'2019 Mud Bowl Champions!' 49ers revel in 'fun' win over Washington

'2019 Mud Bowl Champions!' 49ers revel in 'fun' win over Washington

LANDOVER, Md. -- Rookie defensive lineman Nick Bosa turned into a leader Sunday, as the 49ers turned their postgame celebration into an impromptu Slip ‘N Slide party.

Bosa put the finishing touches on the 49ers’ 9-0 victory over Washington on Sunday with a sack of quarterback Case Keenum. Then, Bosa got up, took a few steps and flopped on his belly for a slide at muddy FedEx Field.

Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Kwon Alexander followed Bosa’s lead in hitting the ground in the celebration. Then, as the 49ers emptied off their sideline at the end of the game, many other players slid on the natural turf in jubilation before heading to the locker room.

“That’s awesome,” Bosa said.

The 49ers’ defense led the way, allowing Keenum to throw for just 77 yards on 9-of-12 passing. Bosa, Armstead and Dee Ford registered a sack apiece totaling minus-27 yards.

“It was a battle, but it was a lot of fun,” Armstead said. “Sometimes you got to win a dirty game and that was definitely, 9-0 defensive battle. It was raining, mud was everywhere, but it was super fun.

“Bosa got the sack at the end, and we all slid in the mud and had a lot of fun with it, so it was super-exciting.”

Said Buckner, "It was like a bunch of little kids out there. That's part of the game, having fun. Right now, we're having a lot of fun."

Veteran Richard Sherman figured it was best at this stage of his career to not take any unnecessary risks.

“I saw all those guys running and diving on the ground, and I was like, ‘Eh, I got out of this one healthy, I’m going to observe.’ But it was fun,” Sherman said. “Mud Bowl 2019 champions! You know what I mean?”

Coach Kyle Shanahan quipped that he considered joining the celebration.

“I did think about it, but I don’t think I would have done it right,” he said.

[RELATED: Mike Shanahan gets game ball after 49ers beat Washington]

The 49ers remained unbeaten with a 6-0 record, while Washington falls to 1-6. It was the kind of weather conditions that put a premium on taking care of the football and avoiding big mistakes on offense.

The 49ers capitalized on a takeaway when Alexander forced a fumble of running back Adrian Peterson and defensive tackle Jullian Taylor recovered in the third quarter. The 49ers’ offense managed four field-goal opportunities, with Robbie Gould connecting on three short kicks on the team's final three possessions of the game.

“It’s very tough for either offense to get anything going unless you get a big turnover or a big play,” Shanahan said. “You get a couple of big plays in those games, but everything usually depends on turnovers and trying your hardest to avoid opening the probability of having those.”

The 49ers managed 263 yards of total offense. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 12 of 21 passes for 151 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. Kendrick Bourne led San Francisco with three receptions for 69 yards.

Bourne said everything about the situation made it the most enjoyable game experience in his three-year NFL career.

“The adversity, all the mud made it fun,” Bourne said. “We never play in mud, and it showed our team can adjust.”

Garoppolo did just enough in the winning effort.  He hit Richie James on a 40-yard pass on third down to set up the first field goal. He converted a fourth-down pass to Ross Dwelley on the second field-goal drive. And he came through with a third-down conversion to George Kittle on the final drive.

“It was a good time,” Garoppolo said. “I missed the slide. I was upset about that.”

Garoppolo might have been facetious when he expressed his disappointment that he let his final opportunity to get soaking and soiled on Sunday slip away. Kittle certainly had no regrets.

“I had a blast out there. You couldn’t tell?” Kittle said. “(But) I spent plenty of time getting wet the entire game. I let other guys do it for me.”

49ers give fresh start to longtime offensive line coach Chris Foerster

49ers give fresh start to longtime offensive line coach Chris Foerster

Chris Foerster, the offensive line coach who resigned from his position with the Miami Dolphins in 2017 when a video surfaced of him snorting cocaine in his office, continues to rebuild his career with the 49ers.

The 49ers promoted Foerster, 58, to a full-time position on the coaching staff, Jennifer Lee Chan reported on Wednesday. The 49ers  confirmed Foerster’s new role as assistant offensive line coach.

Foerster enters his 27th season on an NFL coaching staff.

Coach Kyle Shanahan, who coached with Foerster for four seasons in Washington, was responsible for giving Foerster a second chance and a fresh start.

Foerster joined the 49ers in 2018 as a consultant. He will continue to work alongside offensive line coach John Benton.

“It was important to me because I knew him before he went through some tough times,” Shanahan said of Foerster at the Super Bowl. “I knew the man he was. I spent four years with him before he had gone through some of this, before he started this problem.

“I kept in touch with him through it all. I knew after it happened, what it did to him, what it did to his family. I know what he’s been through to try to get right. I don’t think that takes anything back that he has done. But I know the person he was before I know the person he’s trying to become. He’s a very good coach. I think he is really trying to make it right. I felt proud to give him another chance, because I think he’s done the right things. I know he’s doing everything he can to continue to prove himself.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Foerster recorded a video of him taking drugs in his office during the 2017 season. He sent the video to an adult entertainer, who shared the video on social media.

Foerster checked himself into a rehabilitation program the same day he resigned. Foerster previously told the NFL Network his alcohol abuse dated back 30 years.

[RELATEDWhat excites 49ers' Laken Tomlinson about Trent Williams, Javon Kinlaw add]

He regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to rebuild his life while quietly working the past two seasons as a consultant with the 49ers, focused primarily on writing scouting reports, Chan reported. 

In another coaching move, former NFL wide receiver Miles Austin is no longer on the 49ers’ staff. He left his position as quality control coach after one season.

Why Jimmie Ward's mindset is key to 49ers avoiding Super Bowl hangover


Why Jimmie Ward's mindset is key to 49ers avoiding Super Bowl hangover

Jimmie Ward didn’t watch Super Bowl LIV game film for a month, maybe two. Metaphorical wounds were too fresh, too painful to tolerate a replay of how the 49ers blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead to the Kansas City Chiefs in granular detail.

Time turned lacerations to scars and tempered raw emotion enough for the 49ers free safety to look at the game as a teaching tool. Ward didn’t just scan it once. He watched it again and again, maybe 20 times in total.

Viewing it critically dulled the heartache but not the motivation. Count Ward among those driven by dreams of a return engagement, hellbent reaching the Super Bowl again and winning the damn thing.

He has, however, put it in proper perspective. Ward knows the 49ers can’t win the Super Bowl in August. Can’t win it on Feb. 7, 2021 either, without doing what’s required every day prior.

“I hear a lot of my teammates say they want to get back to that spot and win it,” Ward said during a Tuesday video conference. “That’s what everybody wants to do, to get to the Super Bowl and win it. My approach is more about taking it one day at a time, one game at a time. I have been in that position, so I have seen what it takes to get to the Super Bowl, but you can’t look past the first game of this season. I can’t look past tomorrow’s practice. I just have to do everything the right way.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

That one-day-at-a-time cliché is easy to say, extremely hard to do for a team that was mere minutes from a championship and let it slip away. It’s human to dream about righting a wrong right away.

Spend all your time looking toward the horizon and you’ll trip over a rock at your feet. That happens to runners-up so often that there’s a term for it.

The dreaded Super Bowl hangover.

It can impact teams that win a title, but it plagues teams that walk away empty handed. Every team that loses a championship game wants to win the next one.

History says that is hard.

Only three teams have won the Super Bowl after losing it the year before. The Dallas Cowboys did it in the 1971 season, the Miami Dolphins won every game and a title in the 1972 campaign, and the New England Patriots rebounded well and won it all after the 2018 season.

That’s a short list, considering how many have trieds. Minnesota, Denver and New England have returned to the title game and lost again. We all remember the early 1990s Bills, who made four straight Super Bowls and lost every single one.

The 49ers are certainly capable of going on a redemption tour. They have all the talent and coaching required to win a stacked NFC West, go on a deep playoff run and end up playing in Tampa for Super Bowl LV.

Anything less, it seems, would be a disappointment. Realizing lofty expectations can’t happen if players are still living in the past. They can’t make dreams reality by skipping steps. That’s why Ward’s philosophy must pervade through the 49ers locker room.

Safety Jaquiski Tartt’s take on the topic suggests that it has.

“Every has that same mindset,” Tartt said. “Making it all the way there and not winning leaves that sick feeling in you. We want to get back to that stage and win it all.”

[RELATED: Steve Young believes 49ers must prove lasting power in 2020 NFL season]

Exorcising a demon doesn’t happen in a day. It takes discipline over hundreds of them, and emotion over a missed opportunity can’t fuel you forever. The 49ers have to embrace the grind to realize expectations and do what few teams have done, getting back to the Super Bowl and winning it.

“I just feel like you have to get over it,” Ward said, “and think about how you can get better heading into Game 1.”