The 5th Quarter: 49ers 27 Redskins 6
THE GAME TURNED WHEN… With Washington trailing 10-6 early in the third quarter, CB DeAngelo Hall forced a fumble by San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis and safety Brandon Meriweather recovered the ball at the 49ers’ 49-yard line. With great field position and a chance to take the lead, Washington’s offense did nothing. A quick 4-and-out gave San Francisco the ball back at their own 40 and they quickly drove down the field and ended their drive with a 6-yard TD pass from QB Colin Kaepernick to WR Anquan Boldin. San Francisco took a 17-6 lead and the game, for all intents and purposes, was over.
IT WAS OVER WHEN… See above.
THE GOOD… The Redskins defense committed to stop the run and they were able to do it, limiting San Francisco to 76 yards on 33 carries [2.3]. That’s it. That’s all the good stuff.
THE BAD… Everything else. The offensive line was a mess and, ominously, LT Trent Williams, one of the best tackles in the league, had his second straight bad game. Others on the line were bad, too. There was no downfield passing game, as Robert Griffin‘s inaccuracy and the offensive line’s incompetence forced the Shanahans to throw one quick screen after another. The Redskins had no vertical passing game tonight, it was horizontal from start to finish.
The offense was just terrible. The Redskins had 12 real possession tonight. The results: 7 punts, 2 field goals, 2 ball turned over on downs and one interception.
Colin Kaepernick has been a mediocre QB this season, but, like Christian Ponder, he looked like an All Star against Washington’s defense. Kaepernick completed 15 of 24 passes 235 yards and 3 TD. He averaged almost 10 yards per pass and his passer rating of 134.5 was sparkling.
On fourth and two at the 49ers 41-yard line, Mike Shanahan decided to go for it. A solid decision, I thought. What I didn’t like was giving the ball to Roy Helu and asking him to get the tough yards in the middle. He couldn’t do it and the Redskins turned the ball over on downs.
CB Josh Wilson had a nightmare game. He was repeatedly torched and the 49ers made it clear early on that they were going to target Wilson. They did and Wilson had no answers. WR Anquan Boldin burned him, TE Vernon Davis burned him, anyone he covered burned Josh Wilson.
THE UGLY… The Redskins offense gained 30 yards after halftime. So after the Redskins went into the locker room to make midgame adjustments, the Redskins offense fell apart. You can tell a lot about a team and a coaching staff by what they do after halftime. This team and this coaching staff came up empty — again.
THE QUOTE… ”Tonight was one of our poorer performances since I’ve been here.” — Head Coach Mike Shanahan.
THE STUDS… Nobody.
THE DUDS… See Josh Wilson above.
LT Trent Williams and the offensive line had a bad game, allowing RG3 to be sacked four times, hit and pressured constantly and clearing the way for the running game to average a measly 3.7 yards per carry. In a season of bad performances by the offensive line, this was probably the worst.
AND WHAT IT ALL MEANS… Exactly what it looks like. The Redskins are a very bad team and they cannot even comfort themselves with a high first round pick. That belongs to the Rams, courtesy of the RG3 trade. Washington is bad on offense, bad on defense and bad on special team. And even though the unjust salary cap penalty has limited what Washington could spend, the team is still spending far too much for the results being produced. So the roster has hit the trifecta of awfulness — bad, old and too expensive. Depressingly, this is the exact situation the Redskins faced when Mike Shanahan was hired in 2010. The offense looked as bad tonight as it did during any point in the Spurrier or Zorn years. That’s a damning indictment of Mike Shanahan as a coach and as head of personnel. Maybe the team can turn things around in the last five games, but I think the Mike Shanahan Death Watch has begun.