If the Redskins had been able to end the half at the 2-minute warning, it would be a much happier feeling in the locker room at halftime
Through the first 28 minutes of the first half, the Redskins have found a rhythm that fans haven’t seen since the first half of the Rams game, over a month ago.
From committing to the run, to improved coverage in the secondary, the Redskins did a lot of things right in the first half. Here’s the highlights:
On offense: The Redskins are running the football with good success. Roy Helu is a dual threat out of the backfield, and has taken the pressure off of John Beck to spark the offense. In the first half, Helu has nine rushes for 40 yards, and an additional 30 through the air. This makes him the team’s leading rusher and receiver.
Offensive guard Maurice Hurt has handled his assignment as starting left guard, holding 49ers defensive end Justin Smith at bay so far. The entire line is back in a better rhythm after the return of left tackle Trent Williams.
On defense: Despite missing free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, the secondary is holding up much better this week, holding Alex Smith to seven-for-12 for 88 yards and a touchdown. The Redskins are getting pressure on Smith and forcing him out of the pocket, because they aren’t allowing the receivers to get open. The pressure has only hit home once so far on the Ryan Kerrigan sack, but they’ve kept the 49ers passing game quiet, for the most part.
The 49ers were held without a third down conversion for the whole first half, with the 49ers missing on six opportunities. Running back Frank Gore has seven rushes for 65 yards in the first half, but the defense has held him without a game-changing run.
On special teams: Punter Sav Rocca continues to amaze in the battle for field position, dropping another punt inside the 20, zero touchbacks, and a 47.5-yard average. Some players have ups and downs, but Rocca has yet to disappoint in Washington.
Standing on the Redskins emblem at midfield, kicker Graham Gano absolutely crushed a 59-yard field goal to end the first half. That’s the longest of his career by nine yards, and he’s put up the only Redskins points of the day. There are some that disagree with his post-kick point to the sky, but he can do hand springs and River dance after that boot. I’m sure that even Rocca was impressed.
That was, of course, the good of the first half, but the Redskins have to play mistake-free football in the second half. They’re winning the time of possession battle by about 40 seconds, but they need to win the turnover battle today as well.
The second half from Washington up next; 49ers on top, 13-3.