A 49ers team that started sleepily and had only 15 yards of offense in the first quarter woke up in the second. They lead the game 7-6 (and have 211 yards) thanks to a 49-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree. But there are all sorts of distressing signs as the playoffs loom, including another slow start and two more field-goal misses by David Akers. Both kicks - from 44 and 40 yards - drooped just left of the upright.
Crabtree has four catches - for 31, 23, 49 and 19 yards - and became the first 49ers pass catcher to surpass 1,000 receiving yards since Terrell Owens did it in 2003. He also has 116 yards at the half, six away from his career-best mark.
The 49ers badly could use a first-round bye, and so far everything is falling into place. They are leading while the Vikings have a first-half lead on the Packers. If both scores hold up, the 49ers would finish as the NFC's No. 2 playoff seed and would not play until the weekend of Jan. 12, which would be a home game.
Right defensive end Ricky Jean Francois, substituting for Justin Smith, has gotten off to a slow start just like he did last week in Seattle, but he has begun to settle down just as he did a week ago. Colin Kaepernick is 7-13 for 146 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating is 119.4. Receiver A.J. Jenkins had his first pass-catch opportunity in the NFL. He dropped a third-down pass that would have easily picked up a first down.
- Matt Barrows