Well it wasn’t pretty, but the 49ers got the job done! As Richard Sherman says, “We’re not perfect, but our record is.” It was an all out slugfest in D.C., as rain was pouring all day long. The 49ers had a literal slip and slide on the field. They were able to leave with a W, so that’s all that matters. Also, it was great to see Kyle Shanahan return to Washington D.C. and get his revenge against Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen. Let’s break down this defensive brawl.

Final Score: 9-0, 49ers win!

  • Jimmy Garoppolo: 12/21, 151 yards and 1 INT
  • Tevin Coleman: 20 carries, 62 yards
  • Kendrick Bourne: 3 receptions, 69 yards
  • Richie James Jr: 1 reception, 40 yards

 

  • Nick Bosa: 7 total tackles, 1 sack and 4 TFL
  • DeForest Buckner: 6 total tackles
  • Arik Armstead: 3 total tackles, 1 sack and 1 TFL
  • Dee Ford: 2 total tackles, 1 sack and 1 TFL

 

  • Robbie Gould: 1/4 FGs

The 49ers opened up the game deferring the opening kickoff, and the Redskins wasted no time getting going on the ground. The first play of the game was a run with Adrian Peterson for 14 yards. They ended up going with 11 straight runs on the 49ers, and they were running well. Washington moved the ball from their own 19 to the San Francisco 18! However once they got to the 18-yard line,  they chose to pass on 3rd & 5 and it was immediately blown up by Nick Bosa for a 3-yard loss. The Redskins went on to attempt a field goal, but due to the weather and strong winds, they missed it wide right! The 49ers would take over at their own 21.

The teams would trade punts on back to back drives. However, the 49ers would start their ensuing drive with some pretty good field position at their own 46. On a 3rd & 7, Jimmy Garoppolo would feel the pressure in the pocket and fight his way forward and pick up the first down with the legs. Unfortunately, that would be the highlight of the drive, because a few plays later on 4th & 18 at the WAS 27, Robbie Gould would miss a 45-yard field goal, his 7th miss of the season. The 49ers cannot wait to have their long-snapper Kyle Nelson back, as this special teams unit has really not been on the same page. Although it could be a number of factors affecting Gould negatively, however it cannot hurt to have one question mark eliminated. Kyle Nelson is eligible to return from his 10-game suspension for PEDs next week against the Carolina Panthers.

The Redskins ensuing drive would travel 36 yards on 10 plays, before the 49ers defense would come in clutch for the thousandth time already in this young season. After overcoming a 2nd & 23 and a 3rd & 12, the Redskins found themselves with a 4th & 1 at the San Francisco 28-yard line. Due to the strong winds, it was obvious they did not feel comfortable with their chances to kick the field goal. They lined up and had an extra lineman check in on this play and haned the ball off to Adrian Peterson straight up the middle. Peterson had a face-to-face meeting with Jullian Taylor and Ronald Blair III, who were there to meet him for a 1-yard loss! The 49ers defense came up big on 4th downs for the second straight week! (I’m sure you all remember the ridiculous amount of 4th-down stops last week against the Los Angeles Rams).

The team would trade punts before the 49ers killed the clock and went into the locker rooms still tied at 0-0. It was an ugly first half full of hard runs, tough hits and missed field goals. One thing was certain — the 49ers were batting the weather just as much as they were battling the Redskins. It was a full on storm out there.

The 49ers received the second half kick off, since they deferred to open the game. Two plays into the drive on a 2nd & 7, Garoppolo dropped back and hit Kendrick Bourne deep down the field for a 28-yard gain! This drive was already showing some promise for the 49ers. Unfortunately that feeling would go away quickly, because the 49ers decided to go for it on 4th & 4 at the WAS 36, again showing their fear of the weather affecting Gould. It did not go well. Garoppolo went deep for Dante Pettis, but the pass was intercepted and returned 33 yards by Apke.

However, yet again, the 49ers defense came out after the turnover looking to prove they’re the real deal. The Redskin would proceed to go three-and-out and accumulate a total of — get this — -4 yards. They punted to Richie James Jr, who would have a nice return of 17 yards and take it up to the SF 23. Something had to give. The high-scoring offense that the 49ers have had up until now was proving to be humbled by the weather.

On their next drive, the 49ers finally got the ball moving. However, two plays into the drive Matt Breida would get injured and leave the game. He was evaluated for a concussion, but later passed the test and returned to the game. He did however suffer from a mean poke in the eye. On 3rd & 3, Garoppolo dropped back and hit Richie James Jr. for a big gain of 40 yards down to the WAS 30-yard line! The very next play Garoppolo would hit Kendrick Bourne for another 15 yards down to the WAS 15-yard line. Unfortunately, a few plays later on 3rd down, Garoppolo would get sacked at the WAS 10. Gould came out for the 28-yard field goal attempt, and this time it was good! The 49ers finally got on the scoreboard — it was 3 points, but in this game where points were a premium, they were significant.

The Redskins, now down 3 points, were looking to answer with a score of their own. Even though they had a few penalties set them back with a 1st & 25, Solomon Thomas would be called for a roughing the passer, and that would give the Redskins a first and 10, and move them up 15 yards. That kept their drive alive. A couple of plays later, Adrian Peterson carried the ball up the middle for no gain, but Kwon Alexander, who has been a huge pickup for the 49ers already this season, was able to force the ball out! DJ Jones was able to scoop it up and pick up an additional 10 yards to set up the 49ers offense at their own 41-yard line.

The offense marched back out on the field looking to capitalize on the turnover. On 3rd & 8, Garoppolo connected with star tight end George Kittle for a 14-yard gain! Garoppolo was making clutch throws on third downs. Later on in the drive, they were faced with a 4th & 1 at the WAS 35-yard line. A field goal in these circumstances was out of the question. There was no other option than to keep the offense on the field to pick up it — and they did just that. Garoppolo dropped back and connected with Ross Dwelley for a 2-yard gain! I thought this play call was telling — it showed that Kyle Shanahan trusts Garoppolo to get the job done with his arm. They easily could’ve called a running play and attempt to get the first down on the ground, but they didn’t. They believe in Garoppolo and his ability to come through in clutch moments. The very next play, he would connect with Kendrick Bourne once again for a 26-yard gain down to the WAS 7-yard line! A few plays later, they handed the ball off to Kittle in the backfield, who ran the all to the left of the line. He was looking to cut back, but the soaking wet field proved to have other plans. He lost his footing and slipped, and was unable to reach the end zone. Gould came out and knocked down the 22-yard chip shot! The score was now 6-0 49ers, however this was no time to call it a day. It was still a one-score game and the Redskins could easily retake the lead with a touchdown.

However, that was not in the cards. Their ensuing drive went only 4 yards, as they went three-and-out and punted almost immediately. This game was looking to be out of reach for the Redskins, as there was only 6:42 left in the game and the 49ers were about to get the ball back. That would prove to be fatal, as the 49ers looked to hit the Redskins with a knockout blow. Garoppolo hit Kittle on 3rd & 4 for a 16-yard gain, down to the WAS 45-yard line. Coleman would pick up 9 on the ground the play after. Washington, trying to stop the clock, burned their last two timeouts. Not long after the two-minute warning, the 49ers had the ball at the WAS 11-yard line with a 4th & 5. Once again, Robbie Gould came out onto the field, aiming to put this game out of reach. He did just that, as the 29-yarder sailed right through the uprights. The 49ers took a 9-0 lead with only :23 left. That was it, that was the game.

Nick Bosa made sure it didn’t end without him making a final splash — literally. He sacked Keenum from behind for an 11-yard loss! What a way to end the game.

The Spin:

This was the first shutout the 49ers defense pitched since week 1 of the 2016 season. They proved again they can win in multitude of ways. This game was not pretty, it wasn’t even six-drinks-in-at-the-bar-from-across-the-room cute. However, they got the job done. When we look back at their scheduled in December, all that will matter is that this game lined up under the “W” column. Garoppolo had another tough interception, however the defense came through for him again and allowed 0 points off of the turnover. Let’s hope Garoppolo can get these turnovers somewhat in check, because he can’t always expect the defense to be playing absolutely lights out.

Richie James Jr. and Kendrick Bourne came up huge today. We’ve been saying all season that the 49ers desperately need a wide receiver to separate from the pack. Well today, these two did just that. I would love to see Garoppolo continue to build on their connections today, as they could prove to be very useful weapons for him in the future.

Moving forward, the 49ers return home to Santa Clara to face a resurgent Carolina Panthers team with young Kyle Allen under center. Rookie pass-rusher Brian Burns is having a hell of a start to his career. This match-up will be a lot tougher than I had originally anticipated when the scheduled came out. Gould is now 12/19 on the season, and looks to get back to his old self as long-snapper Kyle Nelson returns from suspension.