No. 4: Running Game
The San Francisco 49ers finished the year behind only the Baltimore Ravens in rushing yards per game, averaging 144.1 yards per game during the regular season. But interestingly, the DVoA numbers don’t shine as brightly on the running game, with the Niners ending the campaign with the 13th-most efficient rushing offense at -0.5%.
During Saturday’s game, however, none of that mattered.
Led by running back Tevin Coleman, who ended with 22 carries for 105 yards (4.8 ypc) and two scores, easily his best game since his four-touchdown, 128 total-yard performance in Week 8 against Carolina.
Coleman’s grade via Pro Football Focus was also quite good, as his rushing grade ended up with a 75.6, his second-best outside of the aforementioned Panthers matchup. Most importantly, he managed, according to PFF, 61 of his yards after contact.
That’s something that he hasn’t created a lot of throughout this season.
Fellow back Raheem Mostert added 12 carries for 58 yards (4.8 ypc), while Matt Breida, who has seemed to disappear from the offensive game plan in recent weeks, managed just 8 carries for 17 yards and a late-game fumble.
The running game getting going allowed the 49ers to control the game, as they ran 68 plays to the Vikings’ 45, and held the ball for 38:27 versus the Vikings 21:33.
The success in the running game was a big reason why the Vikings struggled to get anything going on the offensive side of the ball.