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.
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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.”