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What We Learned from 49ers vs. Vikings

Posted Sep 14, 2015

Everything we learned from the San Francisco 49ers Week 1 season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, including depth chart and injury updates.



It's good to be home.

The San Francisco 49ers opened up the 2015 regular season with a win on "Monday Night Football."

The home team donned black uniforms for the first time ever in a 20-3 victory over the visiting Minnesota Vikings.

Here’s what we learned after 60 minutes of football.

Bowman stellar in regular-season return

No. 53’s presence in the 49ers defensive huddle was an instant spark. It also disrupted Adrian Peterson’s return to regular season football.

Bowman recorded seven tackles and a sack in his first appearance at Levi’s® Stadium. Although there was a minor scare when Bowman was hit in the midsection, causing him to leave the field for one play in the third quarter, the defensive captain had consistent presence in limiting Minnesota’s production.

A matchup against Peterson was much discussed entering the game, but the former league MVP was held in check for most of the night. Peterson rushed 10 times for 31 yards and did not find the end zone against the 49ers.

Bowman and his fellow defenders made sure to stuff the dangerous back's running lanes for much of the night.

Bowman’s Week 1 performance bodes well for a San Francisco defense with many new starters, including Kenneth Acker at right cornerback.

Defense holds up after early miscues

A 28-yard Phil Dawson field goal attempt was blocked by Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo and returned 44 yards by cornerback Marcus Sherels down to San Francisco’s 26-yard line in the first quarter.

What seemed to be a momentum-changing moment in the first quarter was all for naught.

Blair Walsh missed a 44-yard field goal on Minnesota’s ensuing possession.

Later in the first quarter, when Jarryd Hayne muffed his first punt-return attempt, resulting in a lost fumble at midfield. San Francisco’s 2014 team MVP, safety Antoine Bethea, tackled Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph short of the first-down marker. The clutch stop turned the Vikings over on downs at San Francisco’s 29-yard line.

Once again, the 49ers did not surrender any points in a precarious positon.

Hyde goes for 100-plus in first NFL start, makes Braxton Miller proud

Social media was buzzing last week when a former Ohio State quarterback-turned-wide receiver dazzled the nation with an open-field spin move against Virginia Tech.

Another Buckeye, Carlos Hyde, showed off his own epic spin move against Minnesota in his first NFL start. Hyde took a hand off towards his right, got stifled in the backfield, but the second-year running back instinctively spun towards the left side of the field and followed a Colin Kaepernick block as he dove into the end zone for a 10-yard score.

The dazzling run, one of many on a nice in which Hyde rushed for a single-game career high of 168, put the 49ers up 7-0 at the half.

Hyde finished the first half with 83 rushing yards on 12 carries. In comparison, the 49ers defense bottled up Peterson to the tune of 14 yards on four carries in the opening 30 minutes of action. San Francisco out-gained Minnesota 204 to 113 in total yards in the first half, too.

Hyde continued to pound his way through Minnesota's defense in the second half. Hyde utlized his natural cut-back ability on a variety of stretch run plays to the outside. He later added a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter to put San Francisco up 17-3 with 9:30 left in the game. The bruising runner finished the night as the most productive rusher on the field. Considering who was on the other sideline, Hyde's performance is definitely worth recognition. 

Bush goes down with calf injury

Following his second carry of the night, Reggie Bush was announced as questionable to return late in the first quarter with a leg issue. Bush was later announced as out for the remainder of the game with a calf injury.

In his place, Hayne carried the ball three times for 13 yards as San Francisco’s backup running back. Rookie runner Mike Davis was inactive for the game.

 

Mangini's defense features a blitzing secondary

We didn’t know exactly what to expect from an Eric Mangini-coached defense. We knew the 49ers would employ a 3-4 scheme, but other than that, much was a mystery before the Vikings came to town.

But after Monday night, we now know that the defensive coordinator turned his defensive backs loose as added pass-rushers on Teddy Bridgewater.

Rookie safety Jaquiski Tartt blitzed and recorded the game’s first sack on Bridgewater for a 14-yard loss in the first quarter.

The 49ers also applied pressure from the defensive line. Tank Carradine recorded his first sack of the year on Bridgewater on a key third-down in the second quarter. It was Carradine’s fourth sack in his last four regular-season appearances.

Later in the second half, a Bethea blitz led to the veteran safety sacking Bridgewater for a 10-yard loss.

Mangini’s diverse scheme stifled Bridgewater and Minnesota’s play-makers. The visiting team managed to produce three points, 17 first downs and 248 total yards. Bridgewater finished the game completing 23-of-32 passes for 231 yards with an interception and a quarterback rating of 79.0.

Tramaine Brock helped seal the victory with a fourth-quarter interception on an errant Bridgewater throw.


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