The San Francisco 49ers are rolling, nearly reversing their 2-4 start.
And now, the 6-5 49ers — a 34-26 winner over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, November 28 at Levi’s Stadium — hold this title per one longtime NFL columnist:
San Francisco is still behind its bitter NFC West rival the Los Angeles Rams. However, during the 49ers’ tear of winning their last four of five games, they are now a game behind the once trendy Super Bowl pick who endured their third straight defeat at Green Bay 36-28.
Oh, the other California representative the L.A. Chargers? A 28-13 loser on the road to the Denver Broncos.
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The 49ers were the lone Golden State team that walked away with the “W” underneath the win column and have been crowned by the Cal-Berkeley grad Silver as the best in the state. But that’s not the only Twitter reaction involving the ‘Niners.
Reactions From Ex-49ers
Former All-Pro left tackle Joe Staley, who had been critical of the 49ers’ play during that 2-4 start, showed his enthusiasm in a five second clip posted by @NBCS49ers on Twitter:
Staley’s NBC Sports Bay Area colleague and former teammate Donte Whitner noticed shades of the 2019 NFC title run in this 49ers team that was on display against the Vikings.
“Elijah Mitchell, Brandon Aiyuk coming through when they needed him in big moments in the game, the defense getting turnovers…this is the same formula they used in 2019,” Whitner said.
That approach, however, wasn’t there from the early onset.
In the game’s first drive, Jimmy Garoppolo fired the football in the direction of Deebo Samuel. However, Vikings safety Harrison Smith rolled to Samuel’s side and jumped on the pass — resulting in Garoppolo’s first interception since the 31-17 Week 8 loss to Arizona.
And along came this crucial 4th down call that involved Adam Thielen dragging his feet:
Whitner didn’t like the start on the 49ers’ side. But loved the response afterwards.
“I didn’t like how they started the game. It seemed like they were getting away from that formula. They depended too much on Jimmy,” Whitner said. “But in the second half, they said ‘We’re going to get back to the way we play football: Running it with consistency and physicality and getting turnovers.’ And they closed it out.”
The third quarter, though, was when the 49ers hit a different gear. And it all began with this gear from Samuel:
Which eventually led to this play that broke the 14-14 halftime tie:
Then, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair stepped in front of the Pro Bowl wideout Thielen and shifted the tide the 49ers’ way.
One spectator loved the energy inside the stadium following those two plays. That spectator? Franchise legend Jerry Rice.
The Vikings, however, weren’t ready to pack up and leave. Special teams was a reason behind that.
But then, Josh Norman and Talanoa Hufanga tag teamed on the final critical stop the ‘Niners needed to seal the win.
Current 49ers React to Win
Nick Bosa recorded his 11th sack of the season in the win. The 49ers team that’s on a roll? Bosa knew how good they really were.
“We’re all excited to be back in the mix and have the season in our control. We always knew that we were a really good team,” Bosa told reporters after the game.
Mitchell returned to run for 133 yards on 27 carries — making it his fourth 100-yard game. Mitchell, like Whitner, also liked how the ‘Niners responded from the slow beginning.
“We started off kind of slow, but now we’re starting to hit that level now where we just keep it going,” Mitchell told NBC Sports Bay Area.
George Kittle showed his selfless side in the postgame press conference: Wearing an Elijah Mitchell T-Shirt.
The 49ers are back in the playoff fold, now sitting at the No. 6 spot and now trailing a game behind the No. 5 team the Rams and the No. 4 the Dallas Cowboys in the playoff standings for the NFC. They became, according to Bally Sports’ Silver, the best team in California.
And 49ers senior reporter Keiana Martin reminded online users that those words belonged to Silver.