On Monday night, the San Francisco 49ers easily defeated the Washington Redskins 27-6. It was a close game going into the half, but once the third quarter started, the game was was pretty much over. After two disappointing losses in a row, the 49ers finally seemed to play a good game on both sides of the ball. They finally showed what they are capable of if both the offense and defense are clicking.
The Passing Game
After two pathetic showing two weeks in a row, the passing game finally was able to find a groove. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick finished the game going 15/24 with 235 yards and three touchdowns. To put into perspective how bad the passing game has been this season, this was only Kaepernick’s third game that he surpassed 200 passing yards. Hopefully the 49ers can have more games like this for the rest of the year. With Michael Crabtree returning, the 49ers might finally have a viable and dangerous passing game. Couple that with the run game, and the 49ers are dangerous.
I’ve lost count how many times the defense has fallen under the “good” category in these articles. At this point, I don’t even think I have to mention it. It’s just implied. The 49ers defense absolutely beat up Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense. It was beginning to get hard to watch. It got to the point where even I was yelling at the TV screen for Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan to take out RGIII. The defense sacked RGIII four times and held him to only 127 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. They also held Alfred Morris the Redskins’ number one rushing offense to only 100 yards on the ground. This is a great accomplishment for the defense. In fact, yesterday was the first time in RG3’s collegiate or NFL career where his team did not score an offensive touchdown. The defense is going to need to continue to play at an elite level for the last few games, because each game from now on is essentially a playoff game. And I’m sure they’re up to the challenge.
It looks like Aldon Smith is finally back to form. He tallied up two sacks against the Redskins and was in the backfield for most of the game. He made Redskins’ left tackle Trent Williams look silly multiple times. This is good news for the 49ers, since they finally have their dominant pass rusher back, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.
The Run Game
Now this is more of an observation than a complaint. The Redskins loaded the box and shut down the run game. And why wouldn’t they? They saw how the Panthers and the Saints beat the 49ers, and they thought they could do it too. The problem is, they have a worse defense than both those teams and weren’t expecting Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ passing game to come alive and beat them through the air. The only reason this is in the “bad” category is because last year the 49ers offensive line was able to bully opposing defenses even when they were loading the box. They need to get back to that level because loading the box is still the blueprint to beating the 49ers. If the passing game isn’t working AND the running game isn’t working, then we’re going to see more games like we did against the Panthers and Saints. And the 49ers can’t afford that. Granted, with Crabtree coming back it should open up the passing and the running game because defenses are going to have to start respecting the 49ers’ through the air.
Finishing the Game
I’ve written about this before, but the 49ers have to stop letting teams hang around. This game could’ve been over in the 2nd quarter. The Redskins couldn’t do anything on offense, but the 49ers just continued to give them opportunities. This is the NFL; even if a team is struggling, if given enough chances, they are going to make you pay.
All in all, a great game by the 49ers. They are going to need more of these type of games with some tough match-ups coming up ahead.