- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 15, 2017

LANDOVER — The Redskins were challenged by a number of injuries to their defensive backfield, but Washington’s young defensive backs stepped up in a 26-24 win Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Already without starting cornerback Josh Norman, the Redskins lost starter Bashaud Breeland in the third quarter with a knee injury. The injuries left third-year pro Quinton Dunbar and rookie Fabian Moreau on the outside to help hold off a 49ers rally.

“Very impressed with all of them,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “There was a coverage mix up there that gave them a touchdown to get it back to a one or two-point game, but overall I liked the way they competed, covered and played.”

49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard finished the game 19-of-36 for 245 yards after taking over from veteran Brian Hoyer.

Beathard found a wide open Aldrick Robinson, who beat Moreau in coverage, for a 45-yard touchdown to cut the Redskins’ lead to 26-24 with just under two minutes remaining.

But San Francisco didn’t score when they received the ball with 58 seconds left.

“I don’t blink, man,” said Dunbar, who converted to cornerback from wide receiver during his rookie year. “Like I was saying during the week, football is pleasure for me and what I have been through growing up. It’s fun and I just love to play. That’s all.”

Cornerback Kendall Fuller came away with a game-sealing interception on fourth-and-20 with three seconds left.

“We know the depth that we have in this secondary,” Fuller said. “Everybody can come out there, everybody can make plays and everybody is smart. That’s just how we have to do it as a group.”

That depth, though, might be tested in coming weeks.

Breeland will undergo an MRI on Monday for his MCL after being chop blocked in the third quarter by 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley. Norman, meanwhile, has a fractured rib and could be out for at least another two weeks.

In addition to the cornerbacks, there are numerous health concerns at safety. Gruden announced rookie Montae Nicholson has a shoulder injury and Stefan McClure has a knee sprain. The Redskins dressed just three safeties Sunday after Deshazor Everett missed the game with a hamstring injury.

Nicholson, who was ranked as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-highest rated rookie safety after Week 4, said he’s noticed a shift in how teams are challenging him.

“I’m honored, but disappointed,” Nicholson said. “The teams, especially with the more experienced quarterbacks, tend to go for the rookie. I guess I kind of discourage them from doing that. I kind of wish they would, but I can only control what I can control and that’s the back end.”

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