- Editor's Note: Each week, NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers insider Matt Maiocco will preview the upcoming matchup and key storylines heading into Sunday's game. For more takeaways and features from Maiocco, visit NBCSportsBayArea.com.
Push aside for several minutes the obvious intrigue and storyline of Alex Smith's miraculous comeback – and how he has provided a boost for his team as it makes a surge toward the playoffs.
And, yes, a long time ago – "it does seem like a lifetime ago," Smith said this week – he was the No. 1 overall pick of the 49ers.
He persevered through many downs before experiencing some ups in the Bay Area. Then, he continued his football journey in Kansas City and Washington.
As the 49ers-Washington game approaches, what also interests me is a matchup that will occur when Smith is not on the field.
Do you remember way, way back in 2019? Yes, that seems like a lifetime ago, too.
The 49ers were reaping the rewards of investing so heavily along their defensive line. The organization rode that position group all the way to the Super Bowl.
Now, look at what Washington has going on.
Washington has followed the same blueprint while constructing their own roster.
And, sure, this team is 5-7 (just like the 49ers), but it is a dangerous team that could (just like the 49ers) make some noise in the playoffs, should they finish strong and earn a spot in the postseason.