(Sept. 24, 2012) -- The Minnesota Vikings outgained the 49ers, out-executed the visiting team and produced more touchdowns on scoring drives in a 24-13 victory.
San Francisco, meanwhile, committed more penalties and had more turnovers in the team’s first loss of the 2012 regular season.
“The Vikings did a better job all the way around,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said after his team fell to 2-1 on the season. “We didn’t get it done.”
San Francisco will be trying to put things back together while spending the week in Youngstown, Ohio, as they prepare for next Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets.
“I know this team. We’re a fighting team, and we’ll continue to fight,” said tight end Vernon Davis, who caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith, giving him at least one receiving score in all three games this year and four on the season. Davis’ score was one of the few highlights on the day for the Niners.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder helped Minnesota take command early. In the first half alone, the second-year quarterback completed 15 of 23 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. He also added 33 rushing yards, including a 23-yard scramble for a score and was not sacked all afternoon. By game’s end, Ponder had completed 21 of 35 passes for 198 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers.
“He had a fine game,” Harbaugh said of Ponder. “He played well, did some good things with his feet.”
By comparison, Smith was 24 of 35 with 204 yards and two turnovers -- a fumble and an interception.
Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson picked off a fourth-quarter Smith pass with the 49ers trying to make a late comeback while trailing by 11. It was Smith’s first interception in 249 pass attempts, ending his franchise-record streak for most passes without throwing a pick. Smith also lost a fumble on a Jared Allen sack.
In total, Minnesota ran 18 more offensive plays (76 to 58), outgained the 49ers (344 to 280), recorded five fewer penalties and had one fewer turnover.
Ponder led the Vikings on three first-half scoring drives to give Minnesota a 17-3 halftime lead.
The Niners' Davis finished the game with five catches for 53 yards. Michael Crabtree added six catches for 40 yards, and Mario Maningham caught five passes for 56 yards. On the ground, Frank Gore picked up 63 yards on 12 carries, but lost a crucial fumble midway through the fourth quarter.