LANDOVER, Md. -- Nothing came easy for the 49ers on Sunday, who entered Week 7 as the NFC’s only unbeaten team.
In a sloppy game that resembled the field conditions at FedEx Field, the 49ers did just enough to pick up their sixth victory to open the season with a 9-0 win over Washington.
Here are three takeaways from the 49ers’ victory.
The defense leads the way ... again
The 49ers’ defense continues to lead the way.
On a rain-soaked day, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s unit kept the 49ers in the game with another strong showing.
For the second week in a row, the 49ers had problems stopping the run on the first drive of the game. Washington put together a 60-yard drive that lasted 8 minutes, 14 seconds. And for the second week in a row, the defense came back strong and dominated the rest of the way.
Arik Armstead and Dee Ford registered sacks, and so did Nick Bosa on the game's final play. In all, the rookie had four tackles for losses.
That 6-0 feelin’ 🔥pic.twitter.com/hmdvD4U39J— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) October 20, 2019
The big play came near the end of the third quarter when linebacker Kwon Alexander stripped Washington running back Adrian Peterson and defensive tackle Jullian Taylor made the recovery at the 49ers’ 41-yard line.
Helps on way for kicking game
When Robbie Gould hooked a 45-yard field goal attempt to the left in the first half, it was his career-worst seventh missed field goal of the season. And the 49ers are not even at the midway point of the season, yet.
Gould has struggled this season, making 11 of 18 attempts after signing a four-year, $19 million contract extension in the offseason. Gould made kicks on Sunday from 28, 22 and 29 yards.
It is difficult to pinpoint the reason for Gould’s struggles, but the fact that the club has gone through three long-snappers could have contributed to the issues in the kicking game. The 49ers should finally have some stability in that area beginning next week.
Kyle Nelson, the team’s long-snapper since the 2014 season, is eligible for reinstatement after serving a 10-game suspension over two seasons for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
[DC PERSPECTIVE: Weather only real winner between 49ers and Washington]
Losses on offense start to show
The 49ers had a difficult time gaining their footing on offense Sunday.
The offense struggled to function in the constant downpour without starting fullback Kyle Juszczyk, and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not have much time to throw in the first half. He completed just three of 10 pass attempts for 10 yards and was sacked once. Garoppolo opened the second half with a 28-yard pass to Kendrick Bourne, but that drive ended on a fourth-down interception.
On a fourth-and-4 play from the Washington 36, Garoppolo lofted a pass to Dante Pettis on a corner route. Washington safety Troy Apke ranged from the deep middle to make the interception. He returned it 33 yards, but the 49ers defense didn’t allow Washington to get much closer.