49ers show who’s in command by beating up Commanders

Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Jamin Davis #52 of the Washington Commanders (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Jamin Davis #52 of the Washington Commanders (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The 49ers took absolute command in the second half of their game against the Commanders, and the Niners showed which team is better by far.

Week 16 saw the San Francisco 49ers build upon their current win streak. Now, after eight straight wins, the NFC West division leaders now sit at 11-4 after an impressive 37-20 victory at home against the Washington Commanders.

The matchup versus Washington started out less than stellar but picked up in the second half.  After it was 7-7 at halftime, the Niners took command of the game, and it was clear the Commanders had no answers to fight back despite entering the contest with a top-10 defense.

In only his third start, rookie Brock Purdy has looked like a franchise quarterback. He threw two more times to the end zone and has done so in each game since Week 13.

Purdy has shown off his range having completed throws of 50 yards or more in his last two games. His completion percentage has been a 65 percent or better in those contests, too.

The pass protection needs to improve for San Francisco, though, as Purdy was sacked three more times on Saturday. In his last four games, the quarterback has gone down seven times in total, including three more times versus the Miami Dolphins back in Week 13.

Tight end George Kittle has come on as of late after a relatively quiet start to his season. He also has a pair of reception touchdowns in his last two games.

Kicker Robbie Gould also contributed by scoring three consecutive field goals in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach for Washington. Gould went perfect in his field-goal attempts and all four of his extra-point attempts as well for a total of 13 points.

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Despite running back Elijah Mitchell and wide receiver Deebo Samuel not playing due to injury, the Niners still found productivity in the backfield. Fellow wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud scored a Deebo-like 71-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter, and running back Christian McCaffrey would cross the goal line late in the fourth quarter.

Armed with the best defense in the league, the 49ers had another good game on the other side of the ball, too, and Pro Bowl defensive end Nick Bosa added two more sacks to his league-leading total.

Cornerback Jimmie Ward picked off the opposing quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, late in the game as he now has three interceptions on the season. In addition, Ward has five pass deflections and a forced fumble.

Unfortunately, the secondary in the red zone did not perform at their best this past game. San Francisco gave up three passing touchdowns within the 20-yard line or closer (one in three different quarters).

49ers biggest takeaway from beating Commanders

The 49ers have scored inconsistently prior to their Week 8 bye. Since then, however, San Francisco has found the end zone in every second quarter and the majority of the third quarters of play.

San Francisco has only been able to score in the first quarter in three of those games. In the fourth quarter during those same contests, the 49ers have only scored in half of those.

Out of a possible 12 quarters since Purdy took over, the Niners have scored in 75 percent of those periods (nine total).

They may have found a remedy to their spotty scoring.

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If the 49ers look to continue their season beyond the Wild Card round, they will need to figure out how to score throughout the entire game. They will also need to take away opportunities from their opposing offenses to cross the goal line, too.

If the Niners don’t look to start a fourth different player under center, it will also need to protect their quarterback more efficiently.

The level of depth on this roster has been shown all season long as the 49ers have been plagued with injuries virtually at every position.

At full health, though, San Francisco looks to be a serious contender to not only return to the Super Bowl, but to also win it.

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