Carlos Hyde was by far the most productive No. 28 on the field Monday night, and his 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns propelled the 49ers to a 20-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings to begin the Jim Tomsula era.
The 49ers’ opening drive promised energy and fun – Tomsula hallmarks – as the team used new formations, wide runs and quarterback rollouts to quickly march deep into Vikings territory.
But as was the case a year ago, the offense stalled near the line of scrimmage and Phil Dawson’s 28-yard field-goal attempt was blocked. That triggered a string of errors, including a muffed punt return attempt by Jarryd Hayne and an illegal block that wiped out an 85-yard punt return by Bruce Ellington.
The 49ers regained their early punch late in the second quarter on a drive fueled by six runs by Hyde, who this season is taking over for franchise rushing leader Frank Gore.
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His best run came on the last play of the drive when he started to his right, spun around to shake off pursuing Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen and then outsprinted the rest of the defense for a 10-yard touchdown.
Hyde added a 17-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter on one of the many zone-blocking plays that seem to suit his cut-and-go style.
As has been the case in previous encounters with the Vikings, the 49ers’ defense mostly handled the other No. 28, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, who had only four carries in the first half.
After Dawson kicked a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter to give San Francisco a 10-0 lead, the Vikings mostly threw the ball, and Peterson finished with 10 carries for 31 yards.