough picking games, even without the spread. Having said that, there’s no other way to spin it, a four TD miss is a bad pick, IMO.

              1. Ok, Ex, I get your criteria. I just think that picking week 1 is like driving into a fog. For that I tend to allow a larger margin of error.
                By the way, I meant enemic, not endemic.
                So before the AD and then AS departures, I thought 9-10 wins was very possible. My doubts grew after that as the offense didn’t show much, and I revised to around 8-8. I just didn’t see the evidence yet to be more hopeful. Now I do.

  32. We will see how good the defense is when the Niners travel to Pittsburg. Very impressive first game. Too many damn penalties.

    1. I could not understand why the media dudes were hyping LMJ, just because he is available after getting cut. Niners have Davis, who was inactive last game.

    2. I thought it looked like they rotated the DL and DBs a fair bit, but was hard to tell for sure with the black jerseys. As suspected, the 49ers used their DBs a fair bit.

      1. Tomsula said they would all be used, but Reaser wasn’t. Given all the TC hype, the good preseason play, why wouldn’t they bring him in to play defense. I wonder if there is something else going on.

  33. Grant, here is one Niner fan who wants to dish you up a big serving of humble pie. In a previous post, you said you would be happy to be proven wrong, and I hope you can take your medicine with a smile.
    I know you were tamping down expectations, but you were wildly incorrect. I hope you and many others can admit your mistakes. Niners are back. Tomsula looks like the real deal.

    1. Sportswriters are like good DBs. Burned on the previous play? Don’t dwell on it – put it out of your mind and focus on the next one.

      1. No, he should deal with it like a man, or many posters will keep bringing it up because they have long memories. Like the Niners, he needs to learn from his mistakes.

        1. Seb,

          While that’s a nice sentiment, Grant has never learned anything from his many misfires, why expect him to start now?

          1. I am hoping Grant will quiet the waters and admit his predictions now look kinda foolish. He might also see my posts, and unless he bans me, I will chide him relentlessly until he does.
            He also stated that he would happy if he was wrong, so I just want him to be happier.

    2. Seb,

      Please calm down Seb…Good win 49ers…we get it. But no points scored by either team in the first 29 minutes does not bode well at home. Especially when faced by upcoming road games vs. the 12th man, the terrible towel (Pitt), Desert Swarm (AZ), and a NYG team that choked away a game to a possible SuperBowl team in Dallas.
      Throw in a tough Raven team at home, with game film available on Kap, and it could be a recipe for 8-9 men in the box vs. the 49ers, forcing a passing game only.

      1. Know your history Seb

        Remember, when teams forced Kap to stay in the pocket with the above strategy, Kap failed miserably…The question is, if Kap can carry a team when the opposition resorts to this strategy, which they surely will, not humble pie for Grant. Save the pie for the games aforementioned.

      2. Funny how you transformed from full troll to a somewhat reasonable poster.. Dont worry, I have a long memory. and you are archived.

      3. I don’t think 8-9 in the box is the answer to stopping SF. The team has VD and TS to keep teams honest. Fundamental tackling, shedding blocks, and early leads is how you beat a running team

  34. Nice game for the Niners, although the offensive play calling and special teams sucked in the first half. Wasn’t that VMac who let that guy in to block the field goal try?

    I hope this was a learning experience for Chryst. In the first half the starting drive — although it ended poorly — was amazing, fueled by Hyde’s running. Then, they changed their focus to passing and bogged down, a pattern we had seen that so many times under Roman. The second half was entirely different, of course. Hopefully, they now realize what they have in Hyde and their ZBS, and will ride it as far as possible.

    Kaepernick does look better, but, man, he is the most frustrating Niner starting QB I can remember. When he threw that short pass to Boldin into the ground, I totally lost it. How many more times will promising drives be stifled by his inaccuracy? It seems to me that his basic flaw is his ability to handle pressure. When Hyde was on the move, Kaep executed his job reliably. Hyde makes Kaep a better QB. The coaches have to get into the mindset that the star of the offense is Hyde, not Kaep, and scheme accordingly.

    1. One other thought: I hope they use Mike Davis to spell Hyde as opposed to Hayne. Imagine how tired the opponent’s defense will become having to chase both Hyde and Davis through their backfield.

      1. Good thought George,

        Davis was a solid draft pick. If you type in, Mike Davis 2014 season highlights on youtube, it’s amazing how similar he is to F. Gore–his twin.

        I can’t wait for the Niners to do as you suggest.

    2. Boldin would be the first one to admit he should have caught it. Granted, it was low, but it hit him in his hands. It was a very catchable ball.

          1. Seb

            You need to evaluate your absolute inability to hear any criticism of Kaep. Keep pointed at himself after that poor throw, taking responsibility for missing it. It’s on film. You can look at it yourself. Just like you could have seen Kaep make eye contact with VD on that pre-season, 34-yard run that got so much play on this web site. Both were on film, but your blindness to any criticism of Kaep makes you look foolish. Be realistic. Keep had a really solid game last night, and made some great decisions, as well as some great throws. VD flat out dropped an easy catch, and a couple of other passes should have been caught too, but the one to Boldin was not one of them. He could have caught it, but it would have been a stellar catch, one that bailed Kaep out of a bad pass.

            Montana was the best ever because every pass was delivered in the perfect place at the perfect time in the route. Same goes for Rodgers now. No other QBs that I have ever seen have had this talent. Keep has the physical tools, and I believe also the drive, to reach that high bar, but he needs to work on it, and not accept less. You, his most strident supporter, should also not accept it. He doesn’t. He blamed himself for that incompletion.

            1. I may defend him, and I know he has the right stuff to admit that he should have thrown the ball better, but it did get to AB and if you had asked AB, he would have been forthright and stated that he should have caught the ball.
              I do not like the criticism of Kaep “Learning to be a QB”, and dissing him for one bad pass when I saw a new Kaep who had nice touch on the ball, and made the right decisions.
              Second guessing is easy. Try completing a pass when some 300 pound guy wants to rip your head off, and you may be distracted too.

              1. Ahem,
                Did you know that every QB in the league faces the same pressure? Did you know every other QB is expected to climb the ladder, make the reads?

                I’m happy that Kaep shows signs he may be “getting it.” It also shows how much he has to work on.

              2. Its week one. Everyone is rusty. Did you expect Kaepernick to be polished in a new skill set he has never used in his entire football career?

                I thought there was dramatic improvement in his mechanics but overall he still needs work. Add the fact that Geep’s play calling was dialed in, Id say the offense looks pretty good. Torrey Smith was a non factor as was all the WR’s.

                This is a good sign of things to come when you compare Greg Romans offense to this new offense.

            2. E,

              Like any fan, you come to realize that Seb is the posterboy for the word (fanatic), or its root, fan, concerning all things Kaepernick. Seb can not take even the slightest factual evidence given by professional NFL analyst, Greg Cosell against Kap…
              I attempted to enlighten the fans with Las Vegas odds and National pulications on this site, extrapolated their info. into a final score and Seb went ballistic, along with the followers that worship at the altar of Seb…
              However, Seb has a weakness, along with his lapdogs, they are Raider fans trying to trade many of our players…I actually caught Seb engaged in a trade, suggesting we trade players to his raiders…If you need Grant’s article for verification I can post it.

              1. Seb is not Bay Area Fanatic.
                While he may share the love affair for Kaep like Fanatic, he hasn’t really been abrasive or insulting.

              2. I do not believe Seb is Bay. He lacks Bay’s malice.

                Bay seems to be posting on NinersNation under Bayareafanatic1.

              3. Tom the best thing to happen on this site is that Bayareafanatic and his welcher friend 23 Jordan are gone. No more drama. Just football, just like your 2015 San Francisco 49ers. Gotta love it.

              4. Hey those two kept it real and was attacked racially and personally by prime and others. I didn’t always agree with what they had to say, but I couldn’t blame them either. It went back quit a few years and for hose who came later didn’t get the whole rivalry thing. Another way Alex smith drive a wedge with niner fans. Speaking of others who disappeared. Where’s Claude?

              5. “Kept it real”….seriously MD? Those two clowns, especially bay, were the most unintelligent, ignorant, biased members of this forum. Good riddance.

              1. Your hit man was easy to identify with his Raiders hat. I simply had my security team eliminate him….

    3. @George,
      star of offense is a bit misused. They both need each other. CK carried this team on his shoulders in the past. A running game helps everyone. Seattle was nothing until Wilson made the plays needed. Vikings and the best running back in this generation will be nothing until Bridgwater makes plays.

  35. This was the most enjoyable Niner win since the games at Detroit and Philly, back in 2011.
    Congratulations to Jim Tomsula and his villagers. They were doubted for nine months and written off…while the season is long and there are areas to improve on, for one night, the Niners reminded those who gleefully predicted a blowout win for the Vikings that the reports of their demise might just be a tad premature.

    1. More so than the Playoff game over New Orleans? More so than beating Green Bay in Green Bay to start the 2012 season? More so than the win vs Atl to go to the Super Bowl?

      1. Yes.
        Remember back in 2011, it had been a while since the Niners had won a road game in the Eastern time zone….an unproven team beat the then 5-0 Lions and the Eagles dream team, without even a full off season.
        By the time the Saints came to the ‘Stick the team had figured out how to win games, especially close ones.
        This year’s squad is on a similar journey, largely unproven both coaches and players, learning how to win.

    2. I liked the 89 Chicago playoff game. Everyone and their cousin were picking the Bears because of the inclement weather, and thought the Niners were sissies for living in mild sunny California.
      Then the Niners crushed them 28-3.

  36. The game looked like a team operating under the direction of one of their own, much like when Mom and Dad run out and leave your brother in charge.

    This isn’t a knock on Tomsula. It’s the opposite. He is an excellent delegator.
    Credit Chryst for playing to the strengths of the talent. Eric Mangini coached like he’s been there before.

    Moving forward, Tomsula’s managerial style will lead to some tough times ahead for him personally. Right now, his team loves him. You can cut and paste what they are saying about him and insert “Harbough” at the beginning of his coaching career.

    Tomsula feeds off being likeable. Sometimes as the manager, you have to make unpopular decisions and the locker room is going to hate you for it. We saw glimpses of that with twitter and cuts. (Sure you can say T Smith wasn’t talking about football.)

    It is going to get exponentially harder each week as more game film is amassed and teams start game planning for what SF is doing successfully. The biggest positive I saw last night was this team made halftime adjustments.

    At some point Tomsula will be the bad guy and the real test for him as a coach is how he responds to that. He might take a page out of Pete Carrol’s coaching book and make his team leader, (Bowman) hand down condemnation.

    If nothing else, Tomsula, Chryst, and Mangini put some excitement into looking forward to Pittsburg.

    1. “At some point Tomsula will be the bad guy”

      Yep, right after his 1st lost. The media will make him the bad guy. Unless this theam losses 10 + games, no way Tomsula will be the bad guy with his team.. Oh and as for the insert harbagh here comment, you can say that for every coach in the NFL, that’s not on their last leg

    2. I beg to differ. Coach Tomsula is the perfect coach for this team, and he is leading them, through thick or thin.
      He does not need to delegate unpleasant tasks to be respected. It would give the opposite impression if he shirked his duty.
      Coach Tomsula is a man, and he may not be gentlemanly at all times, but he speaks the lingo. He is not leading a popularity contest. He is leading the San Francisco 49ers.
      He has taken on all of his duties, and he stood out in the Aldon presser because that was his job, even if it was not a pleasant task.
      I am so proud of him.

        1. Back at ya. I really like this site because of the many knowledgeable posters, and we can be wrong and admit it. I was wrong about the score,but at least got the right winner.
          It is nice to disagree without being disagreeable.

    3. You troll doubters are hilarious. I’ve taken a lot of pleasure in reading yours guy’s comments the past 12 hours. You guys are completely lost and trying to cling on to any negative bit you can find. And since you can’t you start prophesying about what bad things will happen…. lol. …. just hilarious.

      Thanks for the laugh guys.

    4. Matt,

      It’s just one game. One they won! Who say that happening! And then you start looking at the film, like they say on Greg Cosell’s show. Teams will see that the Niners have a very good defense. The secondary is probably the best it’s been since 2010. Reid and Bethea are solid.
      Linebackers don’t miss Borland, maybe Willis a little.

      Offensive Line played well.
      WRs still don’t impact the game enough.
      TEs look solid.

      KAEP is a game manager! I’ll take it. He still has one ugly ass delivery but if he’s asked to just throw 25 times, much like last year and the year before, then that seems to be the way to win.

      HYDE. That. Dude. Can. Run. I thought he was good last year. He looks more dangerous than Lynch because he runs fast and hard. He gets around the edge in the Zone Stretch play and he can take it to the house. He almost did it on the 15 yard run but somehow a DB took him down with almost a horse collar type tackle.

  37. OK here I go. I was wrong, I was wrong, holy crap was I wrong and boy did I enjoy being wrong. Now I would like my fellow wrongsters [TomD and Grant among others] to stand up and admit [for at least this week] that Seb and Razor among others showed that they possessed superior football knowledge to us. Come on boys you will feel much better if you do. Now I don’t know about Tom but i do know that Grant will never admit to having inferior football knowledge if only for one week.

    1. You sir, are a gentleman, and I look forward to your posts.
      Takes a big man to admit he was wrong, but you had lots of reasons to be skeptical.

    2. Being wrong predicting a win/loss is no shame, especially for a team with roster turnover, new coaching staff and new offensive and defensive schemes.

      I did the weasely noncommittal thing, predicting both teams are evenly matched, but the score would be lopsided no matter who won. In other words, exactly what you would expect in a Monday night game involving a team with so much change.

    3. Old coach,
      I think most knowledgeable fans were very anxious about this first game under Tomsula. Most of us realized that the F.O had assembled a talented and deep roster, and the coaching staff had sufficient experience and intelligence. But the question in our collective mind may have been whether it would all come together under the glare of a nationally-televised game against a solid opponent. I think few fans predicted the blowout that it turned into by the end of the game. I, for one, didn’t.

    4. OC,

      It’s not the prediction of a loss that’s the problem, it’s the way the prediction is delivered. IMO, you don’t even need to mention your prediction, much less apologize for it.

    5. Great post! I have to admit I was expecting a Vikings win. I’m optimistic, but still a bit cautious seeing as it’s week one. Still, great win! Coaching staff showing some real change. Now it’s time to see if they can keep the preparation up to par, and respond when teams counter their schemes. I’m especially interested to see how they match up to the rest of the division now. Rams and Seahawks gave us headaches during the harbaugh era.

  38. I expected to wake up to read a bunch of boy I ws wrong blogs and see TV sports shows, but nope, of course the hatas was saying you guys only beat Minnesota. After they all were saying the niners have no chance the Vikings are the up and coming playoff pick, blah blah Freaking blah!!! Grow up world these boys are young, fast, hungry, and ferocious!! Way to Man The F*** Up Niners!!

  39. While the few Oldcoach credited take a few minutes to bask in their well earned lime light, here is some more good fortune. SF faces Pittsburg as their star runner Bell is suspended. They get to play Az without Ellington. Packers without Nelson. Baltimore without Suggs. Seattle after Seattle faces a very physical Panther team.

      1. If the 49ers manage to make a wildcard spot. It would be like a super bowl appearance. And I’m not kidding. With this offseason? I’d take a crushing loss in a playoff game in a heartbeat

    1. Matt, that’s the NFL for ya. Last year when the Niners had 21 guys on IR or out no one cared for them. It’s part of the game. No one felt sorry for us! Next man up.

      1. It appears as if there was a breakdown in communication. The premise of the post, tough schedule focus on the positive. Try not to be so negative. Not everyone on this blog is looing for a fight or vindication.

    2. Matt, are you sure you are a niners fan. I could care less what players a team is missing. Just as CK said no one cut the niners any slack for all the people we missed. Plus, this is the NFL. Backups wait daily for their chance to shine. Just because certain starters are means very little. It is not like the Steelers are missing Big Ben.

  40. After playing a Monday game starting 7:20pm, the 49ers get to fly 3,000 miles to play a 10am game vs Pittsburgh… a team with ten days rest.

    Welcome to the Har-bowl 2.0.

    The NFL schedulers clearly considered the 49ers a throw-away team. A wildcard, to move around to resolve scheduling binds that might result in lower ratings.

    The good news… The run game was so good, the defense only played 54 snaps. The 49ers are a a young team, with a no-excuses coach that will use the schedule as a motivating factor.

    Own it, fix it, move on.

    1. Sounds like Coach Tomsula was ungentlemanly in the locker room during halftime about all the penalties. In the second half, I think they had only a couple penalties.

  41. Some random observations:
    The big change in the Niners offense seems to be going from physical and deliberate tempo to physical and up tempo. To quote Everson Griffen: “We’ve got to give it up to the 49ers. They came out and played a fast physical game. We were tired out there.”
    Conversely, watching Eagles get back into the game using their hurry-up offense indicates how valuable Niners D line rotation and versatile back field will be against such teams.
    Hyde had more yards after contact (over 70) than the Niners averaged per game on the ground last season (about 50 yards).
    I can’t remember the last time a Niners RB had more yards than passing yards.
    Niners used the 13 personnel grouping for more than half the offensive snaps. That really helped out the O line.
    As has been pointed out in this blog, Chryst does not appear to mind repeating successful plays. I recall Bill Walsh saying (something to the effect) that once a weakness in a D is found, it should exploited repeatedly until the other side makes an adjustment. This was one my frustrations with Roman. He would inexplicably abandon a successful line of attack.
    Niners D took about 20% fewer snaps than last seasons’s average.
    Acker got a chance to gain confidence. He will be tested much more in the next three games.
    Great game by Ian Williams, another valuable Niner UDFA acquisition

    1. I concur. I remember last year, when the Niners played the Cards. They started out with the hurry up, scored 2 TDs, then did not do it again for the rest of the season.

  42. Great team win amongst all the critics out there saying the 49ers would be one of the teams to struggle this year. But with the formula they used last night, its a proven way to win. You don’t a high aerial attack to win in the NFL.

    Too many accolades to mention that everyone has talked about but one guy who I thought was exceptional was Jaquiski Tartt. This guy is the real deal back there.

    1. Seb,

      Stacking the box in Pittsburgh nex week, with a noisy crowd could result in false starts against the 49ers.
      Rothlesberger had 351 yards passing
      Pittsburgh held Brady to 288 yds passing, and their back, Lewis to 69 yards. Logically, it’s hard to do both. Usually a defense gives up big yardage in the pass or the run…i.e., the 49ers will have to be on their passing game against a team that yardage wise, shut the Pats run and pass down!

      1. Without a doubt one of the biggest surprises was the speed in which the Niners were calling plays. They didn’t change formations that much. Almost always a 3 TE set, and they ran the same play and the Vikings couldn’t do anything about it.

        This will help the Niners when they play SEA. Where the clock was always already down to 5 secs and they Niners need to do so much shifting to help Kaep get the read he needed.

        They really simplified the offense so this will help get better.

      2. TrollD, I am getting a little annoyed with your posts. You are almost as bad as HT., but at least I consider him a worthy opponent.
        You, on the other hand, have very little football knowledge and used to predict insane scores like 0-52 and propose ludicrous trades like Kaep for Tebow. I consider you beneath contempt, and will not further engage except to hurl insults at you.
        Now, for some strange reason, have done a 180 and are cheering for the Niners.
        I still consider you a troll, and am not buying your conversion. Stop pestering me, or I will really start getting angry. Dont engage me, and both of us will be happy.

  43. The 72 Dolphins had the “No Name Defense.” Since its impossible to see the numbers on those black uniforms, should we start calling our D “The No Number Defense?”

  44. I didn’t see a lot of the game with having to travel. Nice sack from Tartt, are they bringing Wilhoite out in that package? Was he on the field a lot?

    1. I had a hard time seeing who was in the game because the black uniforms obscured the numbers. My fuzzy internet stream didn’t help much.

  45. Huge props to the staff for moving Boone to LG. All those runs to the left setup the play-action roll out to the right … where Kaep was freaking money.

    1. Logan’s big on a fullback oriented play that has gap-scheme blocking to the left with the fullback picking off the linebacker… while the center, RG and RT seal off backside pursuit blocking zone.

      If Logan has any pull, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few non-zone runs to the left just to change things up. Staley, Boone and Miller can do those blocking assignments in their sleep.

      Gotta give Bruce Miller something to do. He only had 11 offensive snaps last night.

  46. The one thing I didn’t like about the D… rushing only one man just before the half.

    Too many opportunities for the QB to kick back in the pocket and heave the ball where he thinks the best PI opportunity is.

    1. Yeah. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that before, and I didn’t care for it either for the reasons you’ve mentioned.

      1. I’ve seen it before, but for mine, I’d rather have two guys wide nine rushing with a center piece. If you can’t defend with eight on the back end, forget about it. I like the one man rush when the opponent is much farther back on the last play….

        1. Also, when there are several extra DBs, there’s the chance of confused assignments and tripping over fellow DBs.

    1. Mr. Hammer:
      What stood out to you most?
      Kaep as game manager
      Tomsula’s coaching style

      The team really didn’t face a lot of adversity. Once Hyde ran it in for the TD before the half — Game Over. Before that TD, it was a sloppy pre-season game!

    2. Hammer

      Two questions:

      1. Have you a link to the 11-win prediction article? Love to read your rationale.

      2. When can we expect your next piece to arrive, and will you please link it here?

      Thanks. Hope your offseason was pleasant.

    3. I predicted 11 as well. Something interesting to note. I placed a couple of bets a few weeks ago. I put $500 down to win the division and got 17/1 odds at Palazzo. And I put $200 down to win the superbowl @ 70/1 odds. Immediately after the Viking game, the division odds went to 8-1 and the superbowl odds went to 33/1.

      VEGAS KNOWS…..

  47. You don’t even deserve to give out grades due to how much you trashed the Niners in the offseason and gave us ZERO chance of winning this game.

    Screw all you haters!

    1. San Francisco- 248 yds/game
      Pittsburgh——–361 yds/game

      However, Pittsburgh was on the road…Combining the elements, foreign weather, sightlines, crowd noises, etc., and extrapolating the above numbers you get an even game next week vs. the home team Steelers.

  48. Grant I just finished your Pops column from todays PD. He seems to be starting a new love affair with both Tomsula and Mangini. Do you now share his warm feelings?

    1. is this the way to write after a 49er win. You’d think you have just won a superbowl.
      The 49ers won a game. I posted stats for the upcoming Pitt game.

      Seriously, chill out

  49. Recap of game at Niners Nation written by David Neumann


    His comments about Kaepernick:

    “If you paid much attention to Trent Dilfer during the broadcast, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking Colin Kaepernick was a revelation in the pocket. Dilfer was so effusive in his praise of Kaepernick — who worked out with Dilfer-protégé Dennis Gile during the offseason — at times for what often turned out to be negative plays, that you question what he’s going to do with that tape in the privacy of his own home. Outside of one or two plays, the reality was much different.

    Dilfer frequently referenced how San Francisco’s new offense under Geep Chryst was unleashing the Ferrari that is Kaepernick’s athletic ability, but in practice Kaepernick might have never been more caged. Chryst relied heavily on play action rollouts that got Kaepernick away from the chaotic confines of the pocket and set up easy throws to tight ends over the middle, playing off Hyde’s success on outside zone runs on early downs. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Kaepernick went 12-of–14 for 114 yards on play action compared to 5-of–12 for 51 yards otherwise.

    There’s nothing wrong with setting your quarterback up with some easy throws, but you have to be able to complement those plays with throws downfield from the pocket, especially in key situations. Almost every time the 49ers needed Kaepernick to drop back and find a receiver downfield in a clear passing situation, he failed to deliver, frequently struggling with footwork and accuracy. There were one or two notable exceptions, particularly a 3rd-and-14 conversion in which Kaepernick stepped up nicely in the pocket to avoid pressure and eventually hit Vernon Davis at the end of his progression and nearly gave Dilfer orgasmic convulsions. But plays like that were far from the norm. It will take a close look at the coaches film later in the week to determine exactly what was going on, but the early returns on Kaepernick’s performance aren’t good.”

    1. Overjoyed at 1 win 49er Fans:

      It’s great they won…But it’s only one win…However, your degeneration into name calling those who simply posted stats, Las Vegas Odds, National publications, and went out on a limb to extrapolate those numbers into a 49er loss such as I , does not mean we’re any less 49er fans than you are…We’re fans also. But this is where the disconnect is. By “keeping it real,” and restraining our emotions over 1 win we get labeled as anti-niner….As KNBR’s Ralph Barbieri used to state: “2 things can be equally true.” In this case the 49ers could be mediocre on offense and the Vikings, an overrated team by the media…Temper your enthusiasm fans. The Vikes could not stop a one-dimensional 49er team that could not pass.

    2. I don’t know about anyone else, but I found Dilfer’s constant praise of Kaep really annoying. But he did highlight some moments where he did a good job of going through his progressions, which has been an area of considerable angst for 49ers fans. I think he did show some positive signs of growth as a QB against the Vikings.

      1. After all the holes in Kaepernicks’ game having been thoroughly plowed in the off season, I found it quite refreshing. I would concede it did get over fertilized, but that might be a byproduct….

      2. Dilfer was over the top for sure, but that Niner Nation critique was off base. I saw Kap miss two throws he wasn’t trying to throw away, both on 3rd down. Bad passes no doubt and they ended drives, but the complaints should be directed to the play calling if he didn’t like it because that was the game plan. Three TE formations and moving pockets as often as Chryst called them aren’t looking for long passes downfield. The plan was to be extremely physical on offense and they did that.

        Kap showed a lot of growth in his pocket awareness. The game plan was extremely conservative, but that shouldn’t take away from the improvements made to that area of his game. He repeatedly kept his eyes downfield and went through progressions which is what his detractors say he can’t do. He still has some things to work on including consistency with accuracy from the pocket, but he definitely looked like he learned a lot from the offseason work.

    3. I think that has always been the issues with Kaep the Ferrari. When he does something well, it looks amazing. And then you realize he’s not doing all these other things, the routine stuff. The simple things. We jump up and down because he stopped and saw Vernon Davis and passed the ball to him on a broken play, and then we all scream in unison, “Hey! He’s learning! He’s not trying to be a hero!”

      What’s the context of his game? The Niners were ahead. This is a new look offense that no one has any tape on.What if he was behind Kaep has to go back and rely on being a pocket passer, can he do it?

      When he HAS TO MAKE THAT THROW, does he have the confidence that he can? because if Chryst is rolling him and using play action to get him the looks, then that means they don’t think he can do it the conventional way.

      It’s a new season and that’s the next step: See if he can be an effective pocket passer.

  50. Grant, in your research, do you just read stats or do you also absorb the performance merits while watching the game? For example, you seem to think Celek outplayed Vance McDonald. Maybe in catching, true. But, Vance surprised everyone with his grit and toughness in blocking as well as his TD-saving sprint and tackle after a field goal was blocked. Dilfer even commented on the power of Vance’s push-back block. Of all 3 tight ends, he is the biggest reason the run game found open lanes.

    1. VMac had his best and worst play at the same time.

      Bad – He whiffed on a block which caused the field goal to get blocked

      Good – Already 10 yards behind, he ran down the safety who was taking the blocked football in for a TD.

      Think about it… at the combine he measured 267 lbs. Pumped 31 bench press reps. And he had the speed to run down a DB that had a head start. This is one reason why Baalke’s so patient with his slow pass catching development.

      1. Brodie,

        I disagree with that. McDonald took the outside man across from him on the FG attempt. The player who blocked it jumped through the gap between McDonald and the OT who was also engaged. The Vikings exploited a hole in the Niners blocking scheme.

        1. After the game they showed some film clips of Tomsula and how he expressed himself during the game. One of the clips showed Tomsula ripping into McGaughey. Are special teams’ coaches responsible for the lining up and blocking scheme of the OL?

          1. Cubus,

            Yes it’s mainly on the STs coach as far as alignment and blocking assignments during FG attempts. The Vikes saw they could exploit that side if they overloaded it.

  51. Just listened to Greg Cosell. I will not castigate him anymore because he actually said 3 phrases. He said that they should Play to his strengths, Maximize his potential and Utilize his abilities. Every single word I wrote before.
    Greg still wants Kaep to improve his pocket passing skills to be a complete QB, but when he said my words, I absolved him of any ire and wish him well.
    It took this game to demonstrate his intangibles, but he destroyed Cosell’s thesis that Kaep cannot be elite until he becomes a pocket passer. Those controlled roll outs, and hitting the single coverage TE, were textbook. Kaep’s threat to run just made Hyde’s job easier.
    Kaep has mobility to avoid rushers, and can buy time to find the open receiver.
    Utilizing those skills just made the Niners unstoppable, unless they shoot themselves in the foot with avoidable penalties.

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