SANTA CLARA (AP) — Alex Boone is taking at least a little credit for Carlos Hyde’s breakout game on the NFL’s big stage.
“Somebody owes me a steak. Seriously,” cracked Boone, the left guard who helped clear the way.
With franchise rushing leader Frank Gore long gone to the Colts, Hyde quickly showed the San Francisco 49ers still have a reliable power runner. He scored touchdowns on runs of 17 and 10 yards and finished with 168 yards rushing on 26 carries to lead the Niners to a 20-3 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Jim Tomsula’s debut as head coach minus the interim status he had for the final game of 2010.
Hyde wanted to outplay the better-known No. 28 on the field, Adrian Peterson. He did that and more.
“That was also in the back of my head, to outdo a guy who’s been leading the NFL in rushing. That’s tremendous to outdo a guy like that, Adrian Peterson, a great running back,” Hyde said. “I used to watch his highlights. To be able to outrush him, that’s great.”
Now, Hyde is the league’s leading rusher. Even if it’s only a small sample size.
Peterson ran 10 times for 31 yards playing his first game in more than a year following paid leave and then a suspension last year in the fallout from a child-abuse case against him in Texas.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t come out and play Vikings football offensively or defensively,” Peterson said. “This is going to be a good learning experience for us.”
Here are some things to take from the game:
SHAKING OFF THE RUST: Peterson hadn’t played since Week 1 of 2014 at St. Louis, so there were some adjustments to make on the fly.
He didn’t get his first carry until the second series. He is eager to study film to see what worked and what didn’t go so well.
“I felt a little hesitant a couple of times coming out of the shotgun,” he said. “I couldn’t really get into a rhythm. … It felt good to get back out there with the guys. It was good to get the cobwebs off, so to speak. It felt good to play football and take some hits.”
HAYNE’S DEBUT: Former Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne would rather forget his first NFL touch.
The 27-year-old rookie lost the fumble on a punt return in the first quarter when he misjudged the ball and had to dive forward to try to field it. He made a 1-yard run in the second quarter and caught a 7-yard pass.
Hayne was forced into running back duties as the only active backup after Reggie Bush was lost to a left calf injury with about 6 ½ minutes left in the first quarter. Tomsula didn’t consider it serious.
While Bruce Ellington handled the punt returns once Hayne joined the running game, that didn’t leave the popular Aussie feeling better about his night.
“It was obviously disappointing,” Hayne said. “I had to focus on the next job, and that was it.”
BRIDGEWATER UNDER PRESSURE: The Vikings will have to find a way to give Teddy Bridgewater better chances — and more protection.
The second-year quarterback was sacked five times.
Bridgewater was 23 of 32 for 231 yards, connecting on six passes to Mike Wallace for 63 yards.
“What you saw tonight was not a representation of the 2015 Vikings,” Bridgewater said. “It’s a reality check. Tonight shows us that we’re really not near as good as everyone thought we were.”
HEALTHY BOWMAN: 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman had one of five sacks against Bridgewater and also seven tackles in his first game in 20 months following a left knee injury sustained during the NFC championship game loss at Seattle in January 2014 that required surgery.
“NaVorro’s a big presence out there,” fellow linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. “He’s our team leader. He’s our defensive leader.”
In a year when the 49ers lost Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and Justin Smith on defense to retirement, seeing Bowman back is big.
“You can’t say enough about NaVorro Bowman and what he’s overcome,” Tomsula said. “You respect that.”
KAEPERNICK ON MONDAY NIGHT: Colin Kaepernick went 17 of 26 for 165 yards and improved to 5-0 on Monday night. He has thrown nine touchdown passes to no interceptions, too.
While he has yet to throw a touchdown pass this year — none during the eight preseason series he played, either — Hyde is certainly taking the pressure off.
“I just try to be that momentum builder for our offense, get the offense rolling, spark the offense so we’re able to drive down the field and put points on the board,” Hyde said.
By JANIE McCAULEY