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49ers improve to 11-4 with 37-20 victory over Commanders

Chris Simms explains why the "desperation factor" for the Washington Commanders could make their must-win Week 16 matchup vs. the San Francisco 49ers much closer than expected.

The 49ers have already won the NFC West, but they still stayed sharp against the Commanders with a 37-20 victory on Saturday.

Quarterback Brock Purdy continued his strong play since taking over as San Francisco’s quarterback, finishing the contest 15-of-22 passing for 234 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception — good for a 114.6 passer rating.

Tight end George Kittle led the way with six catches for 120 yards with a pair of TDs.

But even in a loss, the Commanders have plenty of intrigue coming out of Week 16. Head coach Ron Rivera elected to bench Taylor Heinicke in favor of Carson Wentz in the fourth quarter after a pair of possessions ended in Heinicke giveaways.

Heinicke was first strip-sacked by Nick Bosa deep in Washington territory. Then he tossed an interception to defensive back Jimmie Ward. Heinicke’s pass was apparently intended for Brian Robinson, but it wasn’t close to the running back.

So, Wentz came in and led a touchdown drive. He was 7-of-10 on the possession for 73 yards with a 20-yard touchdown to Curtis Samuel.

Also playing the next drive when the game was decided, Wentz finished 12-of-16 passing for 123 yards with a TD.

Heinicke was 13-of-18 for 166 yards with two touchdowns, an interception, and a lost fumble.

Bosa finished with seven tackles, two tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, four quarterback hits, and a forced fumble.

The 49ers are likely to be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NFC and will host a playoff game in the first week of the postseason — though the Vikings’ last-second field goal to win earlier on Saturday kept San Francisco at No. 3 entering Week 17. The 49ers will visit the Raiders next Sunday before hosting the Cardinals to end the regular season.

Because Detroit and Seattle lost on Saturday, Washington is still in the No. 7 position in the NFC at 7-7-1. The Commanders will host the Browns and Cowboys to finish the regular season.