I don’t think the broadcast did justice for how poor the field conditions were in Washington on Sunday. Whenever a player went to make a tackle along the sideline and hit the ball carrier, said ball carrier slide nearly ten yards. It’s funny for us to watch, but it has to be terrifying for the players. I’m not making excuses for either the San Francisco 49ers or Washington. That’s just how it is. You are going to be significantly slower, agile, and athletic. You can’t put your foot on the ground and effortlessly go in one direction like you could on a field that wouldn’t be confused with a Slip ‘N Slide.
Some of the 49ers players discussed the conditions of the field. Here’s Richard Sherman:
“That’s as bad as I’ve seen. I’ve played in this stadium once before, in the playoffs, and it was pretty bad. That was the year RG III went down with a knee injury. The field was pretty awful. Mostly sand. It was like playing in a sandpit. Today was rain, and everything was going bad.”
Nick Bosa, who just celebrated a birthday on Wednesday, had this to say:
“Everybody is a step slower; people can’t make the same cuts or do the exact same things,”
I laugh whenever I hear people say, “this is football weather,” when it’s storming, or there are a few inches of snow on the ground. Absolutely not. Football weather is what you saw on Monday Night Football when the 49ers hosted the Cleveland Browns. Eighty-degree weather and sunshine where we can see teams perform to the level that they’re capable of.
That’s the reason we haven’t really recapped the game like we usually do. The conditions made Washington’s defensive line Matt Ioannidis look like J.J. Watt. To paraphrase Bosa, you can’t move. Imagine playing offensive line in those conditions. On a “power” or “counter” play where you have to pull. Seems impossible. Even on a wide zone or toss play where you may be forced to change directions. Linemen are put in poor positions most of the time anyway, but when you factor in the conditions that were Sunday, you’re going to struggle to move the ball. We saw that on both sides of the ball.
The game is over. The 49ers won, and, hopefully, snow is the worst thing mother nature throws at San Francisco.