After the 49ers cut Minnesota's Monday night lead from 10-0 to 10-7 with 1:01 left in the first half, it appeared that the 49ers would take the momentum into the locker room.
They did not.
A disastrous cover-zero blitz on third and 15 from the Vikings' 40 resulted in a 60-yard touchdown to receiver Jordan Addison. Minnesota led at the break, 16-7.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan previously has said that defensive coordinator Steve Wilks knows he made a mistake. On Thursday, Wilks said so himself.
"I take full responsibility for that call," Wilks said, via 49ersWebZone.com. "I have to do a better job and put the guys in a better position. We have good players. I know that, and can't really press the issue. And with that, moving forward, it's my responsibility to do that. So I wish I could take it back, but again, I got to do better."
The fact that cornerback Charvarius Ward had a chance to intercept the pass doesn't matter. He shouldn't have been put in the position of what basically was a 50-50 proposition.
Really, what was the upside? Would Ward have returned the ball for a touchdown? Would he have gotten to field-goal range?
That's the problem with the call. High risk, low reward. It defies the most fundamental of the analytics-based approaches to the game. The percentage chance of having something bad happen is high. The percentage chance of having something good happen is low.
The entire situation made for intriguing conversation and analysis this week because 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan delegates the defensive play-calling to Wilks. Shanahan does not micromanage. He does not overrule. He does not veto.
The broader question is whether he should. There's a line between delegation and abdication. Also, Shanahan is ultimately responsible for whatever happens. There aren't co-head coaches. It's on him when something like that happens.
At a minimum, Shanahan could have called a timeout once he realized that Wilks was sending seven blitzers when he shouldn't have. Maybe the next time something like that is about to happen, Shanahan will. Ideally, for the 49ers, there won't be another next time something like that is about to happen.