49ers

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 24-16 loss to Vikings

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 24-16 loss to Vikings

A lot of things went wrong for the 49ers on Sunday, and the team still managed to stay within striking distance until the end of the season-opening 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Here is a look at the 49ers' first report card of the 2018 season:

Rushing Offense

The 49ers had to play all seven of their active offensive linemen after starting right guard Mike Person and backup Joshua Garnett exited with foot injuries. So it's probably not a big surprise that the 49ers struggled to gain consistency on the ground.

Matt Breida gained 46 yards on 11 attempts, and Alfred Morris added 38 yards on 12 carries. The big mistake was Morris’ first-half fumble at the goal line.

Grade: D

Passing Offense

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 261 yards, but he completed less than 50 percent of his attempts and was charged with three interceptions. Kendrick Bourne admitted to running a wrong route, which contributed to one of Garoppolo’s passes going for a pick six.

Many other chances got away, including Dante Pettis and Pierre Garçon failing to come up with possible touchdown receptions. George Kittle dropped a deep pass that could’ve gone for a TD, and Garoppolo overthrew him when he was open in the end zone another time. Pettis’ first NFL reception was a 22-yard TD at the end of a Garoppolo scramble drill.

Grade: D-minus

Rushing Defense

Explosive Vikings running back Dalvin Cook managed just 2.5 yards per carry on 16 rushing attempts, and Latavius Murry was held under 4 yards per carry, too. So, although the 49ers had some tackling issues, the run defense was tight.

Linebacker Fred Warner covered up a mistake on defense when he punched the ball out of Cook’s grasp. Richard Sherman recovered the fumble for the 49ers’ only takeaway of the game.

Grade: B-plus

Passing Defense

Kirk Cousins threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns -- both on plays when defenders Ahkello Witherspoon and Jaquiski Tartt didn't look back for the ball in the air. DeForest Buckner had a huge game with 2 ½ sacks. He had just three sacks all of last season.

Linebacker Brock Coyle did not have a great day in coverage (and later left the game with a concussion), and the secondary had too many mixups.

Grade: B-minus

Special Teams

Robbie Gould connected on field goals of 42, 33 and 22 yards, as he was forced to take over when the offense stalled. Punter Bradley Pinion averaged a solid 41.8 yards net on his four punts. Pettis muffed a punt, but the 49ers recovered the ball, and he averaged 7 yards on two returns.

Grade: B

Overall

Sure, the 49ers hung in the game until the final minute against a Vikings team that has Super Bowl aspirations. But this was a sloppy performance with some bright spots mixed in. The four turnovers were costly. And when the 49ers had opportunities to make game-changing plays, they did not come through. The defensive effort was good, but there also were a lot of missed tackles.

There’s no shame in losing to the Vikings, but the 49ers let this one get away from them.

Grade: C-minus

49ers-Packers odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks in NFL playoff game

49ers-Packers odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks in NFL playoff game

With the 49ers' Week 12 thrashing of the Packers in mind, Vegas oddsmakers have made San Francisco heavy favorites over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Back on Nov. 24, the 49ers took it to Aaron Rodgers and Co., beating the Packers 37-8.

But Sunday's game at Levi's Stadium isn't setting up to be as easy for the 49ers. The Packers are rolling, having won six straight games dating back to the regular season.

Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and he will want to avenge that 29-point drubbing from earlier in the season.

But the 49ers' defense is fully healthy with Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt all ready to go for the NFC title game.

The winner gets a trip to Miami for Super Bowl LIV, where the winner of the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game will await them.

It's going to be a classic under the bright lights in Santa Clara.

[RELATED: How to watch 49ers-Packers]

LINE

Caesars: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Consensus: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Westgate: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Wynn: 49ers -7 (-120)

PREDICTIONS

Nick Wagoner, ESPN.com: 49ers 30, Packers 20
Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com: Packers 28, 49ers 27
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Packers 24, 49ers 21
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: 49ers 28, Packers 13
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: 49ers 30, Packers 26
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Packers 27, 49ers 26

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

49ers vs. Packers live stream: How to watch NFL playoff game online, on TV

49ers vs. Packers live stream: How to watch NFL playoff game online, on TV

The 49ers have a golden opportunity to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013.

With a win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers would head to Miami for Super Bowl LIV to take on the winner of the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game.

San Francisco opened as seven-point favorites, but that number has risen to -7.5 in recent days.

Injuries hampered the 49ers for most of the season, but they will enter the game against the Packers with a clean bill of health. Similarly, the Packers only have one player listed on their injury report.

Back in Week 12, the 49ers thrashed the Packers, 37-8, in Santa Clara. But no one is expecting San Francisco to cakewalk over Green Bay this time.

In that Nov. 24 matchup, vaunted 49ers defense held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 198 yards of total offense. Rodgers completed 20 of 33 passes for just 104 yards. San Francisco will need another performance like that if they want to play on Sunday, Feb. 2 in sunny Florida.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch vs. Packers]

Here's how to watch the 49ers-Packers NFC Championship Game:

When: Sunday, Jan. 19 at 6:40 p.m. ET/3:40 p.m. PT
TV: FOX
Stream: FoxSports.com

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.