The Washington Redskins return to FedEx Field fresh off a 17-16 win over the winless Miami Dolphins. The Redskins have new life and many within the organization have acknowledged significant changes under interim head coach Bill Callahan. The question is whether the Redskins can capitalize off the momentum from last week’s win, and channel that into another “W” this week against a very aggressive and confident 49er football team whose current head coach is former Redskin Offensive Coordinator, Kyle Shanahan.
Offensively, if the Redskins want to stay in the game against this 49er squad, they will need to build off of running back Adrian Peterson’s performance last week. Peterson finally tallied over 100 yards rushing with 20 plus carries for the first time this season. History shows, the Redskins win when Adrian Peterson rushes the football over 20 times and gets over one hundred yards. The problem is, the San Francisco defense knows this too, and will be prepared to put eight men in the box and make Case Keenum throw in order to gain yard. The Skins have not been successful to say the very least when Keenum has thrown 37 plus times in a game this year.
The recipe for the Redskins this week needs to be UNPREDICTABILITY. If they do exactly what the 49ers expect them to do schematically, it’s going to be a long and painful game. As much as the Redskins want to run the football, they have to give themselves a chance by forcing the 49er defense to cover the entire field. For example, instead of running on your first play from scrimmage and gaining one yard, run a play action fake and take an immediate shot down the field to rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Whether you complete the pass or not, you put this defense on notice, and make them understand they cannot count on the Redskins to play between the tackles all day.
Also, it’s ok to pass on first down occasionally if you are the Redskins. Instead of running the vast majority of first downs, use short passes to create 2nd and 4, 5, or 6 where you can still run anything you want on 2nd and 3rd down. You have to move the football, keep your defense off the field, and their defense on the field as you beat them at their own game. Tire them out into the second half where Adrian Peterson can impose his will while the interior defensive line weakens because they have been on the field so much. Also, they can’t be afraid to run more misdirection, and use the 49er’s speed and ability to run to the football well against them. In theory, this is what you should want to see as a Redskin fan, but in actuality, you will most likely see more of the same offensive predictability.
The Redskin defense this week will receive a manhood check (in my Doc Walker voice). This 49er offense is not a finesse offense by any stretch of the imagination. They will try to beat the Redskins up physically by running the football with Matt Breida who is currently averaging 5.8 yards per carry and Raheem Mostert. The Redskins will also need to find an answer for the 49ers best receiver, tight end George Kittle, who seems to be open every play every week. He leads the team with 31 receptions, and the next closest receiver is Deebo Samuel with just 15 catches. Moral of the story, you stop Kittle, you stop the 49er passing game in its entirety. This is the week that the Redskins will need to win more one on one battles than ever before because the 49ers offensively don’t try to fool you. They try to dictate to you what they want to do and make you stop it. That means each defensive player will need to look themselves in the mirror this week and say “I will not get beat…I will not let my teammates down”. If it sounds cliché, it’s because it absolutely is, but it still applies. These breakdowns in the secondary every week have to stop. The usual self-inflicted mistakes and penalties will be catastrophic this week as the 49ers capitalize off of those types of infractions. The Redskin defense will need to play hard, aggressive, but most importantly smart. Don’t give up the big play, and make quarterback Jimmy Garappolo do his best Aaron Rodgers impression in order to beat you.
The San Francisco 49ers look to be on a mission. They look to be extremely focused and hungry to get past anybody in the way of them getting to their ultimate goal. They are clicking as a complete team from every facet of the game. As weird as it sounds, that could possibly work in the Redskins’ favor on Sunday. The 49ers may come in overconfident after watching the game film from the previous six weeks of football. If the Redskins jump out to an early lead, it could turn into a very competitive and interesting football game. If we see more of the same from the Redskins, most likely, you will see what most people anticipate, and that is another embarrassing home loss at FedEx Field. I believe the Redskins have enough talent to compete with the 49ers. This isn’t necessarily a bad matchup for them, but the key is what team is going to show up? I believe it will be an inspired Redskin team that recognizes what this game could mean in changing the narrative for this season. A game like this puts you right back in the mix and could catapult your team into contention. That said, the Redskins win to the dismay of thousands of 49er fans at FedEx, and shock the entire NFL landscape 24-20. As you were…
Photo Credit: Washington Redskins