Jan 12, 2020 12:38 AM

49ers win 1st playoff game in 6 years, 27-10 over Vikings

Posted Jan 12, 2020 12:38 AM

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Richard Sherman anticipated the route for an interception and then watched the San Francisco 49ers run eight straight times for the touchdown that put them in control of their first playoff game in six years.

The dominant defense and powerful running game that carried the Niners to an 8-0 start this season delivered a 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round Saturday.

“People keep disrespecting us. At the end of the day, all you can do is go out and execute,” Sherman said. “It felt good. That’s what we look like when we’re totally healthy.”

The return of injured defensive starters Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt had the Niners (14-3) playing as they did in the first half of the season as they set a franchise playoff record by allowing only 147 yards.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw a TD pass on his opening drive as a playoff starter and then mostly watched his defense and running game take over from there. The top-seeded 49ers turned a pair of second-half turnovers by Minnesota (11-7) into 10 points.

“They’re pretty good right?” tight end George Kittle said of his defense. “It’s such a blast just to watch them, how they work together. ...

“If our defense keeps playing like that, all we have to do is not turn the ball over to win games”

Sherman set up Tevin Coleman’s second short touchdown run of the game when he beat Adam Thielen to the spot to intercept Kirk Cousins for his third career playoff interception.

Coleman had five of the eight carries on the 44-yard drive as part of a 105-yard rushing performance.

“Those guys did very well,” Coleman said of his offensive line. “They moved the guys back so I had clear holes to run through. So, yeah, they did a real good job.”

Marcus Sherels’ fumbled punt later in the third quarter led to a field goal that made it 27-10 early in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco didn’t allow Minnesota to gain a first down for more than 27 minutes of game action starting late in the second quarter.

The Niners will host the NFC championship game next week against the winner of Sunday’s game between Seattle and Green Bay.

Garoppolo threw an interception deep in his own territory late in the first half and then spent most of the second half handing the ball off to Coleman and Raheem Mostert.

There was little reason for coach Kyle Shanahan to take chances the way his defense completely bottled up talented runner Dalvin Cook. That took away Minnesota’s play-action game and forced Cousins into becoming a drop-back passer.

“We didn’t do enough offensively to give ourselves a chance to win the game,” Cousins said. “It hurts right now. It’s so raw right now, just falling short.”

Cousins finished 21 for 29 for 172 yards with his only big play coming on a 41-yard TD pass to Stefon Diggs in the first quarter.

Cook was held to 18 yards on nine carries as the Niners defense was back to its dominant early season form as the bye week helped the defense get healthy again.

“That was the No. 1 emphasis all week,” defensive lineman Nick Bosa said of the Minnesota running game. “We knew we were facing probably the best back we’ve faced all year with Dalvin, and we knew we had to earn the right to pass rush. So, that’s what we did. We took the run as serious as we could, shut it down and then we ate.”

San Francisco had six sacks and held Minnesota to 81 yards until late in the fourth quarter.

TAKE IT AWAY

Eric Kendricks intercepted a pass from Garoppolo late in the first half to give the Vikings the ball at the San Francisco 29. Minnesota couldn’t capitalize with Ford getting a third-down sack in his return to the lineup from a hamstring injury. Dan Bailey’s 39-yard field goal cut the Niners lead to 14-10 at the half. The interception was the 19th turnover this season by Garoppolo, who had the most giveaways in the regular season of any player who made the playoffs.

BLOCKING BACK

Garoppolo showed he has skills beyond his throwing. He threw a lead block on 255-pound linebacker Anthony Barr on a reverse by Deebo Samuel in the second quarter.

“Sometimes you have to remember you’re not just a quarterback, you’re a football player too,” Garoppolo said.

Samuel fumbled the ball on the play but replay ruled his knee was down, negating the turnover. That proved especially important when Coleman capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run.

BURNED AGAIN

The Vikings scored on their second drive of the game when Diggs outmaneuvered Ahkello Witherspoon for a 41-yard TD catch. It was the fifth TD pass allowed by Witherspoon in the past three games and he was replaced at cornerback the following drive by Emmanuel Moseley.

INJURIES

Vikings: RT Brian O’Neill left with a head injury after a blindside block from Nick Bosa in the third quarter following Cousins’ interception.

49ers: Mostert (calf) and Coleman (elbow) both got hurt in the second half.

UP NEXT

Vikings: The offseason.

49ers: NFC championship game next Sunday against either Seattle or Green Bay.

Continue Reading Hutch Post
Jan 12, 2020 12:38 AM
Blue Dragons head to high-scoring Cowley on Saturday

STEVE CARPENTER - Hutchinson CC Sports Information

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Hutchinson Community College Men's Basketball Coach Steve Eck makes his first attempt at another milestone victory on Saturday as the Blue Dragons hit the road to face the second-leading scoring team in the NJCAA.

Hutchinson faces its first NJCAA-ranked opponent this season as the No. 12 Blue Dragons (13-2, 4-2 Jayhawk West) play at No. 20 Cowley (14-3, 6-1 Jayhawk East) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Scott Auditorium in Arkansas City.

The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and on sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) beginning at 7:20 p.m. with Glen Grunwald (play-by-play) and Daren Dunn (analyst) calling the action. The game will be streamed live on the Blue Dragon Sports Network at 7:20 p.m.

Already the program's leader in coaching victories, Eck is one win shy of 300 wins on the Blue Dragon bench. Eck would become just the sixth Jayhawk Conference men's coach to win 300 games with one program. He would join Jay Herkelman (Coffeyville), Dennis Erkenbrack (Cloud County), Craig Fletchall (Barton), Mike Jeffers (Johnson County) and Randy Smithson (Butler County) in that exclusive club.

To reach that milestone on Saturday, the Blue Dragons will have to defend against a Cowley team that is averaging 110.1 points per game. The Tigers have scored 100 or more points 14 times this season with a high of 125, which came on Wednesday in a 125-10 win at Dodge City.

The Tigers shoot 33.5 percent from 3-point range, casting nearly 38 shots from distance per game, making 12.3 treys per contest. Cowley was 11 of 43 from distance on Wednesday at Dodge City.

That offensive juggernaut will put a Blue Dragon defense that regained its form on Wednesday to a test.

Hutch held an opponent to less than 70 points for the first time in eight games and limited Kansas City to 30.5 percent in a dominant 98-67 victory on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. That effort was on the heels of a defensive season-worst 50 percent allowed to Allen in an 87-80 loss last Saturday.

Using their fifth different starting lineup, the Blue Dragons shot 54.4 percent and sank nine 3-pointers against the Blue Devils. Tyler Brown, who hit four 3-pointers, and Saquan Singleton tied for team-high scoring honors with 18 points. Majok Kuath added 16 and Frankyn Batista added 10 off the bench. The Blue Dragons had 26 assists on 37 made baskets against KCK.

Saturday's game is the second in a stretch of five games in 11 days for the Blue Dragons. Hutchinson will return home to open Jayhawk West play on Monday against Northwest Tech before closing out the run with road games against Garden City and Pratt.

Information Box

BLUE DRAGON MEN'S BASKETBALL

No. 12 Hutchinson (13-2, 4-2) at No. 20 Cowley (14-3, 6-1)

When: Saturday, January 11, 2020

Where: Scott Auditorium, Arkansas City, KS

Tipoff: 7:30 p.m.

Live Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5), 7:20 p.m.

Live Video: Blue Dragon Sports Network, 7:20 p.m.Twitter: @bluedragonsport