Craig: Five extra points

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 24, 2012 - 12:59 AM
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49ers coach Jim Harbaugh couldn’t believe a lot of what he was seeing on Sunday at Mall of America Field.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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1. Not so dumb this week?

Give the Vikings credit. They talked and talked (and talked) about cleaning up all the dumb penalties that doomed them in last week's 23-20 loss at Indianapolis. And then they actually went out and did it. The Vikings had only one penalty, a holding call with 4 minutes, 23 seconds left in the third quarter. The offender was never identified by the, um, stellar replacement officials. This week, the 49ers get to talk about dumb penalties. They had six penalties for 60 yards. On the touchdown drive that gave the Vikings a 24-13 lead, the 49ers committed three penalties, including two for unnecessary roughness. (P.S.: Someone should tell the refs that half the distance to the goal line from the 26-yard line is the 13-yard line, not the 14.)

2. Ponder's (not so) deep throws

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had only one pass that counted travel farther than 20 yards in the air. It was an incompletion to Michael Jenkins that covered 28 yards. For the season, only four of Ponder's 97 passes have traveled farther than 20 yards in the air. He did have another one, a 21-yard incompletion to Kyle Rudolph, that didn't count because of a 49ers penalty. "I'm not going to force things downfield when I can throw it short ... and someone can make a big play downfield," Ponder said.

3. Moss a nonfactor

Former Viking Randy Moss entered the game having played only 37 of the 49ers' 130 snaps the first two games. He proceeded to play only 18 of the 49ers' 58 snaps on Sunday. That's why the moody one said, "Next question," when asked about his playing time being what he expected. In this offense, Moss is treated like an aging player who's lost his fastball. He didn't play on most third downs or critical situations. When the 49ers got the ball at the Vikings 14 to start the second half, Moss was on the sideline while the 49ers were held to a field goal. He caught three passes for a 9-yard average, dropped a ball and had one overthrown to him that would have been a TD. The Vikings gave him nothing but man coverage, a sure sign the fear factor with Moss is gone.

4. Jared's neck, Toby's butterfingers

Fortunately for the Vikings, the "crick" in Jared Allen's neck wasn't as bad as the apparent gobs of butter on Toby Gerhart's fingers in the fourth quarter. After Gerhart lost the second of his THREE fourth-quarter fumbles, Allen ended all the drama with his first sack and strip of the season. Brian Robison recovered with 1:33 left. Allen said he didn't play much in the second half because of neck spasms suffered when he bounced off of Alex Smith while trying to sack him at the end of the first half. "The hardest I ever been hit in my life, and it's Alex Smith," Allen said. Allen couldn't look to his left because of the injury. So he tried to rush from the left side a couple of times. But at the end, he put himself back in at right end. He also said the neck won't be a problem going forward. "I'll be good," he said. "Just a little crick."

5. Peterson grinds away

Adrian Peterson will have some bruises Monday morning. He carried the ball a season-high 25 times and gained 86 yards, for a 3.4-yard average. The 49ers played him straight up for the most part. They put eight or nine men in the box on nine of his carries. Peterson was held to 3 or fewer yards on six of those carries. But his longest run, 20 yards, came later in the game as the 49ers put eight in the box on second-and-7 with 8:38 left in the game. Asked if he felt like a battering ram against 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, he said: "I almost gave him a concussion a couple of times, snapping back his helmet after he tackles me. We knew we just had to continue to pound. We'll take 5 yards, 3 yards. Second down and 4, you can't beat that."

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