The Washington Redskins lost a hard-fought game in sloppy conditions and were shut out against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Here are five takeaways from the Redskins 9-0 loss:
1. The weather creates an afternoon dominated by the run
There was a consistent deluge that poured down upon FedExField from start to finish of Sunday afternoon’s game, which meant very little passing and a whole lot of running.
Both the Redskins and the 49ers all but abandoned the passing game; the two teams combined for 241 yards on 65 carries. As the clock ticked down to zero in the first half, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had completed just three of 10 passes for 10 yards.
Once again, running back Adrian Peterson was a featured player in the Redskins’ offensive game plan. The team opened the game with eight straight running plays, seven of which went to Peterson. Peterson finished the game with 81 yards.
2. Matt Ioannidis leads a stifling run defense
It quickly became clear that it was going to be a good day for Ioannidis, as the third-year defensive lineman from Temple was all over the field. He had eight tackles, seven of which were solo, in the first half and finished the game with nine tackles.
The 49ers came in the game with one of the most dominant and multifaceted running attacks in the NFL, but the Redskins’ defense held its own for most of the game. Although San Francisco rushed for more than 100 yards for the fourth time this year, Ioannidis and the defensive line held running backs Tevin Colemona and Matt Breita to fewer than 50 yards each.
The defense eventually gave in, though, as the 49ers’ final three drives ended with points.
“The big plays hurt us,” Ioannidis said. “We just have to go back to the film and look at the tape and try to improve on our ups and downs and see where we can go from there.”
3. Big plays in the passing game fuel the 49ers' offense
Although there wasn’t as much passing from either offense, the yards gained through the air played a pivotal role, especially for the 49ers.
Facing third-and-three, Garoppolo fired a pass to wide receiver Richie James, Jr., who scampered down the field for a 43-yard play and set up a field goal that put the 49ers up 3-0 in the third quarter. Then, with 11:44 left in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo completed a 24-yard pass to Kendrick Bourne that put the 49ers at Washington’s 7-yard line.
Four plays later, Robbie Gould capped off a 12-play, 55-yard drive with a 22-yard field goal. Gould, who made three of his four field goals, was the only player to total points.
4. Critical mistakes kill all of the Redskins' momentum
The Redskins had a few key opportunities to take the lead and upset one of the league’s final two undefeated teams, but they couldn’t get out of their own way on several occasions.
Washington was stuffed on a fourth-and-short at the 49ers’ 28-yard line. Then, after Troy Apke intercepted Garoppolo’s pass on a fourth-down attempt and gave the Redskins the ball back at their own 47-yard line, the offense promptly went three-and-out while losing four yards.
Then came the real dagger. After a roughing the passer penalty kept the offense on the field, the Redskins drove the ball down to the 49ers’ 29-yard line. But on the next play Peterson lost a fumble, which squandered the team's best chance of the second half to get points.
“I always look to the next play, but that was a critical time,” Peterson said. “We were in position to put points on the board, and we can’t get a turnover, especially against this defense. They’re very stingy.”
5. Quick turnaround on a short week
The Redskins are now 1-6, but there isn’t going to be a lot of time to think about this game. The team will hop on a plane to Minnesota on Wednesday to play the Vikings for a Thursday night game.
“Physically, [I’m] trying to recover as quickly as I can,” said quarterback Case Keenum. “That’s what everybody’s going to do starting tonight. It’s definitely tough playing on Thursdays. You just go out there and play football.”
The Vikings are fresh off a 42-30 win over the Detroit Lions. For Keenum, it will be a return to one of his former teams, as he spent the 2018 season as Minnesota’s starting quarterback and led the team to the NFC Championship.
But that’s not what Keenum is thinking about; the only things on his mind are ways he can help the Redskins get another win and the weather conditions, which are predicted to be much better.
“The only thing I’m thinking about right now is that I know it’s going to be about 70 degrees with zero chance of rain there.”