SANTA CLARA, California – Hopefully for the benefit of New York football and its sad current state, Dave Gettleman and Joe Douglas had a close look at the Vikings' demolition by the 49ers in Saturday's NFC Divisional Playoffs at Levi’s Stadium.
Because exactly what makes the 49er the undisputed favorite to win the Super Bowl in three weeks, both Gettleman, the General Manager of the Giants, and Douglas, the GM of the Jets, must concentrate on this offseason: the scrimmage Line.
Here the 49ers dominated the Vikings on their way to the home game of the NFC championship next Sunday. On both sides of the ball. The San Francisco offensive line had the Viking defensive front, and its defensive front stifled the Minnesota offensive.
The common denominator for the problems of the Giants and Jets begins and ends with a bad offensive line game and too little pass rush.
These are two things the 49ers do just like every team in the league. That's why they're 14: 3 the best team in the league and a game outside of a Super Bowl berth.
The 49ers broke a stubborn Viking team mentally and physically on Saturday.
And when it was over, they behaved as if they had been there before – despite the fact that Saturday was the franchise's first playoff game since 2013 and that they had a 10-22 record in the past two seasons had set up.
"I was excited when I got into the locker room after the game because the boys were excited that we won but nobody really celebrated," said Joe Staley, 13, age 49. “We know how special this team is and what we can do this year. Guys are really excited and focused and we keep going. "
The beauty of this 49ers team is the variety of ways it can beat teams.
If you need quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball around the yard 35 times and throw three or four TDs, the Niners can win that way. If you have to play the whole game on the ball – like 47 rushing against the Vikings – you can win that way too.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan's offensive system looks like a nightmare that needs to be defended with all its misguided elements.
"I can't imagine what it's like to play linebackers against us because there are so many moving parts and so many people going in different directions in every game," said 49-man full-back Kyle Juszczyk.
Shanahan overtook Viking head coach Mike Zimmer in the first half. Zimmer ended the run with eight goals at the start of the game, and Shanahan let Garoppolo play defense to death, finishing 5 out of 6 for 56 yards on the first run to take a 7-0 lead.
Then Shanahan returned to the running game, leaving Garoppolo as a virtual viewer, and the Vikings couldn't stop the run. Ultimately, the running game broke the Vikings' will – especially after a touchdown ride of eight games in the third quarter, with the 49ers competing in every game and taking a 24-10 lead.
During this stretch, they ran the ball in 12 consecutive games and emasculated the Minnesota defense, which was so unglued that players argued with each other on the field.
"We have shown that we can win in different ways," said Staley.
"I just feel like we have an answer to everything," said Kendrick Bourne, who scored the first touchdown.
"If you look at our offense and want to double [cover] Someone, you're going to get in trouble, "said Deebo Samuel, a 49er recipient.
Appendix A: Tight End George Kittle was arguably the most productive offensive weapon of the 49er. He got three passes against the Vikings for 16 meters, and it didn't matter.
Appendix B: Garoppolo only threw the ball 19 times and finished 11 for 131 yards, and it didn't matter.
"Kyle makes it difficult," said Juszczyk about Shanahan. "If you succeed with something early, Kyle can ride that wave and roll with everything that works."
The common denominator of all successes, the reason why Shanahan's complex offense works is the line of attack. The same applies to the defense, in which five defenders produced six sacks and the Minnesota offensive only endured up to seven defeats in the game.
"We were just legendary, ourselves," said 49er linebacker Kwon Alexander.
"We knew what was going to happen," said Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
They faced the best team in the NFL with the best offensive line and the best defenses.
Hopefully Gettleman and Douglas made good notes as they prepared for free decision making and the draft. Because this is the only way to advance the Giants and Jets.