By Jake Russell
The more things change for the Washington Redskins, the more they stay the same.
After the Redskins’ opening offensive resulted in a three-and-out, their defense immediately allowed a quick five-play, 59-yard drive by the San Francisco 49ers. In the first four minutes of the game, a blowout appeared imminent.
However, the offense tied the game at seven in the second quarter and the defense only allowed 10 points the rest of the game. The problem was offense, which could only generate two field goals after Alfred Morris’ one-yard touchdown run.
After a stellar defensive performance, the Redskins had two opportunities to win in the final minutes of the game but couldn’t come through. The end result? A 17-13 loss and their second 3-8 record in as many seasons.
The storyline this week will continue to be Robert Griffin III and his inability to come through in the clutch like he did in his rookie season.
The 49ers have been faltering on offense this season but still have talented players across the board. The Redskins were able to hold Frank Gore to 36 yards on the ground, forced three turnovers and sacked Colin Kaepernick twice. The defense was stellar and had one of its best performances of the season, continually giving the offense plenty of opportunities to do its part.
Morris finally broke his streak of 17 consecutive games without a 100-yard performance. He ran as he did in his rookie year, averaging six yards per carry on 21 touches for 121 yards and one touchdown. He had runs of 30, 22 and 16 yards. His production was the bright spot of an otherwise lackluster offense.
The guy continues to have an All-Pro season, booming eight punts for an average of 46.6 yards per punt and pinning the 49ers inside their own 20 three times, including two on the five-yard line. Four of his eight punts were 50 yards or longer. He hasn’t had a bad game this season and is the team MVP to this point in my opinion.
It was good to see the undrafted rookie out of the University of Washington get his chance on the field. The 5’8″, 184-pound cornerback was signed off of the San Diego Chargers practice squad to the Redskins active roster in early October. Filling in for the injured Tracy Porter, Ducre was targeted on his first play. Kaepernick threw to his side, completing an eight-yard pass to Bruce Miller. Two plays later, Ducre picked off Kaepernick. He now accounts for a quarter of the total interceptions made by the Redskins defense this year.
Pierre Garçon’s cannon of an arm
The video pretty much does the explaining.
This offense is offensive
Aside from Morris and a couple of nice receptions here and there, the Redskins offense was incompetent. A false start following a bad special teams penalty with less than two minutes remaining put an exclamation point on a rough day. The team only managed 213 yards of total offense. That’s their lowest output since Week 12 in 2013 against the 49ers when they put up just 190.
Robert Griffin III continued to struggle. He finished 11-of-19 passing for just 109 yards and was sacked five times. He continued to miss open receivers and absorbed a lot of hits from San Francisco’s talented defense. Griffin continues to look unsure of himself and skittish in the pocket when pressure develops around him.
Morgan Moses looks like a rookie
Moses was regularly exposed, allowing pressure on Griffin’s blind side throughout the game and gave up multiple sacks, including the game-clinching forced fumble by Justin Smith with 52 seconds left. For someone who is supposed to be the team’s building block at right tackle, he is still extremely raw and doesn’t have the quickness to keep up with faster defensive ends.
The Redskins were already without top cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall, who tore his Achilles in Week 3 and is out for the season, and David Amerson, who was deactivated Sunday for violating a team rule. The team lost E.J. Biggers in the first quarter after suffering a concussion following a helmet-to-helmet collision with teammate Perry Riley, Jr. Then Bashaud Breeland (back) and Tracy Porter (shoulder) were dinged up in the third quarter. Ryan Clark suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter. Clark and Breeland eventually returned to the game.