MIN-SF Grades: 49ers RB Carlos Hyde dominant in opener

Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater off to rocky start with -0.3 overall grade.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

MIN-SF Grades: 49ers RB Carlos Hyde dominant in opener

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the 49ers-Vikings game:


– After a tumultuous off-season and some first quarter miscues on special teams, it was RB Carlos Hyde (+4.2) who was left to settle the nerves and provide the power the 49ers need in their season-opening win. The 49ers tested the edges of the Vikings defense (18/26 carries for Hyde off tackle and wider); Hyde found them wanting, breaking eight tackles en route to his 168 yards and two-touchdown performance.

– Only a slight injury scare slowed the regular season return of ILB NaVorro Bowman (+2.6) whose six stops are tied with the Chiefs’ Derrick Johnson (+4.5) for the most in the league by an ILB this weekend. Miss-steps in coverage saw him surrender 66 yards on four catches, but coming forwards against the run and as a pass rusher, Bowman looked to be back to his best form.

– This style of play and victory suits the 49ers and their quarterback, Colin Kaepernick (-0.8), down to the ground. RB Carolos Hyde (+4.2) and the ground game took the pressure off of Kaepernick, ensuring that his misses didn’t prove costly, and allowing him to work off of play action frequently, which he did to the tune of 101 yards on 10 completions.

Top performers:

RB Carlos Hyde (+4.2)
ILB NaVorro Bowman (+2.6)
LG Alex Boone (+2.4)
FS Antoine Bethea (+2.2)
NT Ian Williams (+1.4)

Minnesota Vikings

– Few Minnesota defenders will look back on this game fondly—particularly in run defense, where five members of the Vikings’ front seven earned negative grades. Lowest of that group was DE Everson Griffen (-4.9), who missed three tackles and routinely struggled to hold up against LT Joe Staley (+0.8) allowing the 49ers to gain 90 yards on 13 carries off left tackle and left end.

– This game was supposed to be a launch pad for the ascending Vikings and their quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater (-0.3) against the descending 49ers, but both team and signal caller failed to live up to expectations. Bridgewater was solid on his intermediate throws (6/7, 104 yards, 1 interception) until his pick under pressure when throwing to TE Kyle Rudolph (1.0). He only connected on one downfield strike through five attempts (admittedly, the Vikings should have had a pass interference penalty on one). Overall, Bridgewater couldn’t add the spark that the entire offense was missing in this game.

– This was not the triumphant return that RB Adrian Peterson (-0.5) would have hoped as he once again struggled to generate much forward momentum against a 49er defense. Peterson’s game is all about physicality and breaking tackles, but the 49ers are one of those teams willing to match that. Last night, Peterson broke only one tackle and gained just 14 yards after contact on 10 carries; in only one of his four career games against the 49ers has Peterson gained more than 2 yards per carry after contact, and he has never broken more than one tackle in each game.

Top performers:

RG Michael Harris (+2.9)
DE Brian Robison (+1.4)
LB Anthony Barr (+1.3)
LT Matt Kalil (+1.3)
DT Tom Johnson (+1.3)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Matthew Allen

    Are the Niners for real? They looked great where it mattered most, the trenches.

    • Wyzel

      Defense looked good, way better than I thought, but Kap still does not impress me, no matter how much Trent Dilfer says so.

      • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

        i thought kap looked like a real nfl starting qb, not something i’d seen much of from him in the past

        • MosesZD

          ‘Real’ NFL QBs don’t go 7 for 14 for 68 yards and a 62.8 QB rating from the pocket. He can only pass well after play-action and he rolls out. He also struggled with his reads and was stiff in the pocket, just like he always has been.

          But when they rolled him out after a PA fake, he looked great.

          Problem is, when a team is stuffing the running game and they don’t have to respect play action… Or they’re ahead and it’s the 4th quarter and we have to pass to win…

          What’s going to happen then? More of the same old ‘can’t get it done’ Kaepernick?

          He’s going to need to generate a solid 90+ QB rating from the pocket (for the season) before I believe he’s a ‘real’ NFL QB.

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          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            i said “looked like”, lol. not anointing him quite yet, but he did look a little improved ya gotta admit

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            kap or dalton, who’d u rather have in january? now that’s tough

          • sdaddy101269

            I’d take the guy thats 4-2 in the playoffs and 3-1 on the road. Thats been to 2 NFCCG’s and a SuperBowl.

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    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      they’re not winning the superbowl this year or anything but they looked to be legit on both sides

  • NAJ

    Poor overall performance from the Vikes but hats off to Kalil for having a good game. Considering all the bad press he’s received, this is a promising start for him and 1 of the few positives to come out of the game.

    • eYeDEF

      Maybe his former problems were from injury and he’s not a head case after all.

  • bill

    Every season, the Vikes tend to be extremely lethargic in one or two games (first Bears game last year as example). I’m accustomed to it… just didn’t think it’d be the first game. The Niners may be real, but I’d hold off for a little bit. The Vikes didn’t play like they normally do and may not be a good barometer. Hats off to the Niners though, they played lights out against what looked like a horde of zombies.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      yea and coach turner was out-thinking himself. lineup with a FB in the I and hand the ball to AD, repeat until scoring

      • Tim Edell

        I agree with you….AP just doesn’t look comfortable running the ball out of the gun. Line up in The I run AP all day and have Bridgewater throw off play action!

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          i think teddy has a bright future and is an above avg starter already, but they don’t need to put the whole game in his hands this early on. let him be a game manager, make the third down throws, and trust in the D and special teams (altho maybe not blair walsh so much, lol).

  • Bob Rand

    Citing a downfield completion on a hail mary gimme isn’t very focused.

  • theowl

    About that “non-called pass interference”. Why is it ok for the receiver to knock down the db’s arm right before the db interfered? If a db did that, he would get called for PI “most” of the time.

    • Superkp23

      Good call on the knocking each others arms down but then Wallace slowed a bit to come back for the ball and Bethea didn’t and bodied into him that’s what I would’ve called the P.I. it didn’t lose the game for them though by any stretch they were just thoroughly outplayed in every facet of the game.

    • cka2nd

      Yeah, it looked to me like there were off-setting penalties on that play and the ref just decided not to throw his flag and call them both.

      • theowl

        Well said.

  • http://may15thprophecy.com May 15th Prophecy

    The 49ers will be the best team in the NFL, the D is for real, as is the running game, remember that is the foundation for winning football 101, however the niners are solid in others areas of the game (pass off, special teams) which didn’t show Monday Night,
    Mark it down, take a picture the 49ers are a Beast of a team!!

  • cka2nd

    OMG, Brian Robison had a good game!!!!! I wonder why so many people are blaming the bad run defense on him and Greenway and ignoring the rest of the front seven? Maybe because they’ve got an idea in their heads that both of them are over the hill, even though Robison has had only one off-year while Greenway has had three straight. How much do you want to bet that if Robison doesn’t get at least 8 sacks this year that most fans will assume he sucks and needs to be replaced NOW even if he grades out positively for the year at PFF?

    It reminds me of all of the people who kept on complaining that Jamarca Sanford was a lousy strong safety until they finally drove Arif Hasan to pen one of his patented detailed and exhaustive analyses to prove that Sanford had in fact developed into a solid, above average one.