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Redskins @ 49ers – Fourth Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Matt Terl on December 28, 2008 – 7:18 pm

  • As the third quarter ended, it looked like the story of that drive was going to be a very brief Chris Cooley redemption story. After dropping a pass on first down, Cooley came through on third and 10 to pick up the first down and end the half. Everything looked groovy. But with the start of the fourth quarter, the narrative changed to A Series of Inexplicable Drops, by Santana Moss. The first one, on second down, was defensible, but the third down drop was completely bizarre, and not like anything I remember seeing from Moss before.

  • It’s shaping up to be costly, too, because apparently by dropping that pass, Moss, magically transformed Shaun Hill into a gunslinging quarterback. I’m actually not entirely surprised to see Hill do this: I remember him from his days at Maryland, and he never threw the prettiest passes or seemed like the greatest of quarterbacks, but he would occasionally get into streaks like this one, and he was always a gutsy player. Seven of the eight plays on the 49ers scoring drive were Hill passes, six of which were complete — including the touchdown to make it 21-17, 49ers lead.
  • For the second time in recent weeks, the Redskins find themselves in a fourth-and-short situation in their own territory with around nine minutes left. For the second time, they punt, and for the second time, I completely disagree with the decision. This time, my disagreement is almost immediately proved correct, since the Niners return the punt to just a few yards short of the line of scrimmage anyhow. In fact, I hate punting in that situation even more given that it’s the last game of the year. What do you stand to lose, really?
  • Anyhow, the net result is a San Francisco field goal, and a score of 24-17. I joked earlier about the teams trying to make the game run as quickly as possible to just get the season over with, and now we might be playing for overtime. Great. (Also, if Shaun Hill is playing for his job here in San Francisco, he’s making a pretty good case for himself.)
  • Another plus for Jason Campbell today is that he appears to have finally learned how to slide. His first half scramble ended with an ugly, face-first dive/slide hybrid thing, but on a crucial 23 yard second down run, he managed to end it with something that looked like an honest-to-goodness quarterback slide.
  • Flush with success from that slide, Campbell also demonstrated that he could punch the ball in himself from two yards out. That didn’t look like a designed run, either, and was just a terrific effort on Campbell’s part. There’s still 1:09 left, though, and the way the 49ers have been moving the ball this quarter, that could easily be enough time todrive into field goal range.
  • Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd it certainly was. The difference between a winning rookie season for Coach Zorn and an 8-8 campaign is going to come down to Joe Nedney’s ability to hit a 39 yard field goal. And the kick is up and good as time expires, and the 2008 Redskins season comes to a disappointing end in San Francisco with a .500 record, the first time the defense has given up more than 25 points all season.
  • The blog, however, does not come to an end. I’ll be continuing to update through the offseason from Redskins Park, so stick around as usual.
  • Now, though, it’s time for what will probably be a subdued and disappointed flight home. The Eagles’ 44-6 annihilation of the Cowboys is nice, but in the end it just means that a team the Redskins beat twice is headed to the playoffs. And that’s almost as irritating as ending the season with another loss.

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