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.
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)
– 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.
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)