Christian McCaffrey

49ers grades in frustrating Week 7 loss to Vikings

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MINNEAPOLIS — This was a total team collapse that cannot be blamed on just one area of the roster.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins and his Minnesota Vikings' offensive teammates completely outclassed the 49ers’ defense.

And San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy picked inopportune times for two interceptions.

The 49ers fell behind early and could not climb out of the hole against the Vikings in a 22-17 loss on “Monday Night Football.”

Both teams punted just once in the game. Ultimately, the game came down to turnovers. The 49ers gave it away three times while forcing only one takeaway.

Here are the 49ers’ grades from their second consecutive loss:

Rushing offense

Christian McCaffrey extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 16. But he also was responsible for one of the big mistakes of the game.

The 49ers were in a position to take an early lead, but McCaffrey lost his second fumble of the season to end the team’s first drive of the game. McCaffrey had just 45 yards and a touchdown on 15 rushing attempts.

San Francisco managed just 3.0 yards per carry on its 22 rushing attempts. Purdy had the longest run of the game with a 17-yard scramble.

Grade: D

Passing offense

Quarterback Brock Purdy looked sharp through most of the game, as he made all the throws that were there. 

And even without All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, the 49ers’ pass protection generally held up well against the wide array of blitzes Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores dialed up.

But in the final 5:30, the game fell apart. Purdy missed Jauan Jennings on a deep ball, and Vikings safety Camryn Bynum grabbed the interception.

Purdy and the 49ers had a final chance, but Bynum again intercepted Purdy.

Purdy completed 21 of 30 passes for 272 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. McCaffrey helped the 49ers beat an all-out blitz with a 35-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.

Grade: C-minus

Rushing defense

On the first play of the game, Vikings running back Alexander Mattison found a crease in the 49ers’ front seven and galloped 19 yards.

After that, the Vikings decided they could have even greater success throwing the ball.

They eventually went back to the run, and the 49ers did a commendable job. The Vikings finished with just 74 yards rushing on 21 attempts.

Grade: C-plus

Passing defense

Quarterback Kirk Cousins picked apart the 49ers’ defense, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Addison against the coverage of Charvarius Ward with 0:07 remaining in the first half.

The 49ers did not generate enough of a pass rush to make Cousins feel uncomfortable. He was not sacked, and nobody on the 49ers had more than one quarterback pressure.

Even though the Vikings are playing without injured wide receiver Justin Jefferson, they looked plenty of explosive against the 49ers’ defense.

Cousins completed 35 of 45 pass attempts for 378 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

The Vikings tore the 49ers apart on third downs, converting eight of 13 (62 percent) in those situations.

Grade: F

Special teams

Kicker Jake Moody connected on a 55-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter. He needed that, for sure, after missing his first attempt of the game.

In the second quarter, Moody did nothing to erase the lingering sadness from his miss on the game-deciding kick against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6. Moody’s first attempt was wide right from 40 yards out at the beginning of the second quarter.

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky had a quiet day. He boomed a 62-yard punt in the third quarter, which was his only action of the game.

Grade: C-minus


The 49ers’ offensive staff had the team well-prepared to handle the Vikings’ blitz packages. And, for the most part, the team moved the ball effectively.

However, the 49ers’ defense was another story.

The 49ers looked completely flummoxed by what Minnesota was doing on offense. And defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ big gamble to send an all-out blitz late in the first half backfield spectacularly.

Shanahan publicly did not defend the play call. He said that would be something he would discuss during the week.

The call left the door open for Cousins to squeeze a pass into Addison, who took the ball away from Ward for the long touchdown right before the half.

The 49ers could not make any adjustments defensively to pressure Cousins or make it more difficult for him to find receivers wide-open down the field.

Grade: D


It might not have been as ugly from start to finish in nearly every phase as a week earlier in the loss to the Cleveland Browns, but there was not much positive to take from this one, either.

“We flat-out got beat,” Shanahan said.

“It’s hard to put our finger on it right now,” linebacker Fred Warner said of the team’s issues.

Warner and Nick Bosa admitted the past two weeks have been humbling.

Grade: D

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