A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Blognostications

2013 - Week 12 vs San Francisco 49ers

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Blognosticator - Anne the Fan

Before I begin discussing the upcoming game against the 49ers, I need to make a confession: Of all the opponents on the Redskins’ schedule this year, I probably know the least about the 49ers. Living on the East coast, I don’t often get to see their games unless they’re nationally televised. But in all honesty, a lot of it stems from the fact that I have a pretty severe mental block against the team. As long as I can remember I’ve found them annoying, and not for any reason that makes sense. Maybe it’s because my great great grandfather went west to make his fortune in the California gold rush and lost everything he had, or maybe it’s because I’ve always felt that the 49ers teams of the 1980s overshadowed the Redskins teams of that era. One thing is for certain: I can certainly hold a grudge.

To make matters worse, the Redskins’ sorry play this season has caused me to turn off the TV and storm out of the room midway through most of the games. The good news is, my fury has given me the energy to tackle a lot of chores that always manage to get put on the back burner. The bad news is, the lack of viewing time means that I don’t know as much about the team as I should. Sure, I know that the team is bad in a way that I cannot fully describe on a family-friendly message board. But I (and, I suspect, many people) don’t really quite know what ails this team. Still, every week the sports columns, radio airwaves and message boards overflow with opinions on what is wrong and how it can be fixed. The consensus is that the problem is Haslett, except when it’s the Shanahans or RGIII or both, and don’t forget the offensive line. Merely typing the words “special teams” makes Redskins fans everywhere want to yell at puppies. Watching the Redskins these days reminds me of a quote by John McKay, who famously said about his hapless Buccaneers, “We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.”

The Redskins are currently ranked 6th in total offense and 12th in passing, but you wouldn’t have known it watching the anemic passing game during the first three quarters of last Sunday’s game against the Eagles. The run game, currently ranked 3rd, is arguably the best thing about this team. San Francisco is ranked 6th in total defense, 10th against the pass and 11th against the run. Additionally, two of its players (Tramaine Brock and Eric Reid) are in the Top 25 in interceptions. After watching the film of the Eagles game, a team ranked dead last in total defense, don’t you think the 49ers might be just a little excited about playing the Redskins? Phase One: Shut down the run. Phase Two: Close off the edges, push up the middle and force RGIII to pass from a collapsing pocket. Phase Three: Profit! And it’s only going to get worse now that Leonard Hankerson is out with an LCL injury and Jordan Reed is recovering from a concussion. At this rate, Bruce Allen may be pulling people out of line at the Largo Mall and handing them a uniform.

The Redskins’ defense is 28th in total defense, 26th against the pass and 18th against the run. Washington’s defense is almost comically bad if you’re not a Redskins fan. Tackling continues to present a challenge, to put it kindly; the way defenders wave their arms at the opposition as they run by makes me wonder if they’re being coached by air traffic controllers. The 49ers’ offense is ranked 6th in rushing; Frank Gore is on pace to run for 1,400 yards this season and is currently ranked 7th in the league. Yeah, that’s going to be a problem for Washington. Now it’s also true that the 49ers’ offense is 28th in total offense and 32nd in passing. Still, over the past few years the Redskins’ secondary has been exploited over the middle by tight ends, especially big ones. If Vernon Davis is able to play (his status is probable at the moment) he should have a big game. Even if Davis can’t play, Anquan Boldin is having a solid year and Mario Manningham has always made big plays against the Redskins. Plus, Michael Crabtree may finally be ready to play again. Look for the 49ers to have improved in all three offensive ranking categories by Tuesday morning.

In the end, I just don’t see how the Redskins can beat the 49ers. At the start of the season, even the most optimistic Redskins fans believed that this game would present a significant challenge. Now that the team is dangerously close to reenacting the 2009 season, I just don’t see any reason to believe that it can rally. And here’s my most shameful confession: I don’t even really care all that much. Mostly I feel numb and demoralized, and a little sad for everyone involved in this mess of a season. Win, lose or tie this Monday, my zeal is pretty much gone.

Final score: Redskins 17, 49ers 31.
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