• Travis Rapp

Game Plan: What the 49ers Need to Accomplish to Beat Washington

Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann

In making a list of things the undefeated San Francisco 49ers need to do to beat the one-win Washington Redskins this Sunday, one doesn’t need a whole sheet of paper, maybe just a little sticky note that says, “Don’t Beat Yourself.” Both teams are on completely different trajectories,with the 49ers finally looking like the storied franchise it is while the Redskins have found new low after new low in their demise since Alex Smith broke his leg last year. Their one win came against the Miami Dolphins, who failed to convert a game-winning two-point conversion with six seconds left in the game.

Some people get scared of games like this, where one team so heavily out matches their opponent. The only difference here is that Kyle Shanahan-coached teams never overlook an opponent, and it sounds like he always takes the opportunity to get revenge when he feels slighted. Still, the main issue in this game is for the 49ers to not shoot themselves in the feet and their knees.

The team has shown that they are able to overcome a turnover or two, especially with the help of their own defense already creating more turnovers in this season’s first five games than they did in all 16 games last season. That unit also happens to be the number-one ranked defense in the NFL, going against the Redskins’twenty-eighth-ranked offense. With the Redskins’ subpar offensive line play this season, the 49ers now-vaunted pass rush could force Washington to keep a running back or tight end in for blocking.

Although the Redskins’ offense looked a little refreshed against the Dolphins, with Adrian Peterson topping 100 yards and rookie receiver Terry McLaurin looking like a legitimate threat, but it has to be stated that they were playing a poorly constructed and coached Dolphins team. The 49ers’ defensive line should have no problem putting a stop to Peterson’s attempt at a resurgence and putting enough pressure on whoever mans the Redskins quarterback position that there will be no time to throw deep to McLaurin.

Defensively, the Redskins have been giving up big numbers to their opponents’tight ends, and so Shanahan could choose to let George Kittle run wild this Sunday (not that anybody has been able to contain him in the past 21 games). The Redskins have the twenty-third and twenty-fifth best pass and run defenses respectively, so Shanahan could literally open up any part of his playbook this weekend and let his players rack up some stats. This could end up being the type of game that Nick Mullens enters or where Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman both get close to 100 yards rushing again.

This would be a good game for Shanahan to try and get his wide receivers more involved in the attack, possibly feeding Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, and Marquise Goodwin a few more targets, as the Niners will need its WR group to be more effective down the stretch of the season if they want to make a run all the way to the Super Bowl.

This Sunday is no different than any other Sunday in the NFL. Underdogs will beat teams they were supposed to lose to, but it would take a meltdown of enormous proportions to see the Redskins defeat the 49ers this Sunday.

You can follow Travis on Twitter here!

Stay tuned to 49ersHub for more great 49ers coverage and analysis!