- The Washington Times
Sunday, October 20, 2019

LANDOVER — As time expired at a rain-drenched FedEx Field, San Francisco 49ers rookie Nick Bosa celebrated a 9-0 shutout of the Washington Redskins with an impromptu dive, flinging himself into the mud, allowing his momentum to carry him across the field.

Then, the 21-year-old defensive lineman’s teammates joined him.

As the 49ers played and splashed in the muck like kids on a backyard Slip ‘N Slide, the Redskins trudged off, losing for the sixth time this season, their fourth at home. They exited the field, again, with opposing fans cheering — this time on the Redskins‘ own annual Alumni Homecoming Weekend.

By losing Sunday, the Redskins have now gone a calendar year without a win at FedEx. Their last victory came Oct. 21, 2018, when the Dallas Cowboys missed a last-second field goal to seal Washington’s win.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan, a former Redskins offensive coordinator, got his revenge and the Redskins were left looking for lessons learned.

“We’ve got to learn how to — when we’ve got ‘em by the neck, choke people out,” Redskins left tackle Donald Penn said. “We’re going to keep learning. … We had a chance to really beat a good team out there.

“And they know they got lucky, but luck don’t get us nowhere.”

Lucky is certainly one way to describe it. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. The Redskins were limited to just 154 yards offensively. Their 50 net yards passing were their fewest since 1980.

The Redskins also squandered prime opportunities — failing to score three times in San Francisco territory.

On the first chance, the Redskins‘ drive stalled outside the red zone, with kicker Dustin Hopkins missing a 39-yard attempt.

Behind the running of Adrian Peterson, the Redskins had marched down the field on the opening drive with 10 straight runs. But San Francisco made a stop on third down, leading to the missed kick.

Later, on fourth-and-1 from the 29, rather than attempt the field goal, Washington lined up in I-formation with no receivers on the field. The plan was clear: Get the ball to Peterson. As soon as the ball was snapped, the 34-year-old was stuffed in the backfield.

Down 3-0 in the third quarter, the Redskins were again at San Francisco’s 29-yard line. Finally, points seemed to be in reach. Peterson, however, fumbled, with the ball slipping out as he was being dragged down by multiple defenders. San Francisco recovered.

“The fumble, for me personally, that’s what lost us the game,” said Peterson, who finished with 81 yards on 20 carries. “I always look at going on to the next play, next play. But that was a critical time. … I’ll be beating myself up about this one all night I know for sure.”

The loss was particularly frustrating for a franchise that a week ago had collected its first win of the season in Miami. Players dressed quickly after the game with a few declining to talk to the media. Penn snapped at a reporter when asked about Bosa’s celebration.

San Francisco came into the game heavily favored, but the Redskins kept things close into the fourth quarter.

Like Washington, the 49ers had trouble throwing. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had just 151 yards and was picked off in the third quarter when safety Troy Apke came up the grab. Garoppolo was also sacked twice.

The undefeated 49ers, though, found a way to win. Garoppolo hit wide receiver Richie James Jr. for a 40-yard gain, setting up their first field goal. Kicker Robbie Gould later made it 6-0, which given the Redskins‘ lack of offensive production, felt insurmountable.

Still, Washington had a chance. With 9:03 left and the ball at their own 25, the Redskins were a touchdown and an extra point away from taking the lead.

Instead, the Redskins went three and out, San Francisco added another field goal and the 49ers celebrated by playing in the rain.

“What they do is their business, and we just didn’t do enough to win,” Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan said. “I learned a long time ago, when you win, say little. And when you lose, say less.

“So we’ve got nothing to say except take care of our own business and refocus and get ready here on a short week for Minnesota.”

Washington faces the Vikings, led by former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, on Thursday in Minnesota. Cousins went 24 of 34 for 337 yards and four touchdowns in the Vikings’ 42-30 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

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