In what was a game largely built on the quarterback battle between Kirk Cousins in his first official start with the Viking against Garoppolo, it was Minnesota's defense that made all the difference in the contest.
He made a decision to run for it.
The Vikings had an eight-point lead on San Francisco in the fourth quarter and were facing a third-and-5 from their own 37-yard line, when Cousins decided to make a run for it.
Now with the Vikings, the veteran quarterback will be looking to make it two victories in a row over the Packers on Sunday.
Cousins passed for two touchdowns and the Vikings forced four turnovers, fueling a 24-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday that stuck Garoppolo with his first loss in eight games as an National Football League starting quarterback. But the 49ers also could not cash in on four plays from inside the Vikings' 5-yard line, ending with Morris' fumble. But as a team, the Vikings ran for just 116 yards, or about 3.6 yards per carry. It was the highest Week 1 passer rating of Cousins' career.
This time San Francisco went three-and-out and on their next possession the Vikings were able to take significant time off the clock by running the ball.
Cousins' caption on the photo was, "That's right, Cooper!"
"We always talk about sliding and protecting yourself but in that situation, right at the chains, I think you have got to do something", Cousins said.
"Every time you don't do well you look at", Shanahan said.
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Cousins signed with Minnesota in March, for three years and $84 million. "When the game is on the line, we're trying to get the first down", Zimmer said.
Cousins' first scoring pass as a Viking was a 22-yard strike to Stefon Diggs early in the second quarter that beat cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon to give the Vikings a 10-0 lead. Mike Hughes turned one pick into a 28-yard touchdown return, the first by a rookie in a Vikings season opener.
"There's not one word to put on it".
A lot went wrong for the 49ers on that play.
COMEBACK COMPLETE: Cook had 16 carries for 40 yards and six catches for 55 yards, a productive return to live action after tearing the ACL in his left knee about 11 months earlier. His uncle and childhood confidant, Anthony Jones, a running back for Florida International University, was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Miami on Thursday. In that stretch, Garoppolo averaged 308.4 passing yards.
Highlighted by tight end George Kittle's five catches for 90 yards, there was enough production by the 49ers to take some positives into their home opener against Detroit next week.
The one he didn't make stood out. The third-down interception by Hughes was on the next play.
"It didn't end the way we wanted", Kittle said, "but I feel like we definitely had some momentum going and if we can do that we'll be a pretty good offense". Following the game, Viking star defensive end Danielle Hunter stated that it was evident to him as the game wore on that Garoppolo was becoming fearful of their defensive front under pressure, according to Daniel Brown of The Mercury News.