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Minnesota’s defense wrecks havoc against San Francisco

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Minneapolis, MN — A banged-up San Francisco 49ers offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, as he was sacked three times and threw three interceptions in a 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

In a game that featured two of the highest paid free agent quarterbacks this offseason, it was both defenses that stood out early in Minnesota. Both the 49ers and Vikings offenses were held to under 350 total yards, but Minnesota won the turnover battle 4-1 and was able to capitalize off the mistakes.

Minnesota got on the board first thanks to a 48-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson near the end of first quarter. The following Vikings’ possession, quarterback Kirk Cousins connected with wide receiver Stefon Diggs on a 22-yard pass capping off a six play, 53-yard drive.

The 49ers offense managed only 13 total yards in their first two drives, but on their third possession, they got their first points on the board thanks to a 42-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.

Running back Dalvin Cook fumbled on the ensuing Vikings possession which gave the 49ers a spark of momentum. San Francisco drove down 69 yards to the 1-yard line but running back Alfred Morris fumbled while attempting to leap into the end zone and the Vikings defense recovered. The Vikings went into halftime up 10-3 over the 49ers.

After the two teams exchanged three and out drives to begin the third quarter, Garoppolo threw an interception that rookie cornerback Mike Hughes returned for a touchdown. The pick-six gave the Vikings a 17-3 lead.

San Francisco responded with a field goal to cut the lead, but Cousins led the Vikings offense down the field for an 11-yard touchdown to tight end Kyle Rudolph. Garoppolo then led the 49ers to their first touchdown of the 2018 season, connecting with Dante Pettis on a 22-yard throw making the score 24-13.

The following 49ers drive, Garoppolo threw an interception on the first play giving the Vikings great field position. San Francisco’s defense came up big forcing a three and out and was able to convert on a 22-yard field goal to make it a one-possession game.

Garoppolo and San Francisco’s offense got the ball again with just under two minutes to go, but the quarterback threw his third interception of the day, putting an end to any hopes of a comeback.

Cousins looked sharp in his Vikings debut completing 20 of his 36 passes, throwing for 227 yards, and two touchdowns. Running backs Latavius Murray and Cook combined for 116 yards on the ground while Adam Thielen was the leading receiver with 102 yards on six receptions.

Garoppolo finished the game going 15-33, throwing for 237 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Matt Breida was the 49ers leading rusher with 46 yards and tight end Greg Kittle led the team in receptions hauling in five passes for 90 yards.

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