Sports

Vikings head coach complains about 49ers holding, George Kittle responds


Who doesn’t love some good post-game media sniping between two teams that just played a football game against one another? A comment by Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer after the game indicated the 49ers’ successful day on the ground came as a result of some lenient officiating. That comment prompted a response from 49ers tight end George Kittle.

One of the keys to the 49ers’ success on the ground was wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s effectiveness as a runner. He carried six times for 66 yards and two touchdowns. As a team San Francisco racked up 208 rushing yards and three scores on 39 carries. Zimmer in his post-game press conference was asked about those runs by Samuel and instead of crediting his opponent, blamed the officiating.

“The other ones were the fact these guys hold all the time, so they are grabbing us around the waist, grabbing our backs, and you know officials, they don’t want to call it every play. Until they start calling it every play, they’re not going to stop doing it.”

The 49ers and Vikings were both flagged five times. Minnesota drew 38 penalty yards compared to 57 for San Francisco.

One player who took exception to Zimmer’s post-game comment was 49ers tight end George Kittle. Here’s his response via ESPN’s Nick Wagoner:

“I think if you’re running your feet and hands inside, just because a guy spins and flails his arms, it’s not holding … If you’re gonna sit on the sideline and complain about holding the whole time, tell your guys to make better plays.”

It’s understandable why Zimmer might be frustrated. In his last two games against the 49ers, both losses, Zimmer’s defense has allowed 394 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 86 carries.

Whatever San Francisco is doing on the ground it’s been working this season. They’ve gone 42, 42 and 39 carries in each of their last three games and appear to have re-established themselves as one of the NFL’s premier rushing attacks. Meanwhile, the Vikings’ defense was 27th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA entering Sunday, and is allowing 4.8 yards per carry – second-worst in the NFL.

If the 49ers did get away with some holding, it’s because the officials gave a good running team the benefit of the doubt against arguably the worst run defense in the NFL.

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