The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 34-14 and became 2-1 in the preseason. This was the final preseason game in the historic Candlestick Park.
With the backup competition ongoing, it was a rough outing initially for McCoy, who started his first possession with an interception thrown to Chad Greenway. The Vikings responded by throwing a touchdown to Zach Line with three minutes remaining in the second quarter to make the score 10-7. This was the first touchdown allowed by the 49ers defense throughout the entire preseason, totaling 144 minutes.
The 49ers responded immediately when Lavelle Hawkins returned a kickoff return for 105 yards, making it the first 49ers touchdown on special teams for the preseason.
However, Hawkins will be remembered by being flagged for two penalties after the touchdown. He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct once for taunting prior to reaching the end zone and flagged a second time removing his helmet.
Jim Harbaugh said he should not be “emotionally hijacked” during plays and was seen yelling on the sidelines at Hawkins for the blunders.
Hawkins was also flagged again taunting after making a reception. He head-butted Desmond Bishop after the play ended.
“I'm going to apologize to the team because that [play] was not okay,” Hawkins said about the penalty. “Whether it’s preseason or regular season, you can't have that.”
Defensively, the 49ers shined again when C.J. Spillman caught a tipped ball by Nnamdi Asomugha for Christian Ponder’s first interception of the game. The 49ers possession started on Vikings territory, but it only stayed alive after a personal foul penalty on Vikings CB Josh Robinson. McCoy failed to complete the pass to a wide open Chad Hall on third down by throwing it over his head. Dawson nailed a 50-yard field goal which put the 49ers up 20-7 at halftime.
McCoy finished strong in the third quarter after finding Vance McDonald on third down to keep the drive alive. Anthony Dixon also contributed with a 15-yard reception to start the possession. Jewel Hampton shined and had 27 yards on five carries, which included a touchdown run.
Jim Harbaugh defended his quarterback saying that he is the team’s No. 2 quarterback and that he was comfortable with him on the field.
“It thought McCoy played very well,” said Harbaugh. “He's progressing and he got better every week. Tonight he did good.”
The 49ers started the game defensively with a forced fumble by Ahmad Brooks stripping the ball from Ponder on the opening possession. Despite starting on offense in the red zone, the 49ers settled for a 30-yard field goal by Phil Dawson for the opening score.
Colin Kaepernick played the entire first quarter and completed six consecutive passes which led to the first 49ers touchdown of the game. He found Quinton Patton on third down two times, one of which included a five-yard touchdown pass. This was Patton’s first game as a 49er after missing the first two preseason games due to a finger injury.
The Vikings were able to score a touchdown in their only possession of the third quarter. Ponder led the Vikings with a 12-play, 71 yard, drive which ended with a touchdown pass to former quarterback Joe Webb.
In the fourth quarter, B.J. Daniels provided a good spark offensively leading the 49ers to their final touchdown drive. He was able to hit Lavelle Hawkins for a 22-yard reception on third down and scrambled for 20 yards before Anthony Dixon punched it in the end zone on the goal line for the score.
It was triumphant return for Kendall Hunter, who saw his first action since November 25 during the preseason game. He had one notable carry for 15 yards.
“The offensive line made a hole as I saw it and I hit it,” said Hunter. “It felt real good to be back out there and compete and help the team.”
Quinton Patton also made his debut in a 49ers uniform as he played throughout the first half. He suffered a jammed finger throughout training camp and was healthy for the first time since minicamp.
“It felt great going out there with everybody,” Patton said. “I felt left out in the preseason being hurt, but it felt good to be back on the field. I wanted to get out there and play with everybody. I still have ways to go.”
Jim Harbaugh praised the rookie receiver saying he did well in the short time he has been playing. Patton finished the game with four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown,
“In the time that he's been here, we're putting him in situations where he hadn't practiced,” Harbaugh said of Patton. “Some of the things he did there tonight was encouraging. Everyone likes him.”
While this 20-point win over the Vikings was good, Harbaugh felt there can always be better times. Besides Patton, Harbaugh liked what he saw in Eric Reid and the second-team offense.
“Reid was good. He was deep when needed to be deep and didn’t allow anything,” Harbaugh said. “I saw a lot of good football. Our guys worked and practiced all week and there was a lot of good football.”
-The 49ers only played four of the team’s five quarterbacks for the preseason game with Scott Tolzien sitting out. Seneca Wallace only played on the final possession.
-Kyle Williams and Patrick Willis both did not play in this game.
-LaMichael James (elbow) and Cam Johnson (shoulder) both went down with injuries and left the game. Harbaugh said James will be fine, but the condition of Johnson is currently unknown.
-The second-team offensive line struggled in penalties as Kenny Wiggins was called for holding multiple times. The pass protection was also below average.
-Craig Dahl was mostly seen on special teams and he had two tackles during two kickoffs.
-Bubba Ventrone made his return to the preseason for the first time since the first game and played on the opening kickoff. He did well on all coverage units.
-Vance McDonald had two receptions, but one was impressive when he hurdled one defender and fought through another which resulted in a 15 yard gain.
-Jon Baldwin had two receptions which included one for 19 yards. He now has more receptions than A.J. Jenkins in the preseason.
-Nnamdi Asomugha was the nickel CB and played well when on the field. The 49ers used him in press coverage where he excelled.
-Garrett Celek was flagged for a holding penalty on a field goal attempt while MarQueis Gray had little action. Celek's holding made Dawson kick a 50-yard field goal instead of a 40-yard attempt.