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Cousins, Vikings hold on for 24-16 victory vs. 49ers

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kirk Cousins gave the Minnesota Vikings exactly what they needed for a victorious debut by their new quarterback.

The throws Cousins made in tight coverage at important times were on target. Unlike Jimmy Garoppolo, he kept the ball out of the other team's hands.

Cousins passed for two touchdowns and the Vikings forced four turnovers, fueling a 24-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday that stuck Garoppolo with his first loss in eight games as an NFL starting quarterback.

Cousins connected with Stefon Diggs in the second quarter and Kyle Rudolph in the third quarter for scores, and the defense finished the job with three sacks and three second-half interceptions of Garoppolo. Mike Hughes turned one pick into a 28-yard touchdown return, the first by a rookie in a Vikings season opener.

''I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I've been given, and I just want to make good on it with every chance I get,'' said Cousins, who had no turnovers.

Harrison Smith sealed the game with an interception with 1:35 left . He also recovered a fumble by Alfred Morris at the 2-yard line after Linval Joseph stripped the ball just in front of the goal line in the late in the first half and sacked Garoppolo on a third-down safety blitz late in the fourth quarter .

''It was pretty smooth sailing there for a while,'' Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, ''and it was good to find the fight and the heart that we had there at the end.''

Garoppolo finished 15 for 33 for 261 yards and a touchdown pass to rookie Dante Pettis late in the third quarter. With an injury depleted offensive line in front of him and the absence of top wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, Garoppolo was unable to capitalize on the opportunity for a comeback after the 49ers defense forced three straight three-and-out possessions by the Vikings to start the fourth quarter. DeForest Buckner had 2 1/2 sacks for San Francisco.

''We knew it was going to be a tough challenge with the environment, going against a tough team,'' Garoppolo said. ''They stood up to everything we thought they would, but with all the things that went bad we still had a shot at the end there. Just a tough way to end it.''

Cousins went 20 for 36 for 244 yards, targeting Adam Thielen 12 times. Thielen caught six passes for 102 yards.

''He played the way he always does,'' said cornerback Richard Sherman, who made his 49ers debut. ''Efficient. Doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He's poised and doesn't get rattled.''

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook caught six passes for 55 yards. He said Cousins was ''locked in'' from the start.

''I like to see a guy next to me with that look in his eyes,'' Cook said.

TOO KITTLE TOO LATE

Tight end George Kittle had five catches for 90 yards, but the one he didn't make for the 49ers stood out. Wide open after beating Anthony Barr up the seam, Kittle had what would've been a 30-yard completion fall off his fingers at midfield. The third-down interception by Hughes came next to give the Vikings a 17-3 lead.

''Misjudged it,'' Kittle said. ''Thought it was a little closer to me. Probably ran a bit too far with my arms out. Just a bad play.''

MINNESOTA MEMORIES

Fred Zamberletti, the team's original athletic trainer who died last week at age 86, was honored with a pregame moment of silence. The Vikings also staged a 20th anniversary tribute to the 1998 squad that went 15-1 and reached the NFC championship game. Robert Smith, one of 28 former players who were introduced at halftime, received the loudest ovation. He focused on the current team at the end of his speech.

''We want to see them accomplish something that we weren't able to do,'' Smith told the crowd, ''and we want them to do it for you.''

INJURY REPORT

49ers: Goodwin hurt his right quadriceps in the first quarter and didn't return. ... RG Mike Person went down in the second quarter. His replacement Joshua Garnett was hurt in the third quarter, both with left foot injuries. With three backups on the OL already inactive, rookie Mike McGlinchey moved from RT to RG for the first time in his life while Garry Gilliam took over at RT ... With two starters at LB already out, Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and Reuben Foster (suspension), Smith's sub, Brock Coyle, suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter and needed several minutes to get up.

Vikings: CB Trae Waynes hurt his right knee while ripping a deep pass away from Pettis in the end zone in the second quarter and didn't return. With Mackensie Alexander (ankle) inactive and Terence Newman retired, the Vikings had SS Jayron Kearse in slot coverage in the nickel defense with Hughes on the outside for Waynes.

UP NEXT

49ers: Host Detroit next Sunday. They haven't lost to the Lions at home since 1975, a streak of 12 straight wins.

Vikings: Play at Green Bay next Sunday. They haven't faced the Packers on the road in September since the 2008 season opener.

---

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
D. Pettis 18 WR
61 ReYds, ReTD, 2 RECs
12
FPTS
K. Cousins 8 QB
244 PaYds, 2 PaTDs, 26 RuYds
23
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 8:17
R.Gould 22 yard field goal is GOOD Center-K.Nelson Holder-B.Pinion.
11
plays
82
yds
5:34
pos
16
24
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:31
R.Gould extra point is GOOD Center-K.Nelson Holder-B.Pinion.
plays
yds
pos
13
24
Touchdown 0:40
J.Garoppolo pass deep left to D.Pettis for 22 yards TOUCHDOWN.
7
plays
75
yds
3:51
pos
12
24
Point After TD 4:22
D.Carlson extra point is GOOD Center-K.McDermott Holder-M.Wile.
plays
yds
pos
6
24
Touchdown 4:27
K.Cousins pass short right to K.Rudolph for 11 yards TOUCHDOWN.
9
plays
75
yds
4:53
pos
6
23
Field Goal 9:24
R.Gould 33 yard field goal is GOOD Center-K.Nelson Holder-B.Pinion.
5
plays
60
yds
1:26
pos
6
17
Point After TD 10:41
D.Carlson extra point is GOOD Center-K.McDermott Holder-M.Wile
plays
yds
pos
3
17
Touchdown 10:48
J.Garoppolo pass short right intended for K.Bourne INTERCEPTED by M.Hughes at SF 28. M.Hughes for 28 yards TOUCHDOWN.
0
plays
0
yds
0:00
pos
3
16
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 11:56
R.Gould 42 yard field goal is GOOD Center-K.Nelson Holder-B.Pinion.
7
plays
51
yds
1:57
pos
3
10
Point After TD 13:39
D.Carlson extra point is GOOD Center-K.McDermott Holder-M.Wile.
plays
yds
pos
0
10
Touchdown 13:44
K.Cousins pass deep left to S.Diggs for 22 yards TOUCHDOWN.
6
plays
53
yds
2:32
pos
0
9
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 4:04
D.Carlson 48 yard field goal is GOOD Center-K.McDermott Holder-M.Wile.
7
plays
40
yds
3:21
pos
0
3
Team Stats
Time of Pos 28:51 31:09
1st Downs 20 19
Rushing 6 3
Passing 10 15
Penalty 4 1
3rd Down Conv 5-13 7-17
4th Down Conv 0-0 0-1
Total Net Yards 327 343
Total Plays 61 71
Avg Gain 5.4 4.8
Net Yards Rushing 90 116
Rush Attempts 25 32
Avg Rush Yards 3.6 3.6
Net Yards Passing 237 227
Comp. - Att. 15-33 20-36
Yards Per Pass 7.2 6.3
Sacked - Yards Lost 3-24 3-17
Penalties - Yards 3-21 7-52
Touchdowns 1 2
Rushing TDs 0 0
Passing TDs 1 2
Other 0 0
Turnovers 4 1
Fumbles - Lost 2-1 1-1
Int. Thrown 3 0
Punts - Avg 4-41.8 6-36.0
Return Yards 14 7
Punts - Returns 2-14 3-7
Kickoffs - Returns 0-0 0-0
Int. - Returns 0-0 3-0
Kicking 4/4 4/4
Extra Points 1/1 3/3
Field Goals 3/3 1/1
Red Zone Eff. 1-4 -25% 1-2 -50%
Goal to Go Eff. 0-2 -0% 1-1 -100%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
49ers 0-1 0310316
Vikings 1-0 3714024
237 PASS YDS 227
90 RUSH YDS 116
327 TOTAL YDS 343
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
J. Garoppolo 10 QB
10
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
45.5% 261 1 3 45.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
45.5% 522 2 6 45.1
J. Garoppolo 15/33 261 1 3 10
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Breida 22 RB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 46 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
22 92 0
M. Breida 11 46 0 11 4
A. Morris 46 RB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
12 38 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
24 76 0
A. Morris 12 38 0 14 1
J. Garoppolo 10 QB
10
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 6 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 12 0
J. Garoppolo 2 6 0 4 10
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
G. Kittle 85 TE
9
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
9 5 90 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 10 180 0
G. Kittle 9 5 90 0 36 9
D. Pettis 18 WR
12
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 2 61 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 4 122 2
D. Pettis 5 2 61 1 39 12
K. Juszczyk 44 RB
5
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 56 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 112 0
K. Juszczyk 2 1 56 0 56 5
T. Taylor 81 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 4 28 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 8 56 0
T. Taylor 6 4 28 0 10 2
P. Garcon 15 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 2 21 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 4 42 0
P. Garcon 6 2 21 0 11 2
M. Breida 22 RB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 5 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 10 0
M. Breida 2 1 5 0 5 4
K. Bourne 84 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 0 0 0
K. Bourne 1 0 0 0 0 0
M. Goodwin 11 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 0 0 0
M. Goodwin 1 0 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
F. Warner 48 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
11-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
22-2 0 0.0
F. Warner 11-1 0.0 0 1
J. Tartt 29 SAF
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-2 0 0.0
J. Tartt 5-1 0.0 0 0
B. Coyle 50 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-4 0 0.0
B. Coyle 4-2 0.0 0 0
A. Colbert 27 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-2 0 0.0
A. Colbert 4-1 0.0 0 0
C. Marsh 54 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
C. Marsh 3-0 0.0 0 0
D. Buckner 99 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-4 0 2.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-8 0 4.5
D. Buckner 3-4 2.5 0 0
A. Armstead 91 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-4 0 0.0
A. Armstead 3-2 0.0 0 0
K. Williams 24 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
K. Williams 3-0 0.0 0 0
E. Lee 47 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.0
E. Lee 3-1 0.0 0 0
E. Mitchell 90 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-4 0 0.0
E. Mitchell 1-2 0.0 0 0
R. Blair 98 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.5
R. Blair 1-1 0.5 0 0
S. Day 96 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
S. Day 1-0 0.0 0 0
J. Ward 20 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. Ward 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Jones 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
D. Jones 1-0 0.0 0 0
A. Witherspoon 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
A. Witherspoon 0-1 0.0 0 0
S. Thomas 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
S. Thomas 0-1 0.0 0 0
R. Sherman 25 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-4 0 0.0
R. Sherman 0-2 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
R. Gould 9 K
10
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
3/3 1/1
SEASON FG XP
6/6 2/2
R. Gould 3/3 42 1/1 10
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
B. Pinion 5 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 43.5 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
8 43.5 2
B. Pinion 4 43.5 1 48
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Pettis 18 WR
12
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 7.0 14 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 7.0 14 0
D. Pettis 2 7.0 14 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
K. Cousins 8 QB
23
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.6% 244 2 0 95.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.6% 488 4 0 95.1
K. Cousins 20/36 244 2 0 23
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
L. Murray 25 RB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 42 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
22 84 0
L. Murray 11 42 0 9 4
D. Cook 33 RB
7
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
16 40 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
32 80 0
D. Cook 16 40 0 15 7
K. Cousins 8 QB
23
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 26 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
8 52 0
K. Cousins 4 26 0 13 23
S. Diggs 14 WR
10
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 8 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 16 0
S. Diggs 1 8 0 8 10
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
A. Thielen 19 WR
10
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
12 6 102 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 12 204 0
A. Thielen 12 6 102 0 34 10
D. Cook 33 RB
7
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
7 6 55 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 12 110 0
D. Cook 7 6 55 0 17 7
S. Diggs 14 WR
10
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 3 43 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 6 86 2
S. Diggs 6 3 43 1 22 10
L. Treadwell 11 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 2 18 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 4 36 0
L. Treadwell 4 2 18 0 16 1
K. Rudolph 82 TE
7
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 11 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 22 2
K. Rudolph 2 1 11 1 11 7
D. Morgan 89 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 9 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 18 0
D. Morgan 1 1 9 0 9 0
T. Conklin 83 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 6 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 12 0
T. Conklin 1 1 6 0 6 0
C. Ham 30 FB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 0 0 0
C. Ham 2 0 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
H. Smith 22 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 1 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
14-2 2 2.0
H. Smith 7-1 1.0 1 0
S. Richardson 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-2 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-4 0 0.5
S. Richardson 4-2 0.5 0 0
L. Joseph 98 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 0.0
L. Joseph 4-0 0.0 0 1
D. Hunter 99 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 2.0
D. Hunter 4-0 1.0 0 0
B. Gedeon 42 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-2 0 0.0
B. Gedeon 3-1 0.0 0 0
M. Hughes 21 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 2 0.0
M. Hughes 3-0 0.0 1 0
E. Griffen 97 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.5
E. Griffen 3-1 0.5 0 0
E. Kendricks 54 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.0
E. Kendricks 3-1 0.0 0 0
T. Waynes 26 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
T. Waynes 2-0 0.0 0 0
X. Rhodes 29 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 2 0.0
X. Rhodes 2-0 0.0 1 0
A. Sendejo 34 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-2 0 0.0
A. Sendejo 2-1 0.0 0 0
A. Barr 55 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
A. Barr 1-1 0.0 0 0
H. Hill 24 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
H. Hill 1-0 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
D. Carlson 7 K
6
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 3/3
SEASON FG XP
2/2 6/6
D. Carlson 1/1 48 3/3 6
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Wile 6 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
6 38.3 4
SEASON NO AVG IN20
12 38.3 8
M. Wile 6 38.3 4 56
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Sherels 35 DB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 2.3 8 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
6 2.3 8 0
M. Sherels 3 2.3 8 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:36 SF 4 2:11 5 18 Punt
3:56 SF 25 2:45 3 -5 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:39 SF 25 1:57 7 51 FG
10:33 MIN 29 8:04 14 69 Fumble
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 SF 25 0:45 3 1 Punt
11:23 SF 18 0:35 3 2 INT
10:41 SF 25 1:26 5 60 FG
4:22 SF 25 3:51 7 75 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:54 SF 14 5:34 11 82 FG
7:16 SF 45 1:23 3 -5 Punt
1:56 SF 11 0:14 2 0 INT
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 MIN 25 5:32 9 37 Punt
7:23 MIN 30 3:21 7 40 FG
1:20 MIN 47 2:32 6 53 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:42 MIN 25 1:20 3 38 Fumble
2:30 MIN 2 2:18 12 45 Half
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:24 MIN 30 2:59 5 5 Punt
9:15 MIN 25 4:53 9 75 TD
0:31 MIN 25 0:48 3 2 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:43 SF 38 0:54 3 -1 Punt
8:09 MIN 25 1:00 3 1 Punt
5:54 MIN 18 3:57 8 32 Punt
1:45 SF 15 1:35 4 6 Downs