Washington turned to Terry McLaurin on the following drive. He had an 11-yard reception, then beat Deommodore Lenoir on a slot fade for 42 yards. But the Niners did what most good defenses do, they made a tackle and forced Washington to snap the ball again.
On 3rd & goal, McLaurin caught a back shoulder fade against Ambry Thomas for a touchdown to even the score at ten. That capped off an 84-yard touchdown drive.
The adjustment seemed simple. You go out and pay a player like Mooney Ward to travel and defend wide receivers such as McLaurin. It’s not on Ambry Thomas or Deommodore Lenoir to defend McLaurin. That’s the reason why you go out and get a player like Mooney.
The offense didn’t have any issues moving the ball. George Kittle surpassed 1,000 yards on the next drive. San Francisco had ten plays of ten or more yards with just over two minutes to play in the second quarter. Aiyuk, Kittle, and McCaffrey each had plays greater than ten yards on the drive.
But running the ball was a challenge against Da’Ron Payne. Jake Brendel lost his 1-on-1 battle. For the second time in three red zone trips, the 49ers offense had to settle for a field goal.