The San Francisco 49ers got a much-needed win on Monday Night Football, as they used a strong defensive effort and a second half offensive surge to put away Washington 27-6. The 49ers snapped a two-game losing streak with the win, and move back into the final wild card spot ahead of the Arizona Cardinals.
This game wasn't perfect, but we saw a lot of good things the team can build on. The biggest questions were about the offense, and the passing attack in particular. Colin Kaepernick finished the game 15 of 24 for 235 yards and three touchdowns. He had a first quarter touchdown to Anquan Boldin, but otherwise was a bit quiet in the first half. He seemed to be focusing in on one receiver content to throw into double coverage. The 49ers led 10-6 at the half, and
Once the second half hit however, Kap seemed to flip a switch. He threw a pair of touchdowns to Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin in the third quarter, and was able to put together an efficient effort. Boldin had his best game since the season opener, finishing the game with 94 yards and two touchdowns. Davis had a solid effort with 70 yards and a touchdown. He had one drop and another touchdown he might have been able to snag, but otherwise it was a strong effort from the tight end.
The offense showed improvement against a fairly bad Washington defense, so I'm sure some will poo-poo the performance. I don't think the 49ers defensive effort can be looked over quite so easily. They had some stretches where Washington would gash them, but the defense stepped up as needed and took care of business. They harassed Robert Griffin III for much of the night, finishing with four sacks and seven hits. The Washington rushing attack had its moments, but the 49ers contained the league's leading rushing unit to 101 yards on 27 carries.
The player of the game in the defensive effort really just belonged to the entire linebacker unit. Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks all had big games, although I think Brooks might deserve a "player of the game" kudo, if I had to choose one. And Aldon? He had a pair of sacks and four QB hits as he is looking better and better. I suspect he'll continue getting more playing time as the 49ers head home.
Speaking of which, the 49ers now head home for huge divisional matchups against the Rams and Seahawks. The 49ers maintain their hold on the second wildcard spot, and will need to secure wins these next two weeks to build on that.