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49ers veto a Washington upset bid: Rapid reactions

Marc Adams
Dec 31, 2023 at 1:24 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers came into this game needing either two wins in the final two weeks, or one win and a loss by the Philadelphia Eagles, to clinch the number-one seed in the NFC. The top seed comes with home-field advantage, a bye week, and you only have to play two games instead of three to get to the Super Bowl.

The 49ers did their part, beating the Washington Commanders 27-10. And then, the Arizona Cardinals did the 49ers a favor by upsetting the Eagles. And just like that, the 49ers are owners of the NFC's top seed.

Here are my rapid reactions from the 49ers win in Washington. These are my live reactions, as the game unfolded.

  • Three straight runs to start the game for the 49ers offense. Last week, they didn't run the ball until their second possession.
  • By the way, Chris Conley was the one who was back to receive the opening kickoff. Jordan Mason was back for the second kickoff and had a nice return.

  • That was a nice opening drive for the 49ers, taking almost seven minutes off the clock. But they had to settle for a field goal.
  • Speaking of which, Jake Moody is a perfect 14 for 14 on field goal attempts inside 40 yards.
  • Ronnie Bell was the punt returner. His first return was a good one (16 yards). And most importantly, he didn't fumble. He had two hands on the ball as soon as he started getting tackled.
  • A very crisp and efficient second possession ended with a Deebo Samuel touchdown.

  • That touchdown pass was Brock Purdy's 30th of the season. Are you impressed yet?

  • The first quarter ended with Washington barely touching the ball. They had the ball only 2:28 in the opening quarter.
  • I'd prefer not to see Randy Gregory in coverage.

  • George Kittle surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the third time in his career. He's had a very good season.

  • The 49ers' bad run defense has returned.
  • And now the pass defense looks bad. Is the 49ers defense still elite?

  • Christian McCaffrey has over 2,000 scrimmage yards on the season. He's the first 49ers player since Frank Gore to do so.
  • The 49ers miss Jauan Jennings.
  • Three excellent offensive drives in the first half. But the 49ers only came away with 13 points.
  • The 49ers defense was expected to rack up some QB sacks and interceptions against Sam Howell. They finished the day with one sack and two interceptions. The first interception, by Charvarius Ward, was big because Washington was about to score.
  • Bell is an adventure as a punt returner. And it's an adventure I'd rather not experience. Thankfully, Ray-Ray McCloud is eligible to return next week.
  • I would say it was great to see Elijah Mitchell back, but every time I write that, he misses a few games. So I won't say it.
  • Mitchell is really good when he's healthy, though. I hope I didn't just jinx him.
  • The 49ers used a lot of clock on their second touchdown drive. It was a 12-play, 7:15 drive. Usually the offense scores quickly. In this game, they just kept slowly and steadily moving the ball.
  • Please be okay, McCaffrey.
  • Whenever Purdy starts scrambling around, I always start yelling, "Throw it away." And then he usually does his own thing and throws a touchdown pass.

  • Deommodore Lenoir got beat for a big gain in the first half. But he made up for it in the second half with a 4th quarter pick.

  • On one particular Samuel run in the 4th quarter, Kittle blocked two guys, while Colton McKivitz whiffed on his one.
  • Other than that, the offensive line was dominant in this game.
  • Purdy passed Steve Young and Jeff Garcia for the most passing yards in 49ers history. But he's just a game-managing system quarterback, right? You may recall, some guy named Joe Montana also played for this team. That's pretty impressive.
  • I was rough on the 49ers defense from the first half. But they came out in the second half and were great.
  • Thank you, Kyler Murray and your Cardinals teammates.

Next up for the 49ers is the Los Angeles Rams. With the top seed already clinched, the 49ers will have the option of resting some players. Will they actually do it? We'll see.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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