(CBS San Francisco) — The San Francisco 49ers remain one of this season’s more pleasant surprises. The team, at 5-0, sits undefeated going into Week 7 of the NFL season. Jimmy Garoppolo is growing more comfortable under center. The running game is producing. And their defense ranks among the NFL’s best. The 49ers should add another win in Washington on Sunday.
The Redskins just notched their first win of the season and the first under interim coach Bill Callahan. They held on to beat the win-less Miami Dolphins in the waning moments of their Week 6 matchup. Had the Dolphins put the ball in the end zone on a late two-point conversion attempt (or just kicked an extra point to send the game to overtime), the Skins would probably still be win-less. Neither team deserved to emerge victorious, really, but barring a tie, someone had to.
“I think it’s pretty obvious who will come out on top in this NFC matchup,” said CBS Local digital anchor Katie Johnston. “Undefeated San Francisco is establishing themselves as a powerhouse in the NFC as a whole. Washington is coming off their first win of the season, against yet another horrible team.”
But how the 49ers run defense handles a Redskins team rededicated to the run could make this matchup interesting. The 49ers currently rank sixth in the NFL against the run, allowing 87.2 yards per game and 4.1 yards per attempt. They have recovered four fumbles. The 49ers front four, with Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, is getting it done against the run and the pass. They deserve much of the credit for the team’s success so far.
The Redskins, with their quarterback situation in flux, have refocused on the run. That showed against the Dolphins, when Adrian Peterson managed the team’s first 100-yard game of the season. The team’s previous game high was 65 yards, which all came on one long touchdown run the week before. Their recent success on the ground may also reflect the quality of the competition. When the Redskins fall behind, as they often do, the running game gets left behind as well.
“I want to see how the Redskins can respond to San Fran’s run defense,” says Johnston. “Interim head coach Bill Callahan promised a stronger run game, established that really with Adrian Peterson last week. He touched the ball 23 times for 118 yards. Callahan even said after the game that the team isn’t concerned about the distance. It’s all about the attempts.”
It will be tough for the Redskins to turn those attempts into yards and ultimately points against the 49ers.
The 49ers play the Redskins this Sunday @ 10 a.m. PT.