49ers' Shanahan says Wilks ‘messed up' on zero-blitz vs. Vikings originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
SANTA CLARA — There was no debate whether 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ decision to call an all-out blitz late in the first half of San Francisco's loss in Minnesota on Monday right was a good risk to take.
Coach Kyle Shanahan ended that discussion on Wednesday.
“He knows he messed up on that call,” Shanahan said of Wilks.
"He knows he messed up on that call."
Shanahan and Wilks had a conversation about the zero-blitz call that led to the Vikings' 60-yard TD on Monday pic.twitter.com/EuHOzoxAh4
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) October 25, 2023
The Minnesota Vikings faced a third-and-6 situation from their own 40-yard line with 16 seconds remaining in the first half.
Wilks called for a blitz that brought seven pass-rushers at veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had just enough time to unload a pass toward rookie receiver Jordan Addison, against whom 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward had tight coverage.
Ward was in line for the interception, as the ball actually got into his chest. But Addison stuck with it, and took the ball away from Ward.
Then, Addison remained on his feet and ran the final 35 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. The play gave the Vikings a 16-7 lead at halftime.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 24, 2023
Shanahan explained his philosophy on calling all-out blitzes that take the safety out of the middle of the field.
“I have no problem with zero blitzes, especially when people need a lot of yards,” he said. “If you need 20 yards to kick a field goal, I have no problem with a zero blitz.
“But I do (have a problem) when there’s 16 seconds left. That’s where he (Wilks) lost track. There was no necessary need for that just because of the time.”
He is in his first season as 49ers’ defensive coordinator after DeMeco Ryans left that position in the offseason to become head coach of the Houston Texans.
Wilks is scheduled to speak with the media on Thursday, but Shanahan foreshadowed the message Wilks is likely to deliver.
“I have no problem with that play call, but when it’s that time, you can’t do that,” Shanahan said. “That’s not an option.”