49ers Clinch #1 Seed!


After last week’s Christmas day debacle, this week’s road game in Washington D.C. was the perfect get back game.  While the first half of the game was seemingly close, the Niners uncorked the bottle in the second half securing two timely interceptions and setting the stage for a 17-point victory.  Still, the 49ers needed help today to secure the number 1 seed in the playoffs.  Dallas beat Detroit and the Cardinals upset the Eagles giving the 49ers the #1 seed with their victory against the Commanders today.

Last week the Ravens disrupted Brock Purdy’s timing.  Normally pressure doesn’t phase Purdy, however last week the Ravens paired excellent coverage with pressure and forced five turnovers, four of which belonged to Purdy.  True to form, Purdy made no excuses.  He took it on the chin, picked himself back up and went back to work.  In his sixteenth game of the season, Purdy broke the 49ers single season passing record by throwing for 4280 yards.  He is also the first 49ers quarterback since Jeff Garcia to throw for at least 30 touchdowns in a season.  That feat was last accomplished in 2001.  It’s amazing the 49ers have been to two Super Bowl’s since 2001 with quarterbacks that haven’t breeched the 30-touchdown mark.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throwing a pass to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The 49ers are tired.  They are beat up.  Still, they showed up, played, and went home with the victory.  They didn’t show anything exotic.  They just played their game.  Of late, Coach Shanahan has kept things rather vanilla, and it’s been on the offense to execute the plays called. Scoring five out of seven drives is executing well.  Unfortunately, the Niners had to settle for field goals two out of those five scoring drives.  Yet, those were important reps for Jake Moody in a must win situation.  Execution of plays on a consistent basis will win a championship.

Brock Purdy’s performance was excellent.  He read the field well.  He scrambled and kept his head.  The most impressive part of his game today was his accuracy.  Purdy’s ball placement allows receivers to run after catch or it keeps the ball out of harm’s way.  He had one ball to Deebo Samuel he likely wants back, however, the rest of this throws were what Brandon Aiyuk calls dots.

Elijah Mitchell is back!  He played an excellent game churning out 80 yards and a touchdown on the ground on 17 carries.  He reads the holes well and hits them hard.  Aiyuk posted another 100-yard receiving day while Kyle Juszczyk played bail bondsmen.  Juice caught three very important receptions to keep drives alive.  Christian McCaffrey appeared to have been nicked up as Mitchell took on the rest of his reps starting late in the 2nd quarter.  McCaffrey, along with the rest of the team will be thankful for the bye week coming to heal up.

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (25) runs in to score a touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The Niners defense allowed a couple of big plays on the ground and through the air in the second quarter.  The Commanders scrapped and clawed to stay within three points in the first half.   The 49ers missed Talanoa Hufanga and Ja’Ayr Brown early in the game, however Logan Ryan and Tashaun Gipson eventually pulled it together.  In the second half, the 49ers defense came out with a renewed resolve and kept the pressure on Sam Howell.  The defensive line’s pressure helped force two interceptions.  Charvarius Ward ended a promising Commanders drive with his fifth interception of the season early in the fourth quarter, while Deommodore Lenoir ended the Commanders very next drive with an interception of his own.  Though Nick Bosa didn’t record a sack, his consistent pressure on Howell flustered the Commanders passing attack.

The 49ers need to focus on getting healthy and rested.  Rest, treatment and study will carry the 49ers all the way to the Super Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) makes a catch against Washington Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (13) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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