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San Francisco 49ers vs. Washington Redskins: A Prospector's Guide

49ers_logo_medium  vs.  Redskins_icon_medium

Here we go. The last game of the season. The season has swung between awfully disappointing and signs of optimism for the future.  The 49ers have finished seasons fairly well the last few years, but a 4-1 finish would be one of their best in recent times.

The San Francisco 49ers host the Washington Redskins this weekend in what will be the 28th meeting between the two teams. The series dates back to 1952. San Francisco holds a 16-10-1 overall advantage against Washington, which includes a 3-1 record over the Redskins in postseason play. The last time the two teams squared off was in 2005, when the Redskins beat the 49ers 52-17 in Maryland.

Last week at St. Louis (12-21), QB Shaun Hill orchestrated a come-from-behind 17-16 victory by throwing two touchdown passes in the final five minutes of the game. WR Isaac Bruce recorded his 1,000th career catch on Hill’s first touchdown pass, becoming only the fifth player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Bruce’s next catch for eight yards moved him past Tim Brown (14,934) into second place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list. 

Hill enters this week’s game with a 6-3 record as a starter, which includes a 4-0 record at Candlestick Park. With one game to play, RB Frank Gore needs just 22 more rushing yards on the season to become the first 49ers player to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. 

This game will also mark the final game called by Joe Starkey, who has been the radio voice of the 49ers since 1989. Starkey announced his retirement this past Thursday.

At FedEx Field, Landover, MD, October 23, 2005

The Washington Redskins gained 448 yards in total offense, scored in seven of their nine offensive drives and built a 35-7 halftime lead before beating the San Francisco 49ers 52-17 at FedEx Field. Redskins QB Mark Brunell (13-of-20 for 252 yards) threw for three touchdowns and RB Clinton Portis (19 attempts for 101 yards) ran for three touchdowns to help lead the Redskins to victory.  The Redskins defense limited the 49ers to just nine first downs and kept rookie QB Alex Smith under constant pressure. Smith made his first NFL start on the road and was limited to just eight completions on 16 attempts for 92 yards. 

After spotting the Redskins a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter, Smith flashed his potential by rolling out of the pocket on a third-and-six situation and firing a 43-yard pass completion to WR Brandon Lloyd to give San Francisco a first down at the Washington 30-yard line. Two plays later, RB Kevan Barlow scored on a 17-yard run to cut the Redskins lead to 14-7 heading into the second quarter. 

Washington exploded for 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. The Redskins scored their first second quarter points on a one-yard Portis touchdown run after converting two third down attempts to keep the drive alive. On the Redskins next possession, RB Ladell Betts broke free for an 18-yard gain to get into San Francisco territory, putting the Redskins in position for a 32-yard touchdown pass from Brunell to WR Santana Moss. The Redskins scored their final points of the second quarter after LB Marcus Washington forced Smith to fumble on a sack deep in 49ers territory. On the Redskins first play following the turnover, Brunell connected with HB Mike Sellers for a 19-yard touchdown pass.

The second half got off to an inauspicious start for San Francisco. After forcing the Redskins to punt on their first possession, the 49ers took over at their own 24-yard line. Alex Smith was intercepted by FS Sean Taylor who returned the ball to the San Francisco three-yard line to set up Portis’ third touchdown to give Washington a 42-7 lead. A 45-yard field goal by K Nick Novak extended the Redskins lead to 45-7 heading into the final quarter. After Washington scored again in the fourth quarter to go ahead 52-7, the 49ers scored 10 points for a 52-17 final. The 49ers last points came when rookie RB Frank Gore bounced off a tackle and broke free for a 72-yard touchdown.

2008 Statistics

49ers (rank) Redskins (rank)
20.8 (23rd) Points Per Game 13.5 (28th)
307.9 (24th) Total Offense Per Game 323.5 (20th)
98.5 (26th) Rushing Yards Per Game 131.3 (8th)
209.4 (15th) Net Passing Yards Per Game 192.1 (22nd)
29:28 (20th) Possession Average 31:29 (8th)
23.8 (21st) Opp. Points Per Game 17.9 (4th)
329.9 (16th) Opp. Total Offense Per Game 284.1 (8th)
105.6 (15th) Opp. Rushing YPG 93.7 (8th)
224.3 (24th) Opp. Net Passing YPG 190.5 (6th)
-17 (32nd) Turnover Differential 0 (t-16th)