According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Pettis' touchdown on his first career reception marked the first time a member of the 49ers saw their first career reception result in a touchdown since Vernon Davis against the Arizona Cardinals on 9/10/06 (31-yard touchdown reception). They haven't lost to the Lions at home since 1975, a streak of 12 straight wins.
In what was a game largely built on the quarterback battle between Kirk Cousins in his first official start with the Viking against Garoppolo, it was Minnesota's defense that made all the difference in the contest. In his first game since signing a lucrative multi-year deal this offseason, Garoppolo went 15-of-33 for 261 yards and a touchdown, while posting a QB rating of 45.1.
Asked afterward about that head-first hustle, Cousins acknowledged the risk of such a play and said he might have been better served with a stutter-step or some kind of move to try to make Lee miss. "Just a tough way to end it".
DEFENSE DIGS IN: The 49ers gave Garoppolo an opportunity with three straight three-and-out possessions by the Vikings in the fourth quarter. Thielen caught six passes for 102 yards. "If you're waiting for guys to be open, you're going to be waiting a long time". After Mike Person (second quarter) and Joshua Garnett (third quarter) went out, rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey had to slide over for the first action at guard of his life as Gary Gilliam entered at right tackle.
Vikings: CB Trae Waynes hurt his right knee while ripping a deep pass away from Pettis in the end zone in the second quarter.
So Garoppolo's performance certainly wasn't all bad. This was all capped off by Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith taking advantage of a wobbly thrown pass in traffic that he picked off to seal the game.
-Wide receiver Pierre Garcon made a leaping attempt and had his hands on the ball just as Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes bumped him to break up what would have been a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
After the Vikings took a 24-6 lead late in the third quarter, Garoppolo directed a seven-play, 75-yard drive to whittle the deficit back to 11 points.
-Tight end George Kittle would not have scored a touchdown had he not misjudged an over-the-shoulder throw from Garoppolo early in the third quarter, but the play would have gained approximately 40 yards.
"Misjudged it", Kittle said. "It didn't end the way we wanted, but I feel like we definitely had some momentum going, and if we can do that we'll be a pretty good offence".