The San Francisco 49ers defeated Washington 17-13 on Sunday for their third win in a row and improve to 7-4 on the season. The game was a near carbon copy to the last game the 49ers played at Levi's Stadium when they lost 13-10 to the St Louis Rams. The difference was the offense made the plays down the stretch to pull out the victory which sets up a great matchup on Thanksgiving night with the Seattle Seahawks. With the Eagles and Cowboys facing off earlier in the day, a 49ers victory will push them into a playoff position.
Let's get to the answers for the 5 burning questions that I asked on Friday.
1) Can the 49ers keep Robert Griffin III on the ropes? - Yes. Griffin may be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. He is a mess in the pocket and struggles to locate receivers without the help of play action which makes the reads much easier.
Griffin completed two play action throws over the middle for 56 yards. His other 9 completions netted a total of 50 yards.
2) Can the 49ers offense finally find some consistency? - No. After scoring on it's first possession the offense struggled through the next three possessions, hampered by a fumbled snap, a Carlos Hyde fumble and their inability to pick up a yard on 3rd and 1. The offense did finish the first half with a 12 play, 70 yard drive to take a 10-7 lead into the half.
The second half saw more of the same as they went three and out on their first possession followed by an interception, failed quarterback sneak, another three and out when Vernon Davis did not get enough depth on his route and a Frank Gore fumble.
With the game and perhaps the season on the line the offense finally got it together late in the fourth quarter with an 8 play, 75 yard drive that ended in the first touchdown by the offense in the fourth quarter this season.
3) How can the 49ers fix their red zone woes? - "In previous seasons under Rombaugh the 49ers have been very run-centric in this area, but for much of 2014 they have attempted to be more balanced and use the quarterback on more runs. They need to slow that down and go back to what worked for them in 2012 and 2013 when they were well over 50%."
The 49ers had only 1 red zone opportunity on Sunday and they cashed it in with a touchdown. On those three plays, there was a pass completion to Anquan Boldin and two Carlos Hyde runs including the touchdown.
4) What role will Ahmad Brooks have on Sunday? - For the 59th time in a row Brooks started at outside linebacker. After playing only 12 snaps a week ago against New York, Brooks was in on 38 of 56 snaps against Washington. Brooks finished with two quarterback pressures, and recovered a fumble from Robert Griffin III to seal the win.
5) Is this a trap game for the 49ers? - No. While it was a close call the 49ers were able to pull out the win and keep pace in the NFC playoff race. Don't forget, this was a Washington team that went on the road and upset a Dallas team that had only one loss going into the game.
49ers 22 Washington 12
* For the fire Greg Roman crowd. The 49ers scored a touchdown on their opening possession for the fifth time this season. That ties them for first in the NFL.
* Colin Kaepernick was a perfect 4-4 for 55 yards on the game winning drive. He finished 20-29 for 256 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. His nine incompletions consisted of three drops and a throw away.
* Aldon Smith has pressured the quarterback on 13 of 66 pass rush snaps in the first two weeks since returning from his suspension. To put that into perspective, Ahmad Brooks has 15 pressures all season.
* Did anyone else see the 49ers steal a blocking scheme from the University of Florida on their 3rd and 1 late in the second quarter?