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Washington Redskins Hold on to Beat Winless San Francisco 49ers, 26-24

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In a match up against several Washington player and coaching alumni, including Pierre Garcon, Aldrick Robinson, Logan Paulsen, and Coach Kyle Shanahan, the current men in burgundy and gold couldn’t have been happier with their start. However, what should’ve been a guaranteed win against a winless San Francisco team turned out to be a long four quarters with missed chances, unfortunate officials’ reviews and rulings, and just enough luck to win.

As the first quarter got underway, Kirk Cousins and the offense drove down the field, and they executed a perfectly balanced opening series. Cousins’ four passes paired with four runs, and he capped a 75 yard, 5:34 drive with a touchdown pass to Josh Doctson. The offenses’ efforts were followed with a strong push by the defense. In spite of having a secondary that was already beaten up and that continued to see players go down with injuries today, the defense initially limited the 49ers’ success. San Francisco managed just five, three, three, and six plays in their first four drives, all of which ended in punts. During that time, Preston Smith and Matt Ioannidis combined for one of the defensive highlights of the game, a dominant collapsing of the pocket that resulted in a sack and a loss of 10 yards.

After trading drives ending in punts with the 49 (a combined four punts in a row from the two teams), Cousins again led the team on a long drive (10 plays, 65 yards, 5:46) that ended with a short pass to rookie Samaje Perine, who earned his first career NFL touchdown. When Cousin’s next turn on the field ended with an interception, the 49ers put rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard on the field, and Beathard seemed to give the NFC West team the spark they needed to get back into the game. Inside the two minute warning, the 49ers pushed Washington’s defense back on a 75 yard drive that ended in a touchdown run by Carlos Hyde. Arguably, the unsportsmanlike penalty on safety D.J. Swearinger was the deciding factor in San Francisco’s efforts resulting in seven points instead of three.

When the second half began, the Redskins returned from the locker room without a way to halt the momentum swing that happened at the end of the second quarter. The 49ers won the third quarter, scoring a field goal, recovering a fumble by Vernon Davis (which certainly did not look like a fumble in the replays), and turning that fumble into seven points. It was nearly five minutes into the fourth quarter before kicker Dustin Hopkins would finally add to the Redskins’ score with a fourth quarter field goal.

Shortly afterward, the Redskins’ defense would again force the 49ers to punt, and Cousins led his team on its third long scoring drive of the day. On that 84 yard drive, Cousins hit Davis for a 51 yard pass and ran the ball in himself for a 7 yard scoring play. While the 49ers responded with a touchdown of their own, due in part to the struggles of the secondary, it was Washington’s secondary that stepped up to end San Francisco’s hopes of a last minute comeback win. Washington responded to the 49ers’ touchdown drive with a measly three play drive that ended in a punt, giving their opponent plenty of time to drive down the field and put three winning points on the board. However, rookie Kendall Fuller, who has had impressive flashes this season, intercepted the ball with just 9 seconds left on the clock, helping Washington hold on to improve to a 3-2 record.

Next week, the team travels to Philadelphia to take on the 5-1 Eagles in an important divisional game. Heading into that Monday night battle, watch for updates on the battered Redskins defense, including Stefan McClure, Bashaud Breeland, and Jonathan Allen.


How would you grade the Redskins’ win over the 49ers today?

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