NFL Game Summary - San Francisco at Minnesota|
(Sunday, September 23rd)
Final Score: Minnesota 24, San Francisco 13
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Christian Ponder threw a pair of touchdown
passes to Kyle Rudolph and also ran for a score on Sunday as the Minnesota
Vikings outplayed the San Francisco 49ers en route to a 24-13 victory.
Ponder went 21-of-35 for 198 yards while Rudolph finished with 36 yards on
five catches for the Vikings (2-1), who were coming off a last-second loss to
the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.
"We know with him back there, he's accurate, we're going to pick up first
downs, we're never going to be out of a football game," Vikings center John
Sullivan said of Ponder. "It (quarterback position) had kind of been in flux
the last couple years."
Percy Harvin had nine receptions for 89 yards in Sunday's win while Adrian
Peterson rushed for 86 yards on 25 carries.
Alex Smith completed 24-of-35 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and an
interception for the 49ers (2-1), who were aiming for their first 3-0
start since 1998.
"The Vikings did a better job than we did all the way around," 49ers head
coach Jim Harbaugh said.
Vernon Davis had five catches for 53 yards and a score in the setback and
Frank Gore rushed for 63 yards with a fumble on 12 carries.
The Vikings set the tone on their opening drive with an 82-yard scoring
march. Rudolph had four catches on the trek, including a grab in the back
of the end zone on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Ponder scrambled to his
left after a play action and lofted the scoring strike over a pursuing
San Francisco's second drive of the game, which spanned 13 plays and 54 yards,
resulted in David Akers' 29-yard field early in the second quarter, but the
Vikings struck again on their next series.
Ponder kept the 80-yard trek alive when he found Devin Aromashodu for a first
down on 3rd-and-11. The completion brought the Vikings to San Francisco's 23
and on the next play the second-year signal caller broke through the line of
scrimmage and exploded past the 49ers' secondary before extending the ball
into the end zone while being tackled to make it 14-3.
Late in the quarter, Letroy Guion blocked Akers' field goal attempt and the
Vikings took over at their own 33 with 52 seconds remaining. They moved into
field goal range, due in part to Ponder's 14-yard connection with Toby
Gerhart on third down, and rookie Blair Walsh drilled a 52-yarder as time
expired for a 17-3 lead at the half.
Kyle Williams caught the opening kick of the third quarter deep in his own end
zone and raced up the sideline 94 yards to the Minnesota 14. The 49ers had to
settle for a 29-yard Akers field goal, but after a Vikings three-and-out, they
executed a lengthy scoring drive to make it 17-13.
Davis capped the 86-yard trek with a pair of catches. The first grab came on
an over-the-shoulder fade to the 1-yard line and on the ensuing play Smith
found his tight end wide open in the back of the end zone.
The 49ers had the momentum, but the Vikings had an answer in the form of
a methodical possession which spanned seven minutes and stretched into the
Already in San Francisco territory, the Vikings moved to the 14-yard line when
Dashon Goldson was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting a
defenseless Rudolph on an incomplete pass.
Harvin followed with a 9-yard run and four plays later Rudolph made a one-
handed snag in the end zone as he fell to the ground with a defender draped on
Gore fumbled near midfield on the 49ers' next possession and although the
Vikings followed with a three-and-out, the defense stood strong and forced
Smith's incomplete pass on 3rd-and-8 near midfield, leading to a San Francisco
punt with 9:15 left.
After the teams traded punts, the Vikings moved into San Francisco territory
when Gerhart appeared to fumble. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called a timeout
after the play -- his last of the game -- then threw the challenge flag.
Although teams are not allowed to challenge plays when they are out of
timeouts, the referees proceeded to review the call. The replay showed that
the whistle had blown before Gerhart lost possession, but officials ruled the
play a fumble anyway.
Four plays into San Francisco's next drive, Josh Robinson negated the
referees' gaffe by intercepting Smith.
Gerhart, though, legitimately fumbled away the football seconds later and San
Francisco took over with 1:47 remaining.
Keeping with the pattern, Jared Allen sacked and stripped Smith two plays
into the 49ers' next touch and Brian Robison recovered the ball to wrap up a
sloppy conclusion to an otherwise impressive Minnesota victory.
Smith threw his first interception since Week 12 of last season ... Gore
fumbled for the first time since Week 5 of last year ... Former Vikings
standout receiver Randy Moss had three catches for 27 yards for the 49ers ...
San Francisco has lost five straight games at the Metrodome since ousting the
Vikings by a 20-17 count on Dec. 13, 1992.
09/23 22:04:22 ET