The Shanahan Bowl
As I have typed before many times, a win is a win. The win column does not care if it is an ugly win against the worst team in the NFL or a blowout win. The Redskins have their first win of the 2019 season in the books and stare two games back in the loss column to the Eagles and Cowboys. The Dolphins are in the rearview mirror and the red hot San Francisco 49ers are coming to Landover on Sunday.
It has been six years since Kyle Shanahan left unceremoniously after his father was fired. Kyle is not completely absolved of what transpired here in D.C., but that does not mean he does not want to stick it to Dan and Bruce. From the clips we have heard from his press conference, he has respect for Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan, but he wants to do everything he can to embarrass his former bosses.
There is the opportunity for the Redskins to pull off the upset of the year. The 49ers are heading east for a 1:00 PM EST game. Per the website 5dimes, from 2003 to 2018, west coast teams have gone 80-133 straight up when playing on the east coast. That is a 37.6% win percentage. So the 49ers theoretically are already playing behind the eight-ball. Do the Redskins actually have a chance at winning on Sunday?
Keys to the game
Keep Keenum Upright
It has been no secret from watching game film that the offensive line has struggled keeping Keenum clean. The struggle of the offensive line in pass protection is going to be tested by one of the best defensive lines in the NFL on Sunday. This could be part of the reason why Callahan wanted to have a fullback on the roster. Yes, the fullback helps in the running game, but it can add an extra layer of protection for the quarterback. When Keenum has had time in the pocket, it has allowed for Richardson, McLaurin, and Quinn to get open. The damage will need to be limited even with Nick Bosa likely getting his sacks for the day. Communication will be key along the offensive line to have any chance at winning on Sunday.
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The 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL at creating pressure on the quarterback. The times that it has seemed offenses have had some success are when screens, quick slants, and rub routes were used. The entire NFL knows that Bill Callahan wants to run the ball and make that this teams identity. There is a time and place for that, and this may not be that week. Playing an up-tempo quick passing game will force the 49ers to divert away from their stunts and twists that take up time to a straight rush. This will then open up lanes for draws and counters for Peterson to make that one cut move that is still dangerous. A quick game will also help Haskins if he should need to come in for whatever reason. One hot route receivers will get the job done, control the clock, and limit the 49ers possessions.
George Kittle has established himself as one of the best Tight Ends in the NFL. One of the areas that he creates problems for opposing teams is Yards After the Catch (YAC). In 2018, Kittle averaged 86.1 yards per game and of that 54.3 yards came from YAC which is 63.1% of his yards per game. In 2019, Kittle is currently averaging 67.6 yards per game with 37.0 yards of that coming from YAC which is 54.7% of his yards per game. The Redskins ability to contain Kittle right after he catches the ball will be a difference on whether it is a winnable game or a blowout for the 49ers.
It is looking to be a rainy and muddy day at FedEx Field. This has all the hallmarks of a trap game for the 49ers. Flying east for a 1:00 PM EST game, undefeated, Shanahan feeling cocky. However, the 49ers just have more talent on offense to overcome the Redskins defense than the Redskins offense has to overcome the 49ers defense. It’ll be closer than everyone thinks, but the Redskins will fall to 1-6 in the Shanahan Bowl.
49ers 17 Redskins 10
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