49ers Film Review: Defense sets offense up for breakout second half

The 49ers put up 37 points on Saturday against Washington. The offensive output was impressive, but it came with a lot of help from a defense which gave San Francisco terrific field position throughout the second half.

Here is a look at how the offense and defense played together to create a dominating win over a tough opponent.

Goal line stop

Third and Goal, 49ers 1

After going three and out on their first two possessions, Washington drives 84 yards to the 49ers one yard line.

On third down Akeem Spence and T.Y. McGill drive back the interior of the Commanders offensive line. McGill gets a piece of Brian Robinson Jr. and although he doesn’t make the tackle, he disrupts the back enough that Dre Greenlaw is able to make the stop for no gain.

Fourth and Goal, 49ers 1

Penetration from Javon Kinlaw eats up two Commanders offensive linemen. T.Y. McGill slants inside taking out another offensive lineman, allowing Fred Warner a free run at Robinson Jr. and he drops the back for no gain.

Ray-Ray McCloud hits paydirt

Second and ten, 49ers 29

Following the goal line stand, the 49ers offense gets out of the shadow of its own endzone behind strong runs from Christian McCaffrey and a 15-yard completion from Brock Purdy to Jauan Jennings.

After a first down pass from Purdy is batted down at the line of scrimmage, Kyle Shanahan dials up a sweep for wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud. McCloud takes it 71-yards for the 49ers longest touchdown run of the season.

What makes this play go is the blocking. Right guard Spencer Burford does a good job of reaching the defensive tackle and Mike McGlinchey gets upfield to block the linebacker. Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle double team the defensive end and Willie Snead gets the final block allowing McCloud to run untouched through the Commanders defense.

Willie Snead was called up from the practice squad on Saturday, played one snap and made it count.

Brock Purdy goes deep

Third and four, Commanders 34

For the second week in a row Brock Purdy connects with George Kittle for a long touchdown on the 49ers opening possession of the second half.

It looks like Kittle was supposed to run a deep crosser but adjusts his route when the safety sits. The adjustment takes Kittle into the same area as Ray-Ray McCloud, but it works out as Purdy hits the tight end in stride to give the lead back to San Francisco.

Another fourth down defensive stop

Fourth and one, Commanders 34

Down by seven, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera lives up to his “Riverboat Ron” nickname by going for it on fourth down despite being deep in his own end of the field.

Rivera’s roll of the dice comes up Snake Eyes thanks to Arik Armstead and Charles Omenihu who hold the point of attack. Talanoa Hufanga also comes in from his safety position and the 49ers defense stuffs Taylor Heinicke for no gain.

Back to Kittle

Second and nine, Commanders 33

On the second play following the turnover on downs Brock Purdy makes Rivera pay for his aggressive decision making.

Purdy fakes a toss to Ty Davis-Price and finds George Kittle alone thanks to the Washington defense over pursing the run. Kittle takes the six-yard pass from Purdy and races the remaining 27 yards to give the 49ers a 21-7 lead.

Aiyuk catch and run

On the first offensive snap following the touchdown to Kittle, Purdy nearly gets another explosive touchdown.

Brandon Aiyuk runs a terrific route to create separation from the Washington defender. Seeing this after a play fake to Christian McCaffrey, Purdy rips a 14-yard out to Aiyuk who takes the ball another 40 yards to set the 49ers up deep inside Washington territory. This led to a Robbie Gould field goal to extend San Francisco’s advantage to 24-14.

Nick Bosa does it again.

Second down and eight, Commanders 21

On the second play of the ensuing Washington possession, Nick Bosa blasts around the right tackle and gets a strip sack of Taylor Heinicke. Jordan Willis has solid pressure as well and grabs the fumble out of the air to force the first Washington turnover of the game.

Taking over from the Washington 11, the 49ers offense can only pick up six yards and settles for another short field goal from Robbie Gould

Jimmie Ward knocks Taylor Heinicke out of the game

On the second play of the ensuing Washington possession Heinicke tries to hit Brian Robinson Jr. with a check down and misses badly. Playing zone coverage, Jimmie Ward breaks on the ball and comes down with his career high third interception of the season.

Taking over at the Washington 25, the 49ers pick up just eight yards and settle for another Robbie Gould field goal to go up 30-14.

This article has 8 Comments

  1. I think the only way the 9ers lose during the remainder of the regular season is if they just come out flat in one of the two remaining games. If they win their two remaining games I believe they will get the #2 seed and are guaranteed 2 home games and may just get three home games. I will be flipping back and forth between the 9ers and the Minn/GB game this Sunday. If the Saints can beat (the potentially Hurtless) Eagles this Sun it will come down to the NY Gs Vs. the Eagles on the final Sun. for the #1 seed. Stranger thins have happened.

    1. It’s all up to Green Bay. Surely Chicago can’t beat the Vikings. I’m not sure it even matters. The Niners can beat the Vikings no matter where it’s played.

      1. Geep,
        Also if the 9ers win out and the Eagles lose out (possibly without Hurt) the 9ers would be the #1 seed.

  2. Good stuff Jack. A few observations:

    T.Y. McGill seems to flash in every game now. I’d never even heard of the guy before this year. Maybe I’ve been lost. Seems to be a really effective d-lineman.

    The McCloud TD really was a beautiful play. Blocking was executed to perfection. Really impressed with Snead’s blocking on that play. That isnt an easy block to sustain for that long. Kittle and CMC working together was executed perfectly to get the double team and then slide out to pick off another defender. Thats beautiful football.

    I saw on social media where Kittle said he stole a TD from McCloud and he really did. Kittle undoubtedly ran the wrong route. It’s all good and we’re all celebrating but I wonder if Shanahan is telling Kittle to run the route as the play is designed. If the TE drifts too far upfield on that play against a different look he could run a defender into an area that would otherwise be wide open for a TD to the WR.

    Nick Bosa is a special player. On that 2 point conversion, Washington tried to double the D-tackle and pull a guard over to block Bosa. Guard never even touched Bosa. What a horrible blocking scheme against the best pass rusher in the NFL. Total stupidity.

    I thought the Washington D-Tackles controlled the interior of the 49er O-line for most of the game. Not surprising because, in my opinion, WA has the best D-Tackle combo in the NFL. When Chase Young returns to full health, the Washington D-line will be top 3 in the NFL.

    Thanks for the work Jack. These video breakdowns you do are really excellent.

  3. Raiders announce that D. Carr will be benched for the remainder of the season. Things just got easier this Sunday, although I have to admit I know almost nothing about their new QB Jarrett Stidham.

  4. Scouting Report for Jarrett Stidham:
    Overview By Lance Zierlein
    The 2017 Alabama win showed a mobile quarterback with good mechanics and intelligence who played with confidence and was able to convert in key situations. The 2018 tape shows a player who lost both his confidence and poise and began to play a rushed brand of football that seeped into his pre-snap planning and his post-snap accuracy. Stidham went from ascending prospect to developmental quarterback and he needs to find the right set of coaches and system to help rehab his confidence and timing.

    Player Bio
    Stidham began his career at Baylor, but the firing of coach Art Briles due to the sexual assault scandal on campus caused him to look elsewhere. He was a big signing for Briles, a top-50 overall prospect nationally from Stephenville, Texas, who passed for nearly 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns and ran for almost 1,000 more yards as a senior. Stidham played in 10 games with three starts as a true freshman, completing 69 percent of his passes (75-of-109) for 1,265 yards, 12 touchdowns, and two interceptions. He took online courses at McLennan Community College in 2016 and practiced with a local high school team to keep his arm in shape. The preparation paid off, as he excelled for the Tigers in his first year on the Plains. The SEC Newcomer of the Year and second-team all-conference quarterback completed 66.5 percent of his throws (246-of-370) for 3,158 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. The highlight of his year was the team’s Iron Bowl win over Alabama (21-of-28, 237 yards). Stidham did not take a step forward as a junior, completing only 60.7 percent of his throws (224-of-369) for 2,794 yards, 18 touchdowns, and five interceptions in a somewhat disappointing 8-5 season

    Combine Results:
    40 Yard Dash: 4.81s
    Bench Press: —
    Vertical Jump: 31
    Broad Jump: 110
    3 Cone Drill: 7.28
    20 Yd Shuttle: 4.33
    60 Yd Shuttle: —

Comments are closed.