A tough assignment, a difficult night for Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson

San Francisco wide receiver Boldin with a big game in 27-6 victory

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There was nowhere for Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson to hide.

Assigned for much of the night to cover San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who has four inches and 30 pounds on him, Wilson was beaten on consecutive plays in the first quarter, the second a 19-yard touchdown pass to Boldin.

Early in the second quarter, tight end Vernon Davis also beat Wilson for a 40-yard catch. That play led to a field goal and a 10-0 lead for the 49ers. They were well on the way to an easy 27-6 victory over Washington at FedEx Field.  

Time and again, San Francisco targeted Wilson. It’s life in the NFL. When something works, teams will continue to go back to it. The assignment was a difficult one. By no means was Wilson completely to blame for another shoddy defensive effort – this time against a team that itself was struggling offensively entering the night.   

“[Boldin] was able to pull some balls in that I felt like I was right there,” Wilson said. “I take my hat off to him. He’s a great receiver.”

San Francisco finished with 235 passing yards, not an obscene number, but more than enough in a game where the Redskins scored just six points and rarely threatened to push for more.

Wilson lamented several plays where quarterback Colin Kaepernick put throws in areas where his far bigger receivers could make plays. Wilson stands just 5-9 and weighs 188 pounds. That’s a total mismatch against the 6-1, 220 pound Boldin. Davis is 6-3, 250.

“All of us have responsibilities and are put in positions that are very tough sometimes,” safety Reed Doughty said. “Yeah, that’s a tough position to be in – one on one with one of the game’s best receivers. I know [Wilson] can do it though. That’s why they put him on him because I know he can make those plays.”

Unfortunately, the Redskins’ secondary was left on its own for most of the night. It probably had to be that way with Kaepernick’s ability to move out of the pocket and extend plays and with San Francisco running back Frank Gore a powerful force in his own right. Washington had to stop the run and it did so with just 76 rushing yards allowed. And so, dared to do so, the 49ers beat them with the pass, instead. Kaepernick threw for three touchdowns. Did their size at receiver make the difference?

“Yes and no. They’re good receivers,” Doughty said. “Boldin is one of those guys that’s been doing it a long time and he’s a big-bodied guy. He always makes the tough catch.”

And there was little zone coverage to help. It was one-on-one most of the night and a defensive back has to win those battles or face the consequences over and over again. Wilson acknowledged he was part of the problem. So did his coach. It wasn’t easy to watch.  

“[Wilson] did give up a couple of big plays,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “If you are going to play corner in the National Football League, that is going to happen every once in a while. He has had a heck of a year, but today was probably not one of his better games. But he is a guy who is going to go out there and compete and fight.” 

 

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