- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2008

Redskins (8-7) at 49ers (6-9)

Today: 4:15 p.m.

Where: Candlestick Park

TV: Ch. 5

Radio: ESPN 980

REDSKINS

STARTERS

Offense

WR89Santana Moss

LT74Stephon Heyer

LG66Pete Kendall

C61Casey Rabach

RG77Randy Thomas

RT76Jon Jansen

TE47Chris Cooley

WR82Antwaan Randle El

QB17Jason Campbell

RB26Clinton Portis

FB45Mike Sellers

Defense

DE92Demetric Evans

DT96Cornelius Griffin

DT94Anthony Montgomerycheck Sat.

DE99Andre Carter

OLB52Rocky McIntosh

MLB59London Fletcher

OLB53Marcus Washington

CB23DeAngelo Hall

CB24Shawn Springs

SS48Chris Horton

FS30LaRon Landry

Specialists

K6Shaun Suisham

P1Ryan Plackemeier

PR82Antwaan Randle El

KR31Rock Cartwright

KR83James Thrash

Injuries

Questionable: LB London Fletcher (foot), DT Kedric Golston (ankle), T Jon Jansen (knee)

Probable: G Pete Kendall (knee)

49ERS

STARTERS

Offense

WR82Bryant Johnson

LT74Joe Staley

LG64David Baas

C66Eric Heitmann

RG62Chilo Rachal

RT68Adam Snyder

TE85Vernon Davis

WR88Isaac Bruce

QB13Shaun Hill

RB21Frank Gore

FB24Michael Robinson

Defense

DE90Isaac Sopoaga

NT92Aubrayo Franklin

DE 94Justin Smith

OLB99Manny Lawson

ILB51Takeo Spikes

ILB52Patrick Willis

OLB98Parys Haralson

CB22Nate Clements

CB27Walt Harris

SS32Michael Lewis

FS26Mark Roman

Specialists

K6Joe Nedney

P4Andy Lee

PR20Allen Rossum

KR20Allen Rossum

KR46Delanie Walker

Injuries

Probable: LB Ahmad Brooks (back), RB Frank Gore (ankle), Eric Heitmann (abodomen), S Michael Lewis (abdomen), S Mark Roman (knee), T Adam Snyder (ankle)

KEY MATCHUP

Redskins CB Shawn Springs vs. 49ers WR Isaac Bruce

Springs, 33, and Bruce, 36, first went at it 11 seasons ago when Springs was a Seattle rookie and Bruce was St. Louis’ No. 1 weapon. And even though Bruce has been to four Pro Bowls and Springs one, the wide receiver hasn’t gotten the better of the cornerback over the years.

In six games against Springs (not counting 2006, when Springs broke a shoulder early in a shootout in St. Louis), Bruce has just 26 catches and one touchdown. He has produced more than 68 yards just once.

Bruce, reunited with former Rams offensive coordinator and coach Mike Martz this season, has seven touchdowns, his most since 2002, while easily leading the 49ers with 59 catches and 827 yards.

Although the Redskins have Carlos Rogers, DeAngelo Hall and Fred Smoot, Springs likely will start on Sunday. Given his frequent injuries and expensive contract, this could be the final game for Springs as a member of the Redskins.

Springs and Co. will only be helped by an improving pass rush, which produced 13 sacks in the past seven games after only managing 10 in the first eight. Active NFL sacks leader Jason Taylor had his first big game with the Redskins last week with two sacks and a forced fumble to tie Demetric Evans for the team lead with 3.5. The increased production should continue against the 49ers, who allow the most sacks per pass of any team.

THREE KEYS

1. First quarter

In the first quarter the past three weeks, the Redskins have fallen behind 10-0 to the New York Giants, 14-0 at Baltimore and 14-0 at Cincinnati and were never able to recover. Last week, the Redskins held the Eagles scoreless in the first half and won. The first quarter has been the 49ers’ best, so if the Redskins are at least even going to the second, they should win.

2. Finish strong

The Redskins were giddy over kneeling at ends of games week after week in their 6-2 first half. That has only happened once in the 2-5 second half. Washington allowed Dallas, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Philadelphia to chew up plenty of the fourth quarter and/or score late. The Redskins have been outscored 37-16 in the fourth quarter the past seven games.

3. Pressure Hill

Former Maryland quarterback Shaun Hill has become a solid NFL starter in his seventh season, but there are still plenty of looks he hasn’t seen because he has played in only 12 games - in his career. Hill also has been sacked 22 times, so Redskins coordinator Greg Blache should be able to come up with a plan to confuse and pressure him.

THE EDGE

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

How the Redskins’ 20th-ranked offense has four Pro Bowl selections while the fourth-ranked defense has none is a mystery. Running back Clinton Portis’ production has slowed radically since he was leading the NFL in rushing at midseason, and the 49ers are better against the run than the pass despite having standout cornerback Nate Clements. Tight end Chris Cooley has just one touchdown among his team-high 77 catches. The pass protection (18 sacks in the past seven games) is struggling.

Edge: Redskins

WHEN THE 49ERS HAVE THE BALL

As good as Washington’s defense has been, the Redskins weren’t able to stop the limited offenses of Baltimore and Cincinnati and were inches shy of allowing an overtime-forcing touchdown on a 90-yard final drive by Philadelphia last week. But making that final stop and holding the soaring Eagles to a season-low three points could carry over into Sunday’s finale. If 49ers top running back Frank Gore, who has missed the past two games, is slowed by a bad ankle, the Redskins can really focus on stopping San Francisco’s passing attack.

Edge: Redskins

SPECIAL TEAMS

Washington’s Ryan Plackemeier was named the NFC special teams player of the week, but San Francisco’s Andy Lee was the 2007 Pro Bowl punter for the NFC. Veteran Joe Nedney has missed just three of 30 field goal attempts for the 49ers, while Shaun Suisham has slumped for the Redskins, missing 10 of 35. Although Rock Cartwright has had a solid season returning kickoffs for Washington, San Francisco’s Allen Rossum has been brilliant.

Edge: 49ers

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide