By Rich Tandler
Welcome to the Redskins-49ers live game blog. I’ll be posting updates live from the press box at FedEx Field from now through the end of the game. Thanks for joining me.
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Summary—There are only so many ways to describe ineptitude on offense. The Redskins simply couldn’t put together a touchdown drive while the outcome was in doubt. They couldn’t last week. They had one in Carolina with the game in doubt. And none against the Eagles with the game in doubt.
It’s hard to point a finger at anyone in particular. Beck made some OK plays but he made some poor ones. Roy Helu ran well while the game was close but he made a key fumble that turned what was a close game into a blowout. And, yes, 13-0 against this Redskins team is a blowout.
1:10—The Redskins get into the end zone with a nine-yard TD pass from Beck to Gaffney. In the process of the 72-yard drive Helu got up to 14 pass receptions for the game. That breaks the team record for receptions in a game held by Art Monk. The two-point conversion makes it 19-11 and the Redskins go for the onside kick.
7:50—Another routine Niners drive, another field goal. This one was from 20 yards out by Akers. And the fans start to head for the exits.
14:11—Again, Beck is not playing well but he is not getting any help either. Fred Davis drops a fourth and two pass and the 49ers have the ball back.
Summary—The Redskins remain lifeless on offense in a game that still can be won. A decent drive built around a deflected pass that Helu caught and turned into a 17-yard gain gets sidetracked by a penalty for a crackback block. It’s third and 17 at the end of the quarter. John Beck has as much chance of getting elected president a year from today as he does of converting this third down.
4:23—The 49ers march to a field goal with a combination of dink and dunk passing and Frank Gore’s running. They only had to go 35 yards to get a 45-yards Akers field goal.
9:20—The Redskins have another uninspired three and out after forcing the Niners to punt. Beck got sacked for a loss of three on first down and that was all it took to torpedo the drive. This offense can’t have anything go wrong and succeed.
Summary—The Redskins have a chance at being in the game but they just can’t consistently generate any offense. As noted, it’s not all John Beck’s fault but he isn’t exactly holding up his end of the deal either. It looks like if Beck is going to be successful, the rest of the offense has to perform almost perfectly. And that clearly is not happening.
0:00—OK, it’s something. Graham Gano boots one from 59 yards to get the Redskins on the scoreboard. Too bad about that fumble thing or this would be a game. The field goal is the longest in Redskins history.
1:09—What looked like was going to be a decent gain on a screen pass turned into disaster as Helu fumbled it. The Niners recovered and immediately cash in with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Smith to fullback Bruce Miller. It’s now 13-0 49ers and they get the second-half kickoff.
1:55—San Francisco is trying to keep the Redskins in this game. They were going to go for it on fourth and one but the tight end committed a false start. They do get a 34-yard field goal from Akers to take a 6-0 lead. The Redskins do have some time to try to get a score before halftime. That is something that Rex was good at doing. We’ll see about Beck.
6:10—A nice play by Kevin Barnes kills the Niners drive as he gets back and knocks away Smith’s pass for Vernon Davis. Redskins get the ball at their own nine.
10:03—I have to say that while Beck is not playing particularly well, he is not getting much help from his receivers. On this drive, Niles Paul stopped on what looked like should have been a skinny post route and the ball whizzed by him. And then Davis dropped one.
Trent Williams didn’t help much either, committing a personal foul that negated both a San Francisco offside and a pass for a first down. Redskins end up punting.
12:42—David Akers booted a 52-yard field goal giving the 46ers three points off of the turnover after they moved 22 yards in 6 plays. It’s 3-0 San Francisco. The Redskins offense will now officially have to do something.
Summary—The Redskins have run the ball fairly well but they need John Beck to contribute more. The 49ers are driving in Redskins territory and even one score will seem huge with the way the offense is moving.
4:52—The Niners return the favor as Gore drops a pass that had a chance to convert a third and 14. The Redskins got them where they wanted them by nailing Gore for a four-yard loss on second and ten. But Brandon Banks tried to field the punt at the two and muffed. Bad decision, he should have let the ball go.
6:44—A three and out with a flat-out drop by Helu on third and down. Beck now 0-2 passing with one misfire and one drop.
8:40—The Niners had just what the wanted with a third and one. But they shifted players back and forth and drew a delay of game. Then on third and six, Alex Smith couldn’t find a receiver and got drilled by Ryan Kerrigan for a sack. The rookie gets the sack but it was thanks to the coverage.
12:58—A good start for the Redskins with a 16-yard gain by Helu. But it ends up as a four and out as Beck throws wide for Austin on third and six. Three runs, one pass in the drive. Now we will see if the Redskins can stop Frank Gore.
As good as it will get
0:10 to kickoff—It may be a bit harsh to say that John Beck will have no excuses for not performing today. After all, he will be without Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, and Tim Hightower.
But the Redskins will have four-fifths of their starting offensive line intact and some young and hungry receivers out there. It may not be an ideal setup for a quarterback but it is as about as good as it will get this year.
Yes, they are facing a tough defense in San Francisco. But the 49er defense should not be confused with the ’85 Bears. If Beck doesn’t improve from last week, there will be very legitimate questions about whether or not he should continue starting.
Some fresh faces on offense
0:30 to kickoff—Maybe it’s their time or maybe the Redskins are desperate. Most likely, it’s a little bit of both.
Three rookies will make their first NFL starts for the Redskins today. Third-round pick Leonard Hankerson will start at wide receiver, fourth-rounder Roy Helu start at running back, and Maurice Hurt will start at left guard.
Of the three, only Helu has seen a substantial amount of NFL action. Hankerson has played sparingly the past two games and Hurt will be playing for the first time.
This could be construed as the Redskins already starting to build for the future. But given the productivity of the offense the past few weeks the infusion of youth into the lineup could also be seen as giving the Redskins their best chance to win today.
0:45 to kickoff—Here are the Redskins inactives:
Oshiomogho Atogwe (knee) Santana Moss (finger), running back Tashard Choice (hamstring) and healthy scratches linebacker Markus White, receiver Donte’ Stallworth, offensive lineman Willie Smith and defensive lineman Darrion Scott.
For San Francisco, starting left defensive end Ray McDonald is inactive as are reserves QB Scott Tolzien, WR Brett Swain, CB Shawntae Spencer, FB Moran Norris, G Daniel Kilgore, and G Mike Person.
Three rookies to start
1:00 to kickoff—According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Redskins are going to start Roy Helu at running back (mild surprise) and Leonard Hankerson at wide receiver (big surprise). Hankerson played just one snap two weeks ago against the Panthers and then eight last week against Buffalo. He was targeted four times in those eight snaps so expect to see a lot of passes thrown his way.
Trent Williams is active for today’s game so expect him to start at left tackle. Schefter also is saying that Maurice Hurt will start at left guard.