Happy New Year’s Eve everyone. The San Francisco 49ers will be ringing in the New Year taking on the Washington Commanders in what has become a must-win game. With the Dallas Cowboys beating the Detroit Lions on Saturday Night, the 49ers can lock up the No. 1 seed with a win over the Commanders combined with the Philadelphia Eagles losing to the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, it’s a longshot, but it’s a possibility and the Cardinals are full of surprises. If the Cardinals don’t win, the 49ers need to win out the next two weeks, so no matter what, they do need to win. This will be a morning game, Adam Amin has the play-by-play, Mark Schlereth has commentary.
The 49ers just came off a thumping by the Baltimore Ravens in a game that seemed like nothing went the 49ers’ way. Quarterback Brock Purdy threw four interceptions in what is regarded as his worst performance as a pro (during his less-than-two years career). The thing is, if the ball could always bounce the Ravens’ way, it did on Monday Night. When that happens against the best team in the league, you see the result. The 49ers will need to pack this loss away for a possible Super Bowl rematch.
The Washington Commanders are dealing with all sorts of issues. Quarterback Sam Howell was benched for Jacoby Brissett earlier in the week, but now Brissett has a hamstring issue, so Howell may be running things regardless. The 49ers’ acquired defensive lineman Chase Young from the Commanders, and the Commanders sent their other star defensive lineman Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears. The fire sale of of defensive production indicated things rhyming with “bank” but the Commanders offense managed to stay in a few games despite trading away their defense. Well, until they couldn’t. They now are without their defensive line due to trades and their secondary due to injuries. There is also rumors that they will be moving on from head coach Ron Rivera in the 2024 offseason. The dysfunction in the front office and on the field only indicates there could be a lack of initiative from the players. They are on a six-game losing streak which has no sign of stopping.
The 49ers will again be without defensive tackle Arik Armstead (foot, knee), safety Ji’Ayir Brown (knee), wide receiver Jauan Jennings (concussion), offensive tackle Jaylon Moore (concussion), and tight end Ross Dwelley (ankle). Wide Receiver Danny Gray, who had his practice window opened up this week, also hasn’t been activated.
Due to that lengthy report, the 49ers called up safety Erik Harris and wide receiver Tay Martin from the practice squad. Offensive tackle Trent Williams, who suffered a groin injury Monday, was not listed on the injury report.
The Commanders are dealing with even worse injuries. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr.(calf), Center Tyler Larsen (knee), safety Percey Butler (wrist), and cornerbacks Benjamin St-Juste (concussion) and Kendall Fuller (knee) are out. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been iffy as the starter due to a last second injury, but it seems Sam Howell will be getting the start.
Date: Sunday, December 31st, 2023
Kickoff: 10:00 AM PST, 01:00 PM EST
Location: FedEx Field, Landover, MD
Play-by-Play: Adam Amin
Color Analyst: Mark Schlereth
Broadcast Map (from 506sports.com)