- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2008


Clinton Portis toughed out his second-best day of the season’s second half, but his third-quarter fumble let the 49ers back in the game. Stephon Heyer whiffed on a critical third down in the fourth quarter, allowing Portis to get dumped for a loss. Jason Campbell ran better than he passed.


Campbell continued his downbeat second half of the season; he didn’t surpass 100 yards until late in the third quarter. Antwaan Randle El fought his way into the end zone for a score. Santana Moss had a bad drop that helped keep the 49ers in the game early in the fourth.


The Redskins‘ usually stout run defense struggled with 49ers backs Frank Gore and DeShaun Foster from the get-go — whether San Francisco was in the Wildcat formation or not. Former Maryland quarterback Shaun Hill scored untouched on a keeper.


Washington had held Hill to 82 yards on 14 passes through three-plus quarters, but then it gave up 78 yards on one drive. Fred Smoot, who nearly surrendered the tying touchdown last week, was beaten for the go-ahead score Sunday. And the prevent defense again prevented success, this time keeping the Redskins from reaching overtime.


Kicker Shaun Suisham, who had struggled from beyond 40 yards, hit a 41-yard field goal. Ryan Plackemeier had a couple of good punts but almost had another one blocked. Rock Cartwright had another big day returning kicks, while Randle El had another bad day returning punts. The punt coverage unit allowed a critical long return late by Allen Rossum.


That the Redskins played hard with nothing to gain after flying 3,000 miles speaks well of coach Jim Zorn and his staff. That the Redskins blew a 17-7 second-half lead doesn’t speak well for them. Washington had an up-and-down season, but don’t expect many — if any — changes on the coaching staff for 2009.

David Elfin

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