49ers dominate Commanders in 37-20 win; Five burning questions answered
The San Francisco 49ers used a dominant second half to defeat the Washington Commanders 37-20 at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday.
It was everyone’s game at halftime. Although the captains dominated the possession time, the score stood at seven.
The 49ers gave up points on their opening possession and were stuffed in fourth and one. In the second quarter, San Francisco Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr.’s defense stopped for a goal-line stand on back-to-back rush attempts.
For the second straight week, San Francisco opened the second half with a touchdown. Brock Purdy connected with George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk on consecutive throws from 13 yards before finding Kittle deep in the middle from 34 yards out.
After stopping Washington in fourth and close for the second time in the game, San Francisco wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. After a wrong play, Purdy rolled to the left and found Kittle with a short pass that the tight end took the rest of the way for a 33-yard touchdown.
From that point, the 49ers’ defense took over, forcing two turnovers and the route was clear.
Here are the answers to the five questions I asked before the game.
1.) Will Brock Purdy find a rhythm? YES
Purdy started slow, completing just four of nine attempts for 55 yards in the first half. In the second quarter, he had his first major turnover since joining the lineup. Purdy threw Jauan Jennings a quick slash that caught the receiver in the hip. Jennings couldn’t put it in and the ball bounced into the hands of Commanders defenseman Darrick Forrest.
After only four of nine attempts for 55 yards in the first half, Purdy found his rhythm in the second half, resulting in several explosive plays.
After opening the half with a 34-yard touchdown link to George Kittle, Purdy again found the tight end. This time, Kittle took a short throw from Purdy for a 33-yard score.
Purdy wasn’t done yet. The rookie opened up the next possession by finding Aiyuk on the left, and the receiver lifted off the touchline for a 54 win.
In the second half, Purdy completed 11 of 13 attempts for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He ended the day with a career-high 234 yards.
2.) Can the 49ers offensive line get the job done? YES
Faced with one of the NFL’s best defenses, San Francisco allowed Washington to hit Brock Purdy just three times. They also only allowed two sacks.
The offensive line also did a good job throughout the game and led with 26 carries for 153 yards. San Francisco had its first explosive run of the game just midway through the second half. Ray-Ray McCloud took the ball and ran untouched around the right side of the Washington defense for a 71-yard touchdown to put San Francisco on the scoreboard for the first time.
3.) Can the 49ers defense take the running game from Washington? YES
San Francisco held Washington for just 79 yards on 33 tries. Washington ran the ball 17 times on first downs and gained just 29 yards.
The 49ers also maintained their long season streak of keeping opposing running backs under 60 yards. They held Brian Robinson Jr. for just 58 yards in 22 tries.
4.) Can the 49ers force Taylor Heinicke to make mistakes? YES
Heinicke was solid in the first half, hitting several big throws in third to help Washington go into a tie at halftime.
The wheels broke off in the second half. Nick Bosa came on to the Washington quarterback early in the fourth quarter, firing the quarterback and forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jordan Willis.
As the captain ensued possession, Jimmie Ward intercepted a Heinicke pass intended for Robinson Jr. It was Ward’s third interception of the season, a career highlight.
5.) Which team creates the most sales? 49ers
Although the 49ers turned the ball over first, the defense prevailed in the second half with two turnovers, resulting in six points.
In addition to turnovers, the San Francisco defense stuffed Washington deep into their own end for fourth place. Two plays later, the 49ers were in the end zone on Purdy’s second touchdown pass of the game to George Kittle.
49ers 17 commanders 13