Santa Clara, CA - Its obvious the Forty-Niners defense has improved since the return of Aldon Smith. San Francisco has been demolishing quarterbacks as well as their opponents the last two games. Today's 17-13 victory over the Washington Redskins is an example of guys going their job while having fun at the same time. A sack by Justin Smith allowed Ahmad Brooks to recover the fumble to secure the 49ers victory with seconds remaining on the clock.
"When you got a guy like Aldon out there it changes the game, obviously," said Brooks. "He makes us better defensively and that's a good thing."
"Things are going really good with the defense right now," said [Aldon] Smith. "Everybody's playing really good ball. It's just good being back and everybody's just doing their thing and making plays out there."
Smith manipulated his opponent, rookie Morgan Moses and recorded two sacks on Robert Griffin III who was demolished by the defense today. San Francisco totaled five sacks on Griffin, one less against him last November. Collectively the 49ers defense did everything they were assigned to do and made crucial stops when needed.
After Frank Gore fumbled in the fourth, the Redskins K Kai Forbath kicked a 45-yard field goal for the 13-10 lead. But it didn't take long for San Francisco to respond. With 2:59 left in the fourth, Carlos Hyde rushed for the 4-yard touchdown putting the 49ers back on top making it a 17-13 game. It wasn't an easy win, in fact a few plays down the stretch determined the outcome of the game but the victory was enough to keep them in the hunt for the playoffs.
"We feel like we are in the playoffs," S Antoine Bethea said. "Win at all costs."
"I think we understand the sense of urgency needed in the latter part of the season," said WR Anquan Boldin. "Tough games, but guys are making plays when called upon at the right times."
San Francisco got off to a great start, on opening drive, Colin Kaepernick found a wide open Boldin for a 30-yard touchdown making it a 7-0 game. That was probably one of the best starts this season but the 49ers offense failed to continue that momentum until the late in the fourth. They struggled to get into the red zone and the turnovers proved costly.
"We had successful plays on the first drive," Kaepernick said. "We had a play here and there on the other drives that weren't successful and set us back."
Hyde fumbled the ball to start the second quarter and things didn't get any better for San Francisco after Washington's defense smothered them the entire quarter. The Redskins tied the game when Alfred Morris rushed up the middle for the 1-yard touchdown. But a 41-yard field goal from Phil Dawson in the final seconds gave the 49ers a 10-7 lead to end the half.
Washington tied the game again 10-10 with a 27-yard field goal from Forbath in the third. Despite taking the lead in the fourth, the Redskins were no match for the 49ers in the end. Washington lost their third game in a row and forth straight to San Francisco. Now the 49ers will turn their attention to the Seattle Seahawks who they host this Thursday on Thanksgiving.
"Coaches will be back tonight to prep for Seattle," said head coach Jim Harbaugh. "We're going strong."