49ers vs. Redskins. By the time the Washington Redskins vs. San Francisco 49ers game was over, it appeared as though the game had never been close. But the 49ers 27-6 victory was only a 10-6 lead at halftime. Both teams defenses were playing well, and up to that point both starting quarterbacks were having lackluster performances.
But in the third quarter with the game still tight at 10-6, the turning point of the game occurred. The 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just caught a 9 yard pass from QB Colin Kaepernick and as he struggled for more yardage, Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield came from behind and knocked the loose, and the fumble was recovered by safety Brandon Meriweather.
The Redskins began their drive at the 49ers 49 yard line, and after a short run by Alfred Morris, QB Robert Griffin III threw a pass to WR Joshua Morgan that was ruled incomplete. Head coach Mike Shanahan mistakenly challenged the play, and it was upheld by instant replay review, as footage showed Morgan lost control of the ball.
The Redskins drive then stalled, and on fourth and two at the 49ers 41 yard line, Shanahan decided to go for it. But the called play was a curious run by Roy Helu, Jr., which came up a yard short of the first down. And this was the turning point in the game. As up until that point, the score was just 10-6, and the Redskins were still in it.
After the turnover on downs, the 49ers went on a 60 yard drive, which culminated on a six yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin. The Redskins struggled for the rest of the game on offense and defense, and the 49ers pulled away easily from there.
Had Shanahan decided to punt the ball on that fourth down instead of going for it, maybe they could have pinned the 49ers deep. The Redskins defense had been playing well up until that point, and it’s possible they could have continued to hold. But once the fourth down play failed, the flood gates opened.