49ers vs. Vikings playoff live blog

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) warms up before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SANTA CLARA — Here is the live blog for the 49ers’ divisional playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings. I will update this with information and analysis from the press box.

12:15 Here are the 49ers’ inactices:

  • LB Azeez Al-Shaair
  • RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
  • WR Jordan Mattews
  • DT Kevin Givens
  • TE Daniel Helm
  • CB Dontae Johnson
  • QB C.J. Beathard

This means Dee Ford is active.

12:17 Here are the Vikings’ inactives:

  • S Jayron Kearse
  • DT Hercules Mata’afa
  • DE Eddie Yarbrough
  • WR Alexander Collins
  • G Dru Samia
  • T Olisaemeka Udoh
  • T Aviante Collins

12:19 Check out this video I took during pregame warmups:

1:35 The 49ers win the toss and defer. The Vikings will receive the opening kickoff.

1:37 On third and eight, Kirk Cousins throws the ball high and out of bounds because no one is open, and the Vikings go three and out. Great start for the 49ers’ defense. They held Dalvin Cook to two yards on his first two carries.

1:44. On first and goal from the three-yard line, Jimmy Garoppolo throws a touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne, the 49ers’ secret weapon. The 49ers lead 7-0. Jimmy Garoppolo completed five or six passes for 57 yards. His one incomplete pass was a drop. He doesn’t seem to have the playoff jitters in his first playoff start.

1:53 On third and two from the 49ers 41, Ahkello Witherspoon gives up a 41-yard touchdown catch to Stefon Diggs. Game tied at seven. The Niners must bench Witherspoon right now. He’s not ready for this game.

2:07 On first and goal from the Vikings 36, Mike McGlinchey reacts late to the snap and gives up a sack to Danielle Hunter. Two plays later, McGlinchey commits a false start. The 49ers will punt when the second quarter starts.

2:13 Arik Armstead sacks Cousins on first and 10 from the Vikings 12-yard line. Two plays later, the Vikings go three and out. The 49ers get the ball at their 47-yard line after an 18-yard punt return by Richie James.

2:27 On second and goal from the 1, Tevin Coleman dives into the end zone for the touchdown, and the 49ers lead 14-7 with 7:10 remaining in the first half.

2:32 On third and 9 from the Vikings 44, Cousins completes a three yard pass to Kyle Rudolph, and the Vikings go three and out. The 49ers get the ball at their eight-yard line after the punt. With the exception of Witherspoon, the 49ers defense has been dominant.

2:39 On first and 10 from the 49ers 19, Garoppolo telegraphs a pass to Deebo Samuel, and Erick Kendricks picks him off. Vikings get the ball at the 49ers’ 29.

2:46 On third and 11 from the 49ers 17, Dee Ford sacks Cousins for a four-yard loss. The 49ers defense has given up just four first downs, and Witherspoon gave up three of them. The 49ers lead 14-10.

3:02 The 49ers get the ball to start the second half.

3:10 On third and 2 from the Vikings 17, Garoppolo throws the ball away instead of passing to Kyle Juszczyk who was wide open in the end zone. Garoppolo never saw him. Robbie Gould makes a 35-yard field goal and the 49ers lead 17-10.

3:16 On third and 9 from the Vikings 36, Richard Sherman intercepts a pass intended for Adam Thielen. Sherman seemed like he knew what play was coming. Afterward, Nick Bosa committed a 15-yard penalty. Niners get the ball at the Vikings’ 43.

3:22 On first and goal from the 2, Coleman runs for a touchdown. The 49ers lead 24-10. The 49ers ran the ball eight times and passed it no times during that drives. The Vikings look like they’ve played two road games in six days. They’re gassed.

3:28 On third and four from the Vikings 34, Cousins throws an incomplete pass intended for tight end Kyle Rudolph. Emmanuel Moseley had tight coverage. The Vikings go three and out. The 49ers get the ball at their 17-yard line after the punt.

3:33 The 49ers run three straight times and go three and out. Conservative to the max.

3:34 The Vikings fumble the punt and Raheem Mostert recovers at the Vikings’ 10.

3:37 The 49ers will face third and goal from the 4 when the fourth quarter starts.

3:40 Gould makes a 21-yard field goal and the 49ers lead 27-10.

3:48 On third and 8 from the Vikings 36, Nick Bosa sacks Cousins, and the Vikings go three and out. They have just one first down since Ahkello Witherspoon left the game in the first quarter.

3:57 On third and 7 from the Vikings 47, DeForest Buckner sacks Cousins, and the Vikings go three and out AGAIN. This is one of the greatest defensive performances in playoff history.

4:05 On third and 6 from the 49ers 44, Matt Breida runs for five yards. The 49ers punt on the next play. The Vikings get the ball at their 20 with 4:32 left.

4:11 On fourth and 1 form the 49ers’ 40, Jimmie Ward breaks up a deep pass intended for Diggs.

4:12 Raheem Mostert injured his calf. No word yet on the severity.

4:17 On fourth and 1 from the 49ers’ 49, Breida fumbles and the Vikings recover. What happened to Breida?? He used to be good.

4:20 On fourth and 22, Cousins completes a pass over the middle to Irv Smith Jr., but Jimmie Ward tackles him one yard shy of the first down. The 49ers win 27-10. Stay tuned for my game story and report card.

This article has 311 Comments

  1. Let’s run the ball down their collective throats until they choke to death! Go Niners!

    Sherm got that “swag” expression on his face.

    1. It’s now 6 p.m., with the game long over, and I can report:
      Razor called it!

      Eight runs in a row and capping the drive with a TD was a “stuffed it down your throat” message. Game ended right there.

  2. Sports Trivia: One of the playoff games this weekend will feature 5 , yes 5, former Heisman Trophy winners. Which game ? Name the players ? No cheating.

  3. The debate will be over today in which QB is better Kirk or Jimmy G. The 49ers could of had either or and its funny how they both are here today.

  4. Alright guys. I’ve had an omen. No one should worry. Wife ordered me a Kittle jersey as a surprise. Was on backorder. Not supposed to be delivered for another 3 days. Package just arrived unexpectedly. Now wearing my Kittle jersey. 49ers are winning this game. Go 49ers !!!

    1. Houston, wearing something that doesn’t have a winning history with you in it? Don’t trump fate! Everything I’m wearing today is something I’ve won during wins this season.

    2. Same thing here!!!! My sister ordered me one and it was on back order. I did not find out until it arrived yesterday and yes, I am wearing it

  5. Matt Barrows
    Based on warm-ups, #49ers linebacker plan:
    Base downs: MIKE = Fred Warner, WILL = Kwon Alexander, SAM = Dre Greenlaw
    Nickel: Warner and Greenlaw.

  6. Butterflies are in full force… please guys blow them out so I can watch the second half completely relaxed. My heart cant take to many like we have had the past few weeks.

  7. I guess Kyle didn’t think much of Coach Iggy’s “don’t throw over the middle” advise. LOL
    Not that he’d ever read any of his nonsense.

      1. Talent? Sure, I think he’s got talent. Would never call him “great” though. Needs to put it together, and he’s running out of time.

    1. Team looks completely lost on offense in this series.

      Does Witherspoon surrender another TD on this possession? 98% chance of that happening according to Sports Science.

  8. What’s amazing here is that anyone is surprised that Witherspoon has let the team down again.

    It’s a given TD/PI every possession. Don’t be surprised. Money line looking real good when Witherspoon is playing

  9. Josh Dubow @JoshDubowAP
    The 5 TD passes against Witherspoon the past 3 games are the only 5 TD passes the #49ers have given up in that span

  10. McGlinchy good for one of those every game. Grant did say to be wary of the middle. I don’t think the Niners should give up the middle, but don’t be arrogant either.

  11. That tackle by Moseley a great example of his superiority over Spoon. Does anyone think Spoon can ride the bigger Rudolph out of bounds like that?

      1. No special crystal ball here. It just felt like the way he was the throwing into coverages today that it was going to catch up to him.

    1. I am not blaming Shanahan for that interception. A completion would have opened up the run lanes more. Garoppolo just needs to not stare down his target.

  12. If they lose this game it will be because they beat themselves. Very unlike them this season. I expect shanahan to cut down on the mistakes in the second half. For now they are letting the Vikings stay in this game.

  13. Dee Ford saves the first half….well so far Kyle is giving the game away by starting Spoon 7points and not running the ball before the 2 minute mark 3 points GADZ

  14. If his post-int stats hold true, Jimmy will be fine come the second half. Would like to see more Mostert while grinding away on that defensive front. OL has been blocking well today so keep it up and close this thing out.

  15. Time for ‘Overreaction Halftime Report’ from the peanut gallery.

    So far this game has played out like essentially every other game this year. And 13 out of 16, the Niners won.

    1. Score should be 14-0. Team is notoriously slow third quarter and fights to win in the fourth. That sums up 14 of 16 games.
      It appears that the in game adjustment of MinnesotA is to stop moving out of the middle of the field.
      How does SF respond?

  16. Josh Dubow @JoshDubowAP
    #49ers are 23-2 when leading at halftime of playoff game since 1981 season per @pfref. The losses were in NFC title game to Seahawks following 2013 season (10-3 lead) and 2001 wild-card game vs Packers (7-6 lead)

  17. I’m sorry, but I see absolutely no reason why Moseley didn’t get the start over Witherspoon. Even the casual Niner fan knew Moseley deserved to start over Spoon! Kyle needs to step up and overrule Saleh in this case. That decision could end up haunting them throughout the offseason, if they end up losing a close game. Also, I don’t like the kneel down with 31 seconds and a timeout. I’m calling something to try and pickup 10-15 yards there, and then if they are successful, you take a shot downfield., if not, then you kneel. That’s a little too conservative for my liking, and disappointing way to end the half.

    I expected the 49ers to wear this Vi,kings team down in the 2nd half, and I’m sticking with my 31-20 score prediction, but the 49ers were a little lackadaisical in the first half, and we need to see a little more urgency from them coming out of the locker room to start the 2nd half.


  18. Kyle and Jimmy need to work the outside more, every pass into the teeth is not wise and could cost them the game.

    Good followup pass doesn’t change this.

    1. This quote from grant says it all: “ The 49ers defense has given up just four first downs, and Witherspoon gave up three of them.” If it wasn’t for their stupid mistakes the niners would be blowing them out. Stop letting them stay in the game and this will be an easy win. They are just better than the Vikings. Period.

  19. I am just worried Shanahan will get into his coach style that he has to show how much smarter he is than Zimmer rather than keeping it simple. Run the ball. The team is tired. Lean on them.

  20. I would have ran it twice. Once on third down. Again on fourth. If you fail you’ve pinned them inside their 20.
    It continues to tire down the team.

  21. Is Grant’s Sherman take his worst of the season? There are myriad “Worst Cohn takes of the Year” to pick from, but few are quite as hilariously wrong as his Sherman one.

  22. Great game by Coleman today. It’s great having 3 capable RBs who can be featured depending upon the opposing team’s defense.

  23. This quote from grant says it all: “ The 49ers defense has given up just four first downs, and Witherspoon gave up three of them.” If it wasn’t for their stupid mistakes the niners would be blowing them out. Stop letting them stay in the game and this will be an easy win. They are just better than the Vikings. Period.

    1. Disappointing pair of trips to the red zone . 35-10 would be game over, they just need to keep thus up though.

      Why is this here?

  24. Defence really putting the clamps on the Vikings here. To be honest, Niners look like playoff veterans who have done it repeatedly over a decade period.

  25. Man….what a drive. That is how you impose your will on the Vikes Defense!

    Great stop by the D. Score points on this drive and ice this game.

  26. The vikes already had little chance of pulling this off. Doing things like muffing punts will only make this more impossible for them lol.

    1. Just playing it safe in this position. The Vikings now have to score 3 times. But if they score on this next drive, then, yeah, the offense needs to open it up.

  27. Juanhunglo says:
    January 11, 2020 at 10:21 am
    I think todays game is going to be all about defense. Niner defense. Not much talk about them this week compared to the Niner offense and Jimmy vs the Viking defense. I just don’t see Minnesota going up and down the field on this group. It’s going to be a struggle for them. They’ll manage a TD and 2 FG’s.

    30-13 is looking pretty good. Nice call Juan. :)

    I think I just saw Nick bring Jimmy some gatorade. Way to be Mullens!

  28. Does… does Collinsworth think Bosa was trying to sell being injured? Clearly he was hurt, just caught his breath again and was good. Utter banality.

    1. I don’t think he was faking being hurt. But it was funny when he realized he was ok he played it up to the crowd. He’s great for this team.

    1. Kyle is playing safe with the run game. One three and out doesn’t mean it’s gone flat. The Vikings are selling out to stop the run. Time for some down field throws

  29. Jimmy has been a little off today, being high and behind slightly, but that one to Bourne was right on the money. Too bad. That would have been a big nail in the coffin. He makes great catches on bad throws and drops easy ones right in the bread basket. WTF!

  30. Well this one has been a lot of fun! Heck of a display by the D. Took away Cook, and let the pass rush make Cousins do Cousins things. Offense did enough, really taking the game away in the 3rd by starting the second half with 10 points on the first two drives. Big day by Coleman and the running game the key.

    Awesome effort.

  31. Breida has not done well down the stretch here. After that fumble I wouldn’t be surprised if Wilson is active next week Instead of him.

  32. Congratulations to everyone

    Grant remember when you said Lymch built the team wrong spending all that money on th Dline? Hmm…

    1. How about when Grant told everyone that picking Nick Bosa was the worst pick they could have made with the 2nd overall pick?

      I’m not sure Grant will ever live that one down. We all get things wrong from time to time ….. but that was a doozy!

      1. 49 it’s not that He gets things wrong, it’s that he continued to double down on the predictions. I was wrong on Bosa. He’s been amazing

    1. I don’t know, the D was just about as good as its ever been, bar Witherspoon. And the running game on offense was pretty dominant. Don’t think they were that far off their best.

  33. Called it by 17, 30-13 and the under. Final 27-10 and the under. Thank you Niners. Fill those coffers!! It’s all about defense in the playoffs. Very impressive D today as expected.

      1. Cut Iggy some slack red. He’s a HS JV soccer player/track participant covering an NFL team. Who would have thought? Considering that, he’s not that bad and has a great grasp of the obvious. Kind of like Seb. :)

        JK Seb. Don’t get your panties in a ruffle.

        1. Gratz, Juan, you missed the exact score by 6 points. However, Rollo predicted a Niner 27-13 score, so he was closest.
          I must admit that I was wrong. I thought the Vikings would run for more than 21 yards. The Niners, with their 6 sacks, were very impressive.
          This game showed how important that Bye was, in helping the Niners to heal and rest.

      2. At the time of the suggestion, Jimmy G was an unknown. If you look at the entire picture instead of Monday morning QBing the situation, you’d see Shanahan has made a winner out of anyone under center. RG III, Cousins, Matt Ryan. All of which have regressed after Shanahan left. None of you had any better suggestions.
        So, it’s reasonable to assume that had Kyle gotten Cousins you all wouldn’t be talking about Jimmy G. Shanahan schemes inflate numbers – think Matt Castle in Green Bay.
        The brain trusts in New England didn’t trade away a franchise QB for a simple second rounder. I think a lot of Jimmy Gs success is system oriented. He is definitely a good QB who will continue to get better under the system. He has the intangibles. But he isn’t a HOF QB on his own yet.
        If you put Jimmy G opposite this defense, I am sure he would have had a worse outting than Cousins.

    1. Kinda… Oh, and Grant felt not long ago that Jimmy was getting too much love, simply because of his jaw line.

  34. Great win and not to be a wet blanket, but Jimmy G and Shanny need to be way better than they were today to win next week.
    I wasn’t impressed by the play calling or the shakiness Jimmy displayed today.
    Without our defense and running game we don’t win today.

    1. Yeah, JG had a couple of bad throws. Nothing too different to usual there tbh. His day would have looked better if Bourne didn’t drop a few. And once they had that TD drive in the 3rd running the ball there was simply no reason to put the game in JGs hands.

      This sort of complaint is the same we heard at the beginning of the season when the team was absolutely dominating opponents. When the team needed JG in the second half of the season he delivered. Relax.

      1. Agree, Scooter. Jimmy is good and the sky is the limit, but he’s not seasoned. Kyle managed the circumstances very well, imo.

        1. The INT was a bad decision and simply the worst time of the game to not be smart.
          Let’s be honest here. He got a lot of help today.

          1. No question he got a lot of help. But the team didn’t need any more from Jimmy in this game. He’s stepped up when he’s had to in big, close games – this game was big but not close.

          2. Shanahan’s system operates around a game manager. What is not being said here is how hard it must have been after throwing the INT to be relegated to handing the ball off.
            Jimmy G showed great maturity.

            I can remember Brett Favre throwing 5 ints in a game because he had to prove he was the best on the field. He had to be the gun slinger.

            Jimmy G checked out of a play and still handed the ball off in the third quarter. I was impressed with his poise.

            I too complained about his accuracy, but some of the routes could have been ran shallower or adjusted by press coverage, adrenaline could have sped the receivers up, a lot of mitigating circumstances could explain the passes being off. It’s easy to blame JG. I will have to wait for a film break down to know for sure.

    2. I would argue the running game ultimately made the offence look less flashy. Most of the second half was all runs with the odd pass here and there, hard to get into rhythm like that. When Jimmy needed to be good, he was. Pick notwithstanding, of course.

  35. I think the OL deserves a lot of credit for this game. Paved the way for 186 rushing yards and only 4 pressures on Jimmy per Al and Chris (probably calculated by PFF).

  36. I like the fact that the 9ers leaned much more on the ground game this time out–got the flippin’ job done. I’m not concerned Jimmy didn’t throw for 440 yards and six TDs. Niners won. Period.

    Hope Bosa didn’t tweak his old core injury.

    1. I think so. OTOH (and I hate to look forward beyond the next game), Wilson would be a better warmup for the defense since most likely either KC or Baltimore will make the Superbowl.

  37. Dominant performance! I still don’t know how much of it was Saleh or if it was due to the Phenomenal players like Bosa, Dee Ford, Bucknor and Armstead.

    Witherspoon should not have started this game. Hope Offense plays a cleaner game in the NFCCG.

    Go Niners! Glad to have been wrong that this will be a close game. Lol!

    1. 9ers win, great defense, rookies played pretty great…………….and Sebs is strangely silent………….

      Maybe he really IS………………..SEEeeeeeeeeebbbbrrRRAAAYYYYYDDUHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      (did he even watch the game? Only Mrs. Sebs knows for sure………..)

      1. Saw, this is the second post since I was spam blocked earlier today. Luckily it seems to be temporary, but I was enjoying this game so much, I did not feel the need to post.
        This game showed why the bye was so important.

  38. Offense deserves more credit. That is a stout defense that held NO to 13 pts in the dome. Either Def they face next week will not be as good.

    1. Yeah – up 14-0, would love a Titan win…sick of hearing how invincible the Ravens are. Roman has to get out coached at some point – like he did in the niner super bowl against the Ravens.

  39. Wow, this game was amazing. The Vikings did not show up. The Niners crushed them.
    I thought Zimmer would have a better scheme, but the Niners executed so efficiently. Cook was shut down, and Cousins was exposed.
    The Niners lined up the RB deep in the I, and let him build up a head of steam before attacking the weakness in the line. JG did not need to pass, because the running game was so effective. Running 47 times for 186 yards? That is a winning formula.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see Coleman do so well. He did not dance, and hit the holes with confidence. Now I know why KS likes him so much.
    Can’t wait to see Grant’s grades.
    I am glad the Niners made a shrewd assessment, and a quick adjustment, with Witherspoon and Moseley.
    I am happy that Solomon Thomas got a sack, although I think he had to share that sack.
    2 games and 2 wins to a ring. I am jumping for joy.

  40. Kudos for Ben Garland, great game playing against some tough interior defensive linemen for the Vikings. Great play by the entire line.

    Great day to be a Niner fan!!!

  41. Incredible that the Titans are killing the Ravens. I think the Ravens starters haven’t played in a game in 3 weeks? That’s probably too long. Two weeks often means the starters have a little rust and start somewhat slow, but the rest lets them finish strong. Three weeks maybe produces too much rust.

    OTOH, maybe Vrabel and team just put together one hell of a game plan especially on defense.

  42. Man, had this game wrong but it’s great to see Baltimore getting their a$$ kicked. Still could get the over. Now 28-6! Wow! Go Titans!! 14 more points by anyone!! Come on!! Harbaugh looks like he’s going to cry.

  43. Assuming the Titans hold on, it’ll be the biggest upset since the Giants beat the undefeated Patriots in SB XLII. ..Awesome!

  44. Jackson looks like Kaepernick after the league figured him out. He’ll be another flash in the pan just like CK. The NFL has a history of doing that to players like them. Shutting down the running game and forcing him to pass, just like they did to CK. Either one could hit water if they fell out of a boat. Great job by Vrabel and the Titans. They are formidable.

    1. Guess you are watching a different game than I am. Derrick Henry, with his 173 yards, is dominating. He even threw a TD pass.
      It is hard to win when your TE bats the ball in the air for an easy pick.

      1. Pass was way high Seb. I actually think Jackson is a little better than Kaep, to be honest. I agree though. Henry is a friggin load and any team, including the Niners, will have their hands full. I knew I’d ruffle your feathers with the Kaep talk! Just having fun with you buddy. Enjoy the Niner win. I need 8 points in this darn game. Come on already!!

  45. If the Niners take care of business next week it’s very possible we’ll be playing the Titans in Miami… They look tough although it also looks like the Ravens underestimated them.

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