There were the Vikings, driving late with a chance to tie the game and potentially send it to overtime.
Minnesota's offense ultimately couldn't come through, as the Vikings final two offensive possessions ended in 49ers territory but each ultimately ended with zero points.
As a result, the Vikings took a 34-26 loss in Week 12, a defeat that dropped them to 5-6 on the season.
But if you're looking for a reason for the loss, and gleaning for the biggest stretch of the game, it wasn't the fourth quarter that cost the Vikings.
Instead, it was a four-plus minute stretch before and after halftime where the wheels seemingly fell off for the Vikings.
Let's set the stage…
Minnesota led 14-7 before punting the ball away to San Francisco. The 49ers took over at their own 15-yard line with 8 minutes and 38 seconds left in the second half.
San Francisco got three quick first downs, but Minnesota's defense appeared to have gotten off the field by stopping a trick play. Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson, however, was called for holding, and the 49ers offense got a fresh set of downs.
The 49ers later converted a third-and-11 to get in the red zone before tying the score at 14 with just 18 seconds left. It's a familiar scene for a Vikings defense that has allowed a league-worst 66 points in the final two minutes of first halves.
Boosted by a 30-yard kickoff return from Kene Nwangwu, Minnesota started at its own 40. Dalvin Cook caught a 14-yard pass to get just inside 49ers territory, but Kirk Cousins' final pass of the half is incomplete.
The Vikings take all three timeouts into the half as Cousins is frustrated the Vikings couldn't get points before the half.
"We just weren't able to get into field goal range … ran out of time," Cousins said. "Just disappointed we weren't able to get points there."
Even still, Zimmer said he felt all right about the first 30 minutes, even with the late defensive lapse.
"It was 14-14 at halftime, you know, I wasn't too upset," Zimmer said.
The 49ers got the ball after the break and didn't need much time to score, marching 75 yards in just six plays. The drive was highlighted by a 49-yard run by Deebo Samuel.
Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks summed up those two defensive drives for the Vikings.
"It's difficult. I feel like we've been struggling in 2-minute drills right before the half," Kendricks said. "Right when we come back … same situation … we have to find a way to get off the field.
"Obviously, the longer the drive, the more tired you get," Kendricks added. "We have to be conscious about that, get some stops early and play ball, make plays."
The score is now 21-14 as Minnesota trails for the first time. The Vikings offense, which has been red-hot of late, has a chance to turn the tide and tie the game.
Instead, Cousins threw his first interception since Week 5 … and it happened on the very first play of the drive.
"Just a poor throw, poor read," Cousins said. "Made a poor decision. Just got blocked out and shouldn't have thrown it where I did."
San Francisco linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair returned the interception 24 yards to the 2-yard line as the 49ers score on the following play to take a 28-14 lead.
The Vikings, who had a 14-7 lead with less than a minute left in the first half, allowed 21 unanswered points in 4:09 of game.
View game action photos between the Vikings and 49ers during the Week 12 matchup at Levi's Stadium.
Yes, Minnesota rallied and had chances in the final 15 minutes to make a clutch play and get the win.
But the Vikings real downfall was a four-plus minute stretch that seemingly lasted forever, with none of it going the Vikings way.
"Came up short … very disappointing," Cousins said. "This one hurts."