- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2008

FIRST QUARTER

What happened: After Shaun Suisham’s short opening kickoff, the 49ers moved 65 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead. The big play was Shaun Hill’s 29-yard pass to tight end Billy Bajema to the Washington 15. Five plays later, Hill scored on a 2-yard run. The Redskins went three-and-out. San Francisco moved again, but the drive fizzled, and Joe Nedney missed a 48-yard field goal attempt after a bad snap. The Redskins started their next drive on their 38 and moved to the San Francisco 9 as Jason Campbell and Santana Moss hooked up for a 17-yard gain and Campbell scrambled for a first down on third-and-6.

Analysis: The 49ers ran for 54 yards, Hill completed all five of his passes for 46 yards, and the Redskins, as they have much of the season, came out flat and quickly fell behind. They regrouped after Nedney’s miss and moved deep into San Francisco territory as the quarter ended.

SECOND QUARTER

What happened: After Clinton Portis’ 4-yard run tied the score at 7-7, Carlos Rogers’ 31-yard interception return set the Redskins up at the San Francisco 23. But they stalled and settled for Suisham’s 41-yard field goal. The 49ers went nowhere. The Redskins then moved 78 yards in 16 plays and took a 17-7 lead on Campbell’s 6-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El. Campbell escaped a sack on third-and-2 and ran for a first down deep in San Francisco territory. He also hit Moss for 21 yards and Chris Cooley for 12, both on third down. A defensive holding call on third-and-2 and Portis’ run for a first down on fourth-and-inches also helped.

Analysis: The Redskins dominated. The defense came up with a rare turnover to help take the lead and stuffed the 49ers on their only other possession. The offense did the rest, keeping the ball for 9:10, their longest scoring drive of the year. Campbell was cool in the pocket, threw accurately and ran when he had to.

THIRD QUARTER

What happened: Portis lost a fumble at the Washington 38. Three running plays moved the 49ers to the 1; they punched it in two plays later to make it 17-14. Both teams went nowhere on their next two possessions, but the Redskins started to show some life at the end of the quarter, moving from their 11 to near midfield when Campbell found Cooley for 14 yards on third-and-10.

Analysis: Portis’ fumble was huge. The 49ers, whose offense went dormant after their first drive of the half, were handed a short field and made the most of it, shredding the Redskins’ defense with their running game. Washington continued to dink and dunk on offense and had nothing to show for it.

FOURTH QUARTER

What happened: Moss dropped two passes to kill the Redskins’ drive. Going to the air, the 49ers went 80 yards in eight plays and took a 21-17 lead on Shaun Hill’s 9-yard pass to Jason Hill. Shaun Hill was 6-for-7 for 78 yards on the drive. It was three-and-out again for the Redskins. After Allan Rossum’s 35-yard punt return and a 24-yard pass to Josh Morgan, Nedney kicked a 33-yard field goal to make it 24-17 with 5:06 left. A good return by Rock Cartwright gave the Redskins the ball on their 45, and Campbell led a drive to tie the score with 1:09 left. But Shaun Hill wasn’t finished. Completions of 19 and 24 yards put Nedney in position to win it with a 39-yard field goal as time ran out.

Analysis: Other than Campbell’s last-gasp drive, the Redskins’ offense did little. Portis’ fumble and Moss’ drops were killers. But the shock was how the Redskins’ fourth-ranked defense disintegrated. Hill, a Maryland product and the team’s third starting quarterback this season, was terrific.

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