Vikings take it to 49ers in Moss' homecoming

Vikings take it to 49ers in Moss' homecoming
September 23, 2012, 10:12 pm
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MINNEAPOLIS -- When receiver Randy Moss' name was announced Sunday as part of the 49ers' starting lineup, it elicited a huge reaction from the Minnesota fans.Moss was showered mostly with cheers.That was the highlight of Moss' day, as the 49ers fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 24-13 loss at the Metrodome."I want to thank the fans for the love," Moss said. "I really appreciate the love that they give."Moss, whose career began with seven seasons with the Vikings, had some opportunities to elicit more reaction from the fans in his first game in the dome as a visiting player.But quarterback Alex Smith misfired on a couple of throws, including one that could've resulted in an 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Smith's first attempt to Moss was a high throw that skipped through his hands."Those two plays early to Randy, he and I got to connect," Smith said. "I got to throw a better ball on both of those occasions because those are key plays. When I let both of them go, it felt good. I just didn't connect. They both came out high."He stayed positive the whole game. I got to hit those. Those opportunities don't happen often. You don't know how many you're going to get, especially in a game like this. You're just kicking yourself for not hitting that."Smith targeted six throws toward Moss, who played approximately 20 of the 49ers' 58 offensive plays. Moss finished with three catches for 27 yards. When asked about his play time afterward, Moss answered, "Next question."After convincing wins against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions -- two NFC North teams that made the playoffs a year ago -- the 49ers came crashing down with a loss to the Vikings, who finished 3-13 last season."I know the Vikings have always play teams tough, especially when they're an underdog," Moss said. "That's one thing that's Minnesota football. So we just going back at it and have practice this week and the Jets coming back. So we'll go ahead and watch the film and correct our mistakes."The 49ers (2-1) departed Minnesota on Sunday afternoon for a continuation of a 10-day road trip. The 49ers will practice this week in Youngstown, Ohio, before traveling to New Jersey to take on the New York Jets next week.The 49ers made plenty of mistakes in all phases of the game to begin this road trip on a sour note.Vikings second-year quarterback Christian Ponder sliced up the 49ers' defense on the opening drive, and converted a fourth-and-goal pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph to give Minnesota an early lead. The Vikings never trailed.Smith's streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception ended at 249 attempts when cornerback Josh Robinson picked him off late in the game. The 49ers committed three turnovers in the game, and scored just one touchdown on three trips into the red zone.And when the Vikings made mistakes in the fourth quarter, the 49ers could not take advantage. Safety Donte Whitner dropped a potential touchdown opportunity midway through the fourth quarter when he could not hold onto an easy interception."I dropped it. It was just a drop on my part, a play that I have to make," Whitner said. "That play right there could've changed the whole momentum of the football game."The 49ers did an acceptable job on running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed 25 times for 86 yards (3.4 average). But the Vikings converted 7 of 14 third-down opportunities.Offensively, the 49ers tried to rely on their passing attack. Smith completed 24 of 35 pass attempts for 204 yards with one touchdown -- a 1-yard toss to tight end Vernon Davis -- and one interception.Running back Frank Gore had 63 yards on just 12 rushing attempts. When asked why the 49ers get Gore more touches through the course of the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh responded, "I don't have an answer for you."The 49ers scored a touchdown on just one of their three trips inside the red zone. David Akers kicked two field goals, and another was blocked when Leonard Davis allowed penetration over left guard."The Vikings did a better job than we did all the way around," Harbaugh said. "We didn't get it done. There are a lot of reasons for that."There's going to be good. There's going to be bad. Today was a bad day, and we can't sulk abut it, can't complain, point fingers. You just have to suck it up. And I know we'll do that."