Washington Football

Gore, Kaepernick lead 49ers past Dolphins 27-13

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Gore, Kaepernick lead 49ers past Dolphins 27-13

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Frank Gore made his way through San Francisco's winning locker room and offered a public shoutout to linebacker and NFL sacks leader Aldon Smith.

``Couple more, baby! Couple more, baby!'' Gore hollered.

Gore is taking charge on the 49ers offense, with Smith wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks for the defense.

Gore ran for a 1-yard touchdown and reached 1,000 yards rushing for the sixth time in his career, and even took the fake on Colin Kaepernick's late 50-yard scoring run in the San Francisco 49ers' 27-13 victory against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Smith added two more sacks to bring his total for 19 1/2, passing Fred Dean's franchise-best single-season mark of 17 1/2 set in 1983. Smith also moved within three sacks of the single-season record Michael Strahan set in 2001 with the New York Giants.

``Guys really have a determination on this field and on this team,'' cornerback Tarell Brown said. ``We were focused out there.''

Gore finished with 63 yards rushing, caught two passes and also matched his mentor, Roger Craig, and late Hall of Famer Joe Perry for the franchise record in rushing touchdowns with 50. And, no, Gore didn't grow up a Dolphins fan in his native South Florida.

``It's a blessing. Everybody says when you turn 29 and 30, you can't do it anymore. When I got to 29, I told myself, `I'm going to overcome that,''' Gore said. ``I've still got the explosiveness. When I see something, I go get it.''

Anthony Dixon also had a 1-yard scoring run, while Kaepernick came through with the touchdown run and also passed for 185 yards in his fourth straight start since being promoted over Alex Smith.

Gore drew Miami's defense his way on that game-clinching play.

``Everybody came to me and Mr. Everything did his thing,'' Gore said of Kaepernick.

Afterward, Gore sported a gray hooded sweatshirt with an upside down dolphin in distress - a purchase from before the season once he found out the Dolphins were on the schedule. Gore was born in Miami, attended college at the University of Miami and still spends the offseasons right there in South Florida.

``I said, `We've got to turn him upside down,''' he said of the sweatshirt dolphin, Miami's mascot on its head with a first-aid symbol and each eye covered with an ``X.''

Crabtree matched his season high with nine catches for 93 yards and rookie LaMichael James ran for 30 yards in a solid NFL debut for the 49ers (9-3-1), who kept hold of the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind Atlanta.

``We did what it takes,'' Crabtree said.

Anthony Fasano made a diving 3-yard touchdown catch for Miami (5-8) midway through the fourth quarter on a pass from Ryan Tannehill. Fasano's right knee landed in the end zone as he fell out of bounds under pressure from safety Donte Whitner.

Miami went for it on fourth-and-10 from the 35 with 4:16 remaining and Tannehill overthrew Marlon Moore on the left sideline.

``In the fourth quarter, we had some opportunities to put some more points on the board. We didn't. We were too generous,'' Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. ``It's just a lack of playmaking at critical times. That's it.''

The sold-out crowd at Candlestick Park was treated to a spectacular, clear Bay Area day. The football didn't quite live up to it until both teams performed down the stretch.

Harbaugh's NFC West-leading Niners hardly looked like a power for most of the afternoon against overmatched Miami - the team Harbaugh considered coaching before accepting a $25 million, five-year contract with San Francisco in January 2011.

``These games are really hard,'' Harbaugh said. ``You've got to stay patient. We also took our shots.''

The 49ers capitalized on a special teams blunder to end a stretch of five quarters and an overtime without a touchdown. Marcus Thigpen fumbled trying to catch Andy Lee's punt early in the third quarter, and C.J. Spillman recovered on the Dolphins 9 to set up Gore's short TD burst.

Cameron Wake had three first-half sacks to highlight a lackluster day by the Dolphins. On offense, Tannehill faced constant pressure and Miami was held to 227 total yards.

Dan Carpenter kicked a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter for the Dolphins and also an earlier 28-yarder.

``We just have to finish,'' Miami defensive tackle Paul Soliai said. ``We just can't let this happen.''

San Francisco went for it on fourth-and-1 on the 38 late in the third quarter and cornerback Sean Smith was called for pass interference against Crabtree. Dixon scored his second touchdown of the season five plays later.

Harbaugh stuck with Kaepernick a week after a 16-13 overtime loss at St. Louis, and the second-year pro delivered with an 18-for-23 day and 100.2 passer rating.

David Akers' 30-yard field goal in the second quarter tied the game at 3, then he kicked a 37-yarder as time expired before halftime to put his team ahead 6-3.

San Francisco lost defensive lineman and special teams standout Demarcus Dobbs to a right knee injury in the first half. He was carted off the field. Dobbs returned to the field after missing the trip to St. Louis a week earlier following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession.

Aldon Smith lined up against rookie left tackle Jonathan Martin, a former Stanford star recruited by Harbaugh. Martin shifted to the left side in place of the injured Jake Long, placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with an injured left triceps. Smith and Martin shoved each other all day, jawed and even butted helmets.

Smith plowed over Martin for the first sack.

``There were some words exchanged,'' Smith said. ``Nobody wants to get knocked down.''

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Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

When looking at the endless amounts of fan concepts and designs out there for the Washington Football Team's next name and logo, it's important to remember that not every idea belongs to the name suggestion of the designer. 

Once Washington makes its final decision, you can bet they'll be looking at a number of different options, and if they want to take a look at the fans' work, they could take a Red Wolves logo and match it up with a Red Tails uniform concept and tweak both to match whatever name they choose. 

In that case, whatever name and logo they choose should have these uniforms, plain and simple. 

 

Mike Joseph created these uniforms as part of his Washington Redspears project and did an exceptional job mocking up a number of different modern uniform designs.

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Redspears isn't a likely name change due to reports saying the franchise plans to stay away from Native American imagery, but that doesn't mean we should ignore these designs.

 

These use the burgundy and gold really well and have a unique number font that has worked for NFL teams like the Ravens, Broncos, Bears, Titans and Steelers in the past. 

The great part about this design is it could be easily rebranded to a different. All the franchise would have to do is lose the spear logo and use whatever logo they settle upon. They could even keep the numbers on the helmet as they have currently. Everything else is versatile. 

Between the sleek design, use of colors and the unique number fonts, this has to be one of, if not the best fan-generated uniform mock-up out there. If the Washington Football team uses these but with a different team name and logo, it'd be hard to complain about that decision. 

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Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

There were already some decent expectations placed on Antonio Gandy-Golden for 2020 — and then Kelvin Harmon went down. Now, the Day 3 selection is being labeled as someone who needs to really contribute to the Washington Football Team.

But is that too much to ask for a rookie who went on Saturday in the draft? Recent numbers indicate that answer may be yes.

From 2015 to 2019, 25 wide receivers were chosen in the fourth round, which is where Washington nabbed Gandy-Golden a few months ago. Here are some takeaways from looking back on how all of those guys performed in their first professional seasons:

  • Only one target topped 50 catches and 600 yards, and coincidentally enough, it was Jamison Crowder. Crowder caught 59 passes for 604 yards and two scores as a rookie for the Burgundy and Gold in 2015. The only other guy who came close to either of those marks was Antonio Callaway, who had 43 grabs for 586 yards and five touchdowns for Cleveland in 2018. Those are easily the two best performances by a fourth-round rookie wideout since 2015, so keep that in mind when discussing Gandy-Golden.
  • Out of that group of 25, 15 suited up for double-digit games for their teams during their first taste of the league. The average stat line for those 15 rookies was 17 receptions for 182 yards and one touchdown in about 14 contests. That's meager. 
  • Just nine out of the 25 recorded a touchdown catch as a rookie, and only four (Crowder, Callaway, DaeSean Hamilton and Malcom Mitchell) visited the end zone multiple times.

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So, judging solely off of that data, it would appear that Washington shouldn't be prepared to lean heavily Gandy-Golden. And once you combine that history with other factors, such as the huge transition he's about to make from Libery to the NFL and the very limited offseason he's had thus far, then the outlook for Gandy-Golden becomes even dimmer.

There is a super simple counter argument, however, at least when it comes to comparing him to his past fourth-round peers, and it has to do with his potential playing time.

While the 22-year-old has to fight through a pandemic, something none of the above rookies can relate to and something that could be detrimental to his early career, he also may be in line for a massive share of snaps right away. Most players who go off the board where Gandy-Golden did are usually worried about simply making the team; he, on the other hand, very well could be a starter across from Terry McLaurin in Week 1.

That alone means Gandy-Golden could end up having enough involvement in the offense to come up with a Crowder-like, impactful debut. In 2019, McLaurin far surpassed other third-round rookie receivers due largely to the amount of opportunity he got with Washington (his ridiculous talent was a bonus of course, too). Gandy-Golden is tracking on a similar path. 

A fairly general rule for any franchise is that it's not exactly prudent to need a Day 3 pass catcher to immediately act as one of your primary weapons. Stats from 2015 to 2019 seem to back up that general rule.

Every rule has an exception here or there, though. Maybe Gandy-Golden, with his outstanding physical traits and possibly featured role in 2020, will be that next exception and make all this math and comparing a totally moot issue. 

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