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The Lookaround: 49ers keep pace in NFC playoff picture

Plus was Russ cooking on Monday Night following two rough starts?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Los Angeles Rams brutal 36-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Rams fans likely aren’t interested in the state of the NFC West. However, LA isn’t out of the race yet and some great action happened this weekend, including the San Francisco 49ers taking care of business at home against the Vikings and Russell Wilson’s third start in Washington after his brutal thumb injury.

Niners back into center of playoff picture following home win over Vikings

The greatest highlight from this game had to come from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins when he failed to line up behind his center:

I don’t know how a seasoned vet like Cousins misplaced someone so big. Centers are ginormous human beings so you can’t exactly lose them in a crowd. Except, the center was surrounded by other large humans so maybe I understand his confusion. John Elway did this once in his career but he was a rookie so it was easily forgivable. Cousins, well, let’s just say he’ll rightfully be enshrined in the meme-worthy Hall of Fame thanks to his blunder.

All joking aside, the San Francisco 49ers took care of business at home Sunday in a 34-26 win against the Minnesota Vikings. This was thanks in part to big afternoons by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Elijah Mitchell. Jimmy G went 17-of-26 for 230 yards with a touchdown and a pick, finishing with a 90.2 passer rating.

Mitchell recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing day of his rookie season, ending with a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. The rookie is now in the top-10 in the league for rushing yards in 2021. He’s had a darn impressive campaign despite not being highly drafted and missing a few games due to injuries:

Mitchell also found himself in pretty elite company in terms of running backs coached by Kyle Shanahan:

Pretty wild if you ask me, but Eli wasn’t the only one running wild in San Fran. Star wide receiver Deebo Samuel carried the rock six times for 66 yards and two touchdowns, including this nifty 49-yard dash (not for a touchdown but still cool):

Samuel, who has often been mentioned in the same breath as legendary playmaker Jerry Rice this season, has joined some rarified air following the victory:

Defensively, the 49ers did an excellent job containing Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook on the ground before being carted off late in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. Cook was held to 39 yards on 10 carries, his longest being a 30-yard scramble. Overall, Minnesota was held to 67 yards on the ground on 18 totes, a 3.7-yard average.

Next Week: The 49ers will travel to the Emerald City to play the Seahawks. Despite the Niners being without top players Fred Warner and Deebo Samuel against the Hawks, it likely won’t matter. The 49ers could play all backups on defense and the Seahawks would still be unable to score on them.

Washington Football Team intercepts Seattle’s chance for a win

Third time wasn’t exactly the charm for Russell Wilson in the Seahawks 17-15 loss against Washington. Wilson played arguably his best game since returning from his gruesome thumb injury, going 20-of-31 for 247 yards and two touchdowns.

It was also his birthday so would the football gods bless him with a win on his big day? Down eight with a little over two minutes left to go, Russ led his sputtering offense on a 10-play, 96-yard drive to tie the game. Wilson was able to complete this 32-yard touchdown to a wide-open Freddie Swain:

Unfortunately, the football gods are some mean, cruel dudes who enjoy chaos so this is how they decided to usher in Wilson’s 33rd year on this earth:

Happy frickin’ birthday to you Russell. (Don’t worry Russ, I’ll send you a nice cake with a file inside so you can FINALLY break free from Pete Carroll.) Offensively, Seattle had zero run support, gaining only 34 yards on 12 carries. Russell was the team’s leading receiver with 16 yards on two scrambles.

Including the 96-yard drive, the team finished with only 267 yards of offense and had a mere 10 first downs all night. Washington’s clock-draining possessions didn’t help their case either as they held the ball for nearly 42 minutes. It seems a shift in Seattle is necessary as a once powerful era has crashed to an sudden and violent thud.

Before I end this edition of The Lookaround, I would like to congratulate the best safety in the nation, Jamal Adams, for passing nose tackle Vince Wilfork in career interceptions! His fourth (fourth!) career pick came near the end of the second quarter when his better safety counterpart Quandre Diggs knocked the ball into the air where it bounced into his hands:

Still beyond shocked, and honestly impressed that this waste of two first-rounders actually caught the ball. But, I won’t fault him for being excited that he didn’t develop a case of the alligator arms on his highlight-reel snag. Looks like someone’s getting celebratory cookie cake with Russ tonight!

Next Week: The Seahawks will host the red-hot 49ers in a game that will probably be close due to the Hawks being insanely offensively-challenged since Wilson returned from his thumb injury.