The lights came on, and the iconic jingle pumped through the speakers at FedExField. “Da dah duh duhhhhh” doesn’t evoke the same chills when cheerleaders work out their choreography hours before kickoff, but it’s still a sign.
It’s Monday Night Football, and the world is watching.
Parallels abound between San Francisco (6-4) and Washington (3-7), two teams with young quarterbacks who have fallen short of the preseason hype through 10 weeks. The Redskins chew up yards but don’t score when it counts. The 49ers are last in the league in passing yards per game.
The difference is San Francisco boasts a top-10 defense. Justin Smith received All-Pro votes at both defensive end and defensive tackle last year. Blockers routinely pinball off of him. Given Washington’s struggles against interior pressure, No. 94 more than any other 49er could dictate how the Redskins’ offense performs.
Washington’s depth will be tested tonight. The leagues’ No. 1 rushing offense is without fullback Darrel Young. Alfred Morris is 82 yards shy of tallying his second 1,000 yard season in two campaigns, but losing Young hurts. Fred Davis and Joshua Morgan get second chances to prove their worth.
It seems like we say this every week now, but this game could really be Washington’s last shot at reclaiming its season. Six straight wins would give the Redskins a winning record. A “W” would be the best salve for the off-the-field issues that infected Redskins Park during the work week.
Let’s see if this will be a night to remember or a broadcast to follow only if you love Jon Gruden looking like he has to sneeze and saying nice things in an aggressive voice. Admittedly, I’m a fan of that spectacle.
But I’d rather see the Redskins win.
Follow the live blog below.
COIN TOSS: The Redskins have won and elected to receive.
Phil Dawson is on to kick to return man/fullback/tight end Niles Paul, who fields the kick at about the 10-yard line before scampering to the 21-yard line and sliding on his heels.
Redskins first drive
1st and 10 <21: Robert Griffin III fakes a handoff and throws to Pierre Garcon in the left flat. The ball is dropped.
2nd and 10 <21: Griffin III lines up under center, fakes a handoff and is flushed to his left. He runs 4 yards out of bounds after stepping out of a tackle.
3rd and 6 <25: Griffin III throws an errant pass in the direction of Logan Paulsen.
4th and 5 <25: Sav Rocca punts deep to LaMichael James, who calls for a fair catch at the San Francisco 31-yard line.
49ers first drive
1st and 10 <31:Colin Kaepernick hands off to Frank Gore, who picks up 2 yards on the draw.
2nd and 8 <33: Kaepernick takes a shotgun snap and finds Mario Manningham on the slant for a first down.
1st and 10 <44: Frank Gore runs right for 5 yards.
2nd and 5 <49: Kaepernick takes a 4-yard sack from Brian Orakpo.
3rd and 9 <45: Kaepernick’s throw is incomplete to Vernon Davis.
4th and 9 <45: Andy Lee punts 55 yards into the end zone for a touchback.
Redskins second drive
1st and 10 <20: Morris runs the stretch play right for 2-yards. Ahmad Brooks slipped past the line.
2nd and 8 <22: Griffin III decides to keep the ball on the zone read, running 5 yards out of bounds before he’s splashed onto the sideline.
3rd and 3 <27: Roy Helu Jr. runs 2 yard up the middle. He’s short of the first down.
4th and 1 <29: Rocca punts deep to LaMichael James, who cuts back behind one block and slips out of another before Evan Royster lays a solid hit on him.
49ers second drive
1st and 10 <21: San Francisco was called for holding on the return. Kaepernick drills a ball to Mario Manningham on the left sideline for 13 yards.
1st and 10 <34: Frank Gore takes the handoff into the teeth of Washington’s defensive line, gaining 2 yards before Barry Cofield takes him down.
2nd and 8 <36: Kaepernick just tossed a ball a few yards above Manningham’s head. I’m not coming up with a good blind side of a barn anology.
3rd and 8 <36: Kaepernick drops back, steps up in the pocket and gets sacked by Jarvis Jenkins.
4th and 111<33: Andy Lee punts deep to Santana Moss, who picks up 13 yards to the 22-yard line.
Redskins third drive
1st and 10 <22: Griffin III takes the pistol snap, fakes to Morris and throws a pass well short of Aldrick Robinson. I did not even see him in the vicinity, but that’s what the zebra said.
2nd and 10 <22: Morris runs right for no gain. Ahmad Brooks has been everywhere so far tonight, beating his block to make that last tackle. .
3rd and 10 <22: Griffin III looks to pass and steps up in the pocket with a lot of green in front of him. He elects to throw the bomb deep for Aldrick Robinson. He overthrows his receiver.
4th and 10 <22: Rocca punts 51 yards to LaMichael James, who picks up 11 yards on the return.
49ers third drive
1st and 10 <38: Kaepernick takes teh pistol snap and hands off to Frank Gore, who gets 2 yards before London Fletcher tracks him down.
2nd and 8 <40: Kaepernick sets up under center, has time and fires over the middle to Manningham. Josh Wilson batted down the ball.
3rd and 8 <40: Anquan Boldin is in the slot. Kaepernick chooses to stick with Manningham, finding the receiver on a slant for 11 yards.
1st and 10 <49: Kendall Hunter picks up 4 yards on the left side.
2nd and 6 >45: Kaepernick scrambles to his right and steps out of bounds for 2 yards.
3rd and 4 >43: Boldin is back in the slot, matched up on Josh Wilson. Kaepernick is changing the protection. The quarterback lofts a ball for Boldin on a corner route, and the receiver makes a beautiful adjustment to the ball in the air, leaping for a 24-yard catch.
1st and 10 >19: Kaepernick goes back to the well, stepping into a bullet pass to Boldin near the right pylon. Touchdown San Francisco. Phil Dawson’s kick is good.
49ers 7 Redskins 0
Niles Paul fields the kickoff and runs 20 yards to the 27-yard line.
Redskins fourth drive
1st and 10 <27: RGIII lines up under center and hands off to Alfred Morris, who can’t find much room on the stretch play to the left.
2nd and 10 <27: Griffin III completes his first pass, a screen to Pierre Garcon the 49ers sniffed out early.
3rd and 11 <26: RGIII looks to pass, steps up in the pocket and backpedals out of pressure. The quarterback runs left, turns the corner and tightropes the sideline for a first down.
1st and 10 <36: Roy Helu Jr. runs to the right side, cutting up inside the middle for 12 yards.
1st and 10 <48: Griffin III lofts a throw deep to Garcon, but Donte Whitner was in position. He intercepts the ball and picks up 7 yards on the return.
Tags: First Quarter Happenings, monday night football, san francisco 49ers, washington redskins
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