LANDOVER, Md. – You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the 49ers’ locker room that was dissatisfied with the club’s 9-0 victory over Washington on Sunday.
The game mirrored the conditions. It was sloppy. The offenses had a difficult time slogging their way through, but each team committed only one turnover apiece. The closest Washington came to scoring all day was on the first drive.
The 49ers finished strong with three consecutive possessions that ended with field goals. The 49ers will take their 6-0 record home to face the Carolina Panthers next week at Levi’s Stadium.
But, first, here are the grades from the 49ers’ sixth consecutive victory to open the season.
Matt Breida averaged 4.4 yards per rushing attempt before leaving the game after getting poked in the eye. Tevin Coleman had difficulty finding any holes, as Washington stacked the box and held him to 62 yards on 20 rushing attempts.
Jimmy Garoppolo scrambled for a career-high 20 rushing yards. The best thing about the team’s running game is they held onto the ball.
Jimmy G or Steve Young? 🤔pic.twitter.com/iMpR9RnfaB— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) October 20, 2019
Garoppolo had just 10 yards passing at halftime, but things opened up a little in the second half, as he threw for 141 yards in the final 30 minutes of the game.
Garoppolo made one play in each of the 49ers’ three scoring drives that contributed to all of the team’s points. Richie James caught a 40-yard pass on third down to set up the first field goal. Garoppolo converted a fourth-down pass to a diving Ross Dwelley on the next drive, and finally Garoppolo hit George Kittle for a big third-down conversion on the final scoring drive.
Garoppolo finished with 12 completions in 21 attempts for 151 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked twice for minus-5 yards.
Garoppolo’s interception came on a fourth-down play when he failed to look off deep safety Troy Apke before making the deep throw intended for Dante Pettis. (And Pettis certainly could have been more aggressive in going up after the pass.)
Kendrick Bourne led the 49ers with three receptions for 69 yards.
Just like a week ago, the 49ers had difficulty stopping the run on the first drive of the game. Washington opened with 10 consecutive running plays before finally throwing an incompletion on third down to set up a missed field-goal attempt.
After that, the 49ers’ run defense buckled down. Jullian Taylor and Ronald Blair teamed up to stop Adrian Peterson for a 1-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 run play from the 49ers’ 28-yard line.
Kwon Alexander and Taylor teamed up for a big play in the third quarter. Alexander forced a fumble of Peterson and Taylor recovered for the 49ers’ only takeaway of the game.
The 49ers’ pass defense was dominant. Dee Ford, Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa registered quarterback sacks. And Washington quarterback Case Keenum managed just 77 yards passing while completing nine of 12 attempts.
Keenum’s biggest completion was a 19-yarder to wide receiver Trey Quinn.
This performance came just one week after the 49ers held the Los Angeles Rams to 48 yards net passing. The 49ers gave up just 50 yards net passing to Washington. The 98 yards of net passing allowed over a two-week span are the fewest yards the 49ers have allowed in back-to-back games since 1977.
After Robbie Gould missed a 45-yard attempt, the 49ers’ special teams did everything it needed to get the victory. Gould made kicks of 28, 22 and 28 yards for all the points in the team’s 9-0 win.
Mitch Wishnowsky was called on to punt just two times, but he averaged 47.0 yards with no returns. Richie James continues to do a fine job on punt returns, as he averaged 15 yards on his two attempts.
Let’s not forget that the 49ers were playing without six injured players who would ordinarily be active: fullback Kyle Juszczyk, receiver Deebo Samuel, offensive linemen Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, nose tackle D.J. Jones and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
The 49ers had their issues on offense, but a lot of that could likely be attributed to the field conditions. The defense continues to be outstanding. After solving their issues in the run game, the 49ers locked up the Washington offense.
It might not have been a thing of beauty, but there’s no such thing as a bad win on the road in the NFL.