Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackThe 49ers are desperate to get back in the win category after losing back-to-back games to the Panthers and Saints. Colin Kaepernick has had a much more difficult time leading the Niners this year as opponents are much better prepared to stop his pistol offense. Kaepernick has an 11-7 TD-interception ratio and the 49ers have the 32nd-ranked passing game in the league.The Redskins are in last place in the weak NFC East, and it has been a very difficult year for quarterback Robert Griffin III. He seems to be making progress after a slow start, but he is not the same dynamic leader he was a year ago. He tried to bring the Redskins back from a 24-0 deficit against the Eagles in Week 11, but the Redskins fell short and that’s been typical of their season.
- OffenseThe 49ers will try to get their running attack going with hard-hitting Frank Gore. If the Redskins are capable of slowing him down early, they will keep hammering away with him. Tight end Vernon Davis can stretch the field and get deep. Anquan Boldin is a powerful receiver who knows how to get open and make the difficult catch.The Redskins have their own powerful running back in Alfred Morris, and he attacks in a similar manner to Gore. If he doesn’t make a lot of yards early, they will keep pounding the opposing defense with his interior runs. Pierre Garcon is a solid receiver who can get open and make big plays. Tight end Jordan Reed is a solid red zone weapon, but he suffered a concussion in Week 11 and his status is uncertain.
- DefenseThe 49ers may be a bit frustrated with their two most recent losses, and the seventh-ranked defense in the league should be ready for a huge game. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is one of the most dependable tacklers in the league, and he leads the Niners with 91 stops. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks leads the team with 6.5 sacks.The Redskins have been pushed around quite a bit on defense this year and they rank 28th in yards allowed. The big problem for Washington is their lack of speed on defense. Inside linebacker Perry Riley is a big-effort player who leads the team with 77 tackles. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has two interception returns for touchdowns and a fumble return for a score.
- Special TeamsThe 49ers do a solid job in punt and kickoff coverage, but head coach Jim Harbaugh has not gotten the production from his return teams and that’s one of the reasons they parted company with Kyle Williams. Former Cleveland placekicker Phil Dawson has made 14-of-17 FG attempts.The Redskins have had miserable punt coverage, as they have given up multiple returns for touchdowns. It seems like most opponents are licking their chops for a chance to return punts against them. Kai Forbath is an ordinary placekicker, having made 7-of-11 FG attempts this year.
The Niners have the talent to take care of the Redskins and beat them on their homefield. However, Harbaugh is starting to press and the 49ers could struggle under bright lights of Monday Night Football. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor