The 5th Quarter: 49ers
Well it's certainly different to have to grade a performance after a decisive victory. While it was 'only' the now 2-12 49ers, the Redskins handed them a fairly decisive 26-16 defeat and continued their overall improvement for the season. It wasn't pretty at times, but the victory was never really in doubt. Here's how the various units performed:
Patrick Ramsey had a solid day. Nothing spectacular, but he did manage to move the team down the field consistently. He finished with a respectable 214 yards on 18 of 27 completions, and was sacked only once. He had one passing touchdown on a 12-yard strike to Robert Royal. Ramsey's favorite target on Saturday was Rod Gardner. Gardner hasn't been very productive lately, so it was a nice change to see him grab over 100 yards (111 yards) and on just 6 catches thanks to a 39-yard pass. Big plays have been hard to come by for this Redskins offense.
Apparently Saturday was an 'off' day for Clinton Portis. While Portis did manage to post 110 yards, it as largely due to the 31 times he was handed the ball. Clinton did not appear to have the same burst through the holes that he normally does, and seemed to be laboring somewhat, though that is purely speculatory. While it's hard to complain when your runningback has 130 all-purpose yards (3 catches for 20 yards), he didn't seem to be at his best.
It's starting to become very repetitive gushing about the way that the Washington Redskins defense has played in 2004. It took until late in the 4th quarter for the 49ers to put up enough yards to put Washington behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in total defense for the season. Sean Taylor was an absolute nightmare out there again. Despite having his lip busted open, the young phenom continued his streak of having his 'best game as a professional'. He just continues to get better and better, and with that improvement, he becomes the leader of this defense more and more as well.
The other incredibly surprising cog in this 2004 defense has been Antonio Pierce. In his relief of Mike Barrow, he has made fans forget all about Mike Barrow. Saturday, Pierce made even more of an impact than has become the 'norm' when he returned an interception 78 yards for a Redskin touchdown that salted the game away. Pierce also added 7 tackles (5 solo, 2 assists) and was second only to Marcus Washington's 8 (5 solo, 3 assists) in that regard.
The defense finished with four interceptions (Ron Warner, Walt Harris, Taylor and Pierce) and decided this game almost single-handedly. What a surprise.
It's hard to believe that Special teams were not an issue this week; considering John Hall was put on the injured reserve list. Jeff Chandler was brought in last minute and kicked brilliantly in a 4/4 field goal performance against his former team. Three of his four kicks were short yardage at 20, 25 and 26-yards, but the longest came from 49 which is a good boot for any kicker. His kickoffs started short, but did get longer as the game progressed.
It was also the debut of Antonio Brown on return duty. He was solid, but he did not have any plays of great significance.
This article was released on 2004-12-20.
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