The 49ers pulled off one of the more stunning victories in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, beating the Vikings 20-3 as home underdogs on Monday Night Football.
The star of the game, easily, was second-year running back Carlos Hyde, who carried the ball 26 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Hyde even caught two passes out of the backfield for 14 yards, putting together an overall performance that impressed many, including team captain and Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley.
"He’s awesome," Staley told Sports Illustrated after the Week 1 win. "He could be one of the best in the NFL."
These were strong words from an All-Pro caliber tackle who helped Frank Gore rush for over 8,000 of his 11,000-plus career yards.
But Hyde is a gifted in his own right.
"He has so much talent and great vision and what we’re doing schematically really fits his strengths. He said he felt like he was back out there at Ohio State, and what he did there is why we drafted him," Staley said. "You all got a glimpse of what we saw the whole off-season. It wasn’t too surprising for us but for everyone else, maybe a little bit."
Staley was also asked about the 49ers putting more emphasis on the run game under new offensive coordinator Geep Chryst.
"Every game is its own thing," Staley responded. "It’s nothing we’ll do every week. But Monday was a real credit to our defense and gave us the patience to stick with our game plan, which was really to establish the run. You see a lot of people get in trouble with that defensive front. We were able to stick with the run and the tempo so we definitely have an advantage."
Hyde has appeared in 15 games, starting just once (Monday night vs Minnesota). He has a 4.6 yards-per-carry average to go along with six rushing touchdowns.
The 49ers selected the Ohio State product with the 57th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.