LANDOVER, Md. — This is the live blog for the 49ers Week 9 game against the Washington Redskins. I will be updating this frequently from the FedEx Field press box.
11:18 Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois have been throwing long toss for about a half an hour. Perhaps this is the week that one of them takes a snap at quarterback.
11:22 The FedEx Field press box is in a unusual spot – behind the south end zone. The north end zone looks like it’s in another stadium. The newer stadiums are doing this more and more so they can sell the box seats on the 50 yard line.
11:34 The 49ers inactive players are Scott Tolzien, Brett Swain, Shawntae Spencer, Moran Norris, Daniel Kilgore, Mike Person, and Ray McDonald.
11:37 The Redskins rookie running back, Roy Helu from the University of Nebraska, will start today instead of Ryan Torain. Helu grew up in Danville and he went to high school at San Ramon Valley.
11:51 According to Adam Schefter, the Redskins rookie wide receivers, Leonard Hankerson, will start today opposite Jabar Gaffney.
11:56 The Washington Redskins inactive players are WR Donte Stallworth, S Oshiomogho Atogwe, RB Tashard Choice, LB Markus White, OT Willie Smith, WR Santana Moss, DT Darrion Scott. CB Phillip Buchanon is on the Redskins injured reserve.
12:03 Alex Smith is throwing warm up passes to Jim Harbaugh, as is tradition.
1:02 The Niners win the toss and elect to defer the possession until the second half, as, of course, is tradition. The Redskins will get the ball first.
1:04 On first down from the Washington 20, Roy Helu runs off right takcle for a gain of 16 yards.
1:05 Next play, Helu tries to run up the middle and Sopoaga tackles him the hole after a gain of two yards.
1:05 On second and eight Helu runs up the middle again and picks up two yards again. Justin Smith tackled him.
1:06 On third and six, John Beck throws incomplete over the middle. Sav Rocca punts to Ted Ginn Jr. who, returns it 11 yards to the SF 18.
1:09 On first down the Niners line up with three tight ends, and Smith hands the ball off to Frank Gore, who runs up the middle and picks up 12 yards.
1:10 Next play, Smith hands off to Hunter on a misdirection hand off. hunter runs left for a gain of four.
1:11 Next play, Smith throws to his second target, Crabtree, who picks up six yards and a first down.
1:11 First and ten from the SF 42, Smith lines up in the shotgun and completes a pass to Vernon Davis over the middle for a gain of six yards.
1:12 On second and four, Gore runs off left tackle for a gain of three.
1:12 On third and one the Niners entire offensive shifts around and Smith gets called for a delay of game penalty. Third and seix from the SF 46.
1:13 Alex Smith lines up in the shotgun, scrambles left with his eyes downfield intending to make a play, but he gets blasted by Adam Carriker for a sack and a loss of seven. Andy Lee punts it 61 yards into the end zone. The Redskins will start their line drive from their 20.
1:17 On first down, Helu runs right at Ricky Jean Francois and picks up 4 yards.
1:18 Beck completes a short pass to Helu as Haralson hits him. Helu picks up two yards. On the radio, former big time NFL QB Sonny Jurgensen called that pass by Beck good because”he completed it.”
1:20 On third and four Beck throws an accurate pass to Helu in the flat over the middle but he drops the ball when Bowman hits him. Rocca punts to Ginn Jr., and the Niners will start their second drive at their 32 yard line.
1:23 On first down Alex Smith completes a pass to Crabtree on the right sideline for a gain of 21 yards. Good play call by Greg Roman.
1:24 Next play, Smith throws a similar pass to Edwards on the right sideline, but he throws too high and the pass falls incomplete.
1:25 On second and ten Gore tries to run a sweep around the left end but he loses four yards.
1:25 On third and fourteen Smith scrambles out of the pocket to the right and throws accuratey to a wide open Gore over the middle, who flat out drops the pass. Both he and Hunter have been dropping passes this season.
1:26 Lee kicks his punt 48 yards. Banks muffs the punt but recovers, so the Redskins will start their third drive from their three yard line.
1:28 Beck tries a play action pass from inside his end zone on first down and Justin Smith almost picks the pass off.
1:30 On second down the Redskins try a screen but Beck kills the play by throwing the ball into the grass. Justin Smith gets called for a hold and the Redskins get a first down at their 8.
1:31 On first down Helu tries to run around the right end and he picks up two yards.
1:31 Beck completes a pass to Daryl Young for a gain of 12 yards. The Niners bit on the play action on that play.
1:32 On first down Helu gains three yards up the middle before Bowman tackles him.
1:33 On second and seven Ricky Jean Francois lines up in the neutral zone. 2nd and 2 for Redskins at their 30.
1:34 Next play, Beck completes a short pass to Hankerson who picks up 8 yards. First and ten from the 38.
1:35 On first down Helu runs a sweep to the left and he picks up no yards.
1:35 On second down Beck fakes a handoff and throws a dead downfield which gets intercepted by Dashon Goldson. Niners ball at their 44.
1:36 On first down Alex Smith calls to “let it roll” at the line of scrimmage, an movement which usually ends up in a Gore run. This time is no different. Gore takes the handoff and runs through a big hole on the left for a gain of nine.
1:40 On second and short the Niners line up in a split back pro set, Smith hands off to Gore who picks up five yards and a first down.
1:40 Next play, Smith has all the time in the world to throw. He eventually checks down to Gore who picks up seven yards. If Vernon Davis had picked up his block in front of Gore, that play could have picked up big yardage.
1:41 On second and three hunter runs up the middle for a gain of one.
1:42 On third and two Alex Smith feels pressure in the pocket so he throws the ball away. David Akers comes on the field to attempt a 52 yard field goal, and he absolutely drills it. 3-0 Niners.
1:46 Redskins to start their fourth drive from their 21 yard line. On first down Helu runs around the right end for a gain of 11 yards. The Niners are having trouble stopping the Redskins zone rushing attack.
1:47 On first down Beck checks down to Helu for a three yard gain. Gaffney was wide open streaking down the middle of the field but Beck didn’t see him.
1:47 Next play, Beck throws a pass to no one, it seems. Terrible pass. Third and seven.
1:50 Gaffney beats Culliver and Beck completes the pass to his top WR. Gain of 12 yards. First and ten from the Washington 47.
1:51 On first down Ryan Torain picks up two yards.
1:52 On second down Beck throws a pass to TE Fred Davis who just drops it.
1:53 The Redskins get called for a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty against Justin Smith, so it’s third and 23 at the 34 for Washington. Beck completes a short checkdown pass to Helu for a gain of eight. Rocca punts to Ginn Jr. who returns it 11 yards to the SF 24.
1:57 On first down Smith throws a strike to Crabtree on a quick slant for a gain of 13 yards.
1:58 Next play, Gore takes a counter pitch right and picks up another 13.
1:59 Next play Hunter runs up the middle for a gain of one.
1:59 On second and nine Smith completes a short pass to Delanie Walker in the right flat for a gain of five. Third and five from the Washington 44.
2:00 Smith telegraphs a pass to Vernon Davis which almost gets picked off, but the throw was high so no one caught it. Andy Lee punts and the Redskins let the ball drop. They will start their drive at their nine.
2:01 One Redskins radio announcer just said: “Heck, it’s only 3-0. We’re still in the game.”
2:03 Helu has 40 yards rushing and there are six minutes left in the first half. He could end the Niners streak of holding rushers under 100 yards, but on first down he runs right for now gain.
2:04 Beck steps up and scrambles but gets tripped up from behind by Jean Francois. Gain of two.
2:05 On third and eight Beck throws one of the worst passes ever downfield before Aldon Smith can sack him. The pass was so bad even the Niners couldn’t catch it. Rocca punts and Ginn Jr. returns it eight yards. The Niner offense will start at their 45 yard line.
2:08 On first down Smith steps up and scrambles for an eight yard gain. One of Smith’s best runs this season.
2:09 Next play, Gore takes the hand off, makes two Redskins miss in the backfield and breaks away for a 27 yard gain. Beautiful run.
2:09 Next play, Hunter runs left for a gain of eight. Second and two at the 12.
2:10 Next play Hunter runs up the middle for a gain of one. Third and one from the Washington 11. Harbaugh calls a timeout with 2:11 left in the first half.
2:12 Frank Gore is getting his right ankle taped on the sideline.
2:13 On third and one Smith fakes a handoff, rolls right and has an open Gore in the flat. Smith overthrows him, as is tradition, and the pass falls incomplete. The Redskins announcer said Gore was “wide open and Smith was asleep,” and he said Smith still looks “shaky.” But the Niners are going for it! But Harbaugh calls a timeout.
2:15 And that didn’t help. Justin Peelle and Delanie Walker false start. Now Akers will attempt a 34 yard field goal.
2:16 Akers hits it, of course. 6-0 Niners. That will probably be enough points for the Niners to win this one. Then again, three points would have probably been enough, too.
2:18 With 1:41 left in the half, the Redskins start their drive at their 19.
2:19 On first down the Redskins’ Trent Williams false starts.
2:19 Beck escapes Jean Francois’ grasp in the pocket, steps up and scrambles for yards.
2:20 Next play Beck completes a screen pass to Helu. Willis hits him and forces the fumble. Whitner recovers. Niner ball at the Washington 30.
2:21 First play, Smith throws a 30-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Miller on a wheel route on the left sideline – a very similar play to Delanie Walker’s TD against Dallas Week 1. Miller was wide open and he caught the pass over his shoulder like a wide receiver. 13-0 Niners. The Redskins announcer just said, “when teams turn it over you go for the jugular immediately and that’s what the 49ers just did.”
2:24 Brandyn Banks returns the kickoff to the Washington 27. On first down Beck throws another screen to Helu, but this one is behind him and it falls incomplete. The Redskins offense is atrocious.
2:25 Next play, Beck completes a 13-yard pass to Gaffney, who beat Tarell Brown on the play.
2:26 Beck throws another short pass to Helu, and this time the tailback picks up eight yards.
2:26 Beck throws one more short pass to Helu, who picks up 11 yards this time.
2:27 With three second left on the clock, Gano comes on the field to attempt a 59-yard field goal, and he actually makes it. Wow. 13-3 Niners at halftime.
2:43 The Niners start their drive at their 21. On first down they lineup five wide and Smith throws a quick pass to Kyle Williams in the left flat. He picks up 12 yards after the catch. First and ten from the 33. Kyle Williams needs to get folded into this offense more.
2:44 Next play, Gore runs up the middle for 13 yards. That play has worked for Gore all day.
2:44 Next play, Smith completes a pass to Crabtree on the right sideline for a gain of four. The pass was not high.
2:45 On second and six, Smith completes a short pass to Delanie Walker over the middle for a gain of 10.
2:46 Smith gives the “let it roll” audible, so naturally he hands off to his tailback Hunter, who picks up three yards up the middle.
2:46 Next play, Smith throws deep to Vernon Davis, who pushes off the get separation but drops the pass anyway. Third and seven from the Washington 37.
2:47 Smith pitches the ball to Delanie Walker on an end around. He loses three yards. Bad play call by Roman there. Harbaugh should have vetoed that one.
2:48 Lee punts the ball into the end zone.
2:50 On first down Beck tries a play action, which, of course, is a bad idea. Ahmad Brooks sacks him for a loss of three yards.
2:51 Next pay, Helu runs around the left end for one yard. Third and 12 from the 18.
2:52 Beck, who has no arm strength, completes a short pass to Hankerson underneath for a gain of nine. Redskins fans boo. Rocca punts. Ginn Jr. returns it 19 yards to the SF 39.
2:55 On first down Gore runs up the middle for a gain of four. That play is still working.
2:55 Next play, Smith drops back to pass but cannot find an open receiver, so he scrambles for three yards. Third and three from the SF 46.
2:56 On third down Smith rolls right and throws a strike on the run to Ted Ginn Jr. for a gain of 14.
2:57 Next play, Smith takes a three step drop and completes a seven-yard pass to Crabtree.
2:57 Next play Smith completes a pass to Edwards on the right sideline for a gain of six. First down.
2:58 Gore runs up the middle for four yards, and on the next play he runs up the middle for two yards. Third and four.
2:59 Smith drops back to pass and gets sacked by Brian Orakpo, who bull rushed Staley right back into the pocket. Akers is on to attempt a 45 yard FG. He makes it. 16-3 Niners.
INJURY UPDATE: Kendall Hunter dislocated a finger and his return is probable.
3:03 The Redskins will start their next “drive” from their 19 yard line.
3:05 On first down Beck scrambles right for a gain of four.
3:06 Next play, Beck fakes a handoff, rolls left and almost throws an interception right to Patrick Willis, but no one catches the pass. Third and six.
3:06 Beck completes a 12-yard pass to Hankerson, who beat Culliver for the first down.
3:07 On first down Beck flicks an awful pass over the middle which everyone misses, somehow.
3:08 Next play Beck completes a screen pass to Torain for a pickup of seven. Third and three from their 42.
3:08 Beck throws a short pass which is tipped high up into the air by Jean Francois, but Helu catches it anyway and picks up 17 yards.
3:09 Next play, the Redskins’ receiver Terrence Austin gets called for a 15-yard crack back block penalty. First and 25 from the Washington 44.
3:10 On first down, Beck completes a little dink pass to Helu for a gain of eight.
3:11 Next play Beck completes a pass in the flat to Helu, who picks up no yards because he stumbled to the ground as he was Willis running to tackle him. Third and 17. FedEx field is booing loudly.
3:14 Beck completes a screen to Helu, who picks up 15 yards after the catch. Fourth and two from the 33.
3:15 The Redskins go for it. Beck takes a three step drop and flicks a little pass to Fred Davis, but Bowman breaks the pass up. Niner ball, still at the SF 33.
3:17 On first down Gore runs up the middle for four yards.
3:18 Next play, Ginn Jr. gets called for offensive pass interference for pushing off. Second and 16 from the 27.
3:19 Smith completes a ten-yard pass to Vernon Davis on the right sideline. Third and seven. The Niners take their first time out of the second half.
3:22 Smith drops back, takes a couple steps to his left in the pocket, then fires a perfect pass to Vernon Davis over the middle for a gain of 21 yards.
3:23 Next play, Gore runs right for a gain of two.
3:24 Anthony Davis motions from right tackle to left tackle, and Gore runs up the middle for four yards. Third and four form the Washington 36.
3:24 Smith completes a quick slant to Edwards on the left, who runs for extra yards and blasts DeAngelo Hall with his shoulder before going out of bounds. Gain of 24. Hall limped back to the Redskins sideline.
3:24 Next play, Hunter runs left for a gain of two. Second and eight at the ten.
3:27 Gore runs up the middle for six yards. He’s averaging 6.9 yards per carry today.
3:29 Smith calls a timeout at the line of scrimmage and then yells at Mike Iupati and Jonathan Goodwin to hurry up.
3:31 Gore takes an inside handoff one yard. Fourth and one at the three.
3:33 David Akers makes a 20-yard field goal. 19-3 Niners. The Redskins are still technically just two touchdowns behind.
3:38 The Redskins start their drive at the 24. Beck completes a short pass to Terrence Austin. Willis chases him down and forces the fumble and Bowman recovers it. That’s 30 for this game. Willis has two forced fumbles today.
3:40 On first down Smith looks deep for Vernon Davis but throws the ball out of bounds.
3:40 Next play, Gore runs around the right end for a gain of nine, but Goodwin gets flagged for a hold. Second and 19 from the Washington 45.
3:42 Next play, Smith completes a short pass to Vernon Davis who fumbles and the Redskins’ LaRon Landry recovers at the Washington 44. The game is back on.
3:43 First play, Beck completes a six-yard pass to Austin over the middle.
3:43 Next play, Beck completes a seven-yard pass to Fred Davis for a first down.
3:44 Next pay, Beck completes another dinker, this time to Hankerson for six yards.
3:44 Next play, Beck throws a perfect pass if the grass was the target. Third and four from the SF 37. Here comes the interception that ends the game, right?
3:45 So close. Culliver gets his hands on the pass but can’t corral it.
3:45 On fourth down Beck throws a pass off Austin’s hands. And now the game is over.
3:46 The Niners take over on downs with 5 minutes left, and Gore runs up the middle for a one yard gain.
FIGHT UPDATE: There was a kerfuffle on the sideline. Kyle Williams shoulder shoved London Fletcher, who slapped Williams back.
3:47 On second and nine, Gore runs up the middle for no gain. Third and nine.
3:48 Hunter runs left for a gain of three. Niners to punt. Redskins call timeout. 4:19 to go.
3:50 Banks muffs the punt but recovers it. The Redskins are sorry, and head coach Mike Shanahan needs to get fired.
3:51 On first down Beck completes his best pass of the day – a 16 yard completion to Fred Davis.
3:54 The Redskins are driving. First and 10 at the 19. Still, this one is over.
Two Minute Warning
3:56 Lots of writers in the press box have their binoculars out and ready. Everyone wants to see Harbaugh’s handshake with Shanahan.
3:59 Beck throws a nine yard TD pass to Gaffney and no one seems to care. They’re going for two, as is tradition.
3:59 Beck throws a fade to Hankerson in the end zone, who easily catches the pass over Tarell Brown. 19-11 with 1:10 left. Here comes the onside kick attempt.
4:01 The Redskins fans who haven’t left are singing “Fight for Old D.C.”
4:02 Vernon Davis catches the onside kick, but he called for a fair catch and that’s a penalty, but only a five-yarder. It’s still SF ball, and this game is still over.
4:05 The 49ers win 19-11. Harbaugh and Shanahan’s handshake was a successful one.