SANTA CLARA — Kyle Shanahan admitted he was frustrated with the 49ers’ first-half tie with the Washington leaders on Saturday.
But the 49ers scored twice in the third quarter to begin to dominate a 37-20 victory at Levi’s Stadium.
The leaders stayed until the fourth quarter when the 49ers settled for three short field goals by Robbie Gould.
“It should have been a lot worse than it was,” Shanahan said.
still, 49ers, Ranked No. 3 in the NFC, he made more than the number of plays needed for a decisive victory over a team currently ranked seventh and last in the NFC playoffs. The Leader (7-7-1) has a half-game lead over Seattle and Detroit.
Here’s a look at the 49ers report card from their game in Week 16:
The 49ers were up against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, and the captains were determined not to let the 49ers control this game on the floor.
Christian McCaffrey and Ty Davis Price didn’t have much room to run against a stacked Washington box, though the 49ers cracked when wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud took a handoff in an orbital motion and picked up blocks from Mike McGlinchey, McCaffrey, Joan Jennings and Willie Snead for a turnaround. Round the corner and sprint away for 71 yards.
McCaffrey finished with 46 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while Davis Price had 30 yards on nine attempts. McCloud’s touchdown run was his only drive of the day.
Brock Purdy continued to keep the 49ers’ lead Saturday with another strong showing. The junior completed 15 of 22 pass attempts for 234 yards with two touchdown passes while throwing one interception and finishing with a passer rating of 114.6.
Purdy connected twice to tight end George Kettle on touchdown plays. The first punt was a punt down the middle intended for McCloud, but Kittle changed his route to catch a 34-yard touchdown catch in front of McCloud.
Later in the third quarter, Kittle converted a short Purdy pass into a 33-yard touchdown on the 49ers ensuing drive.
Purdy threw an interception that was not his fault, as Jennings fumbled a pass on goal, allowing safety Darrick Forrest to intercept.
Purdy converted a fourth and third play late in the game with a throw to Kettle into a tight window.
Keitel had six receptions for 120 yards, while Brandon Ayuk added 81 yards on five catches.
The leaders are a running team, but they couldn’t find anywhere to be matched by the 49ers’ brave front seven.
However, that didn’t stop Washington from trying, as they gained just 79 yards on 33 rushing attempts for an average of 2.4 yards. The Leaders’ leading rusher, Brian Robinson, managed only 58 yards on 22 attempts.
Pro Bowl linebacker Fred Warner came up with 13 tackles, including tackles stopping two fourth-down attempts.
defensive end Nick Bosa scored two roundssetting a new career high with 17.5 to go along with four quarterback hurries, while also recording another unrecorded sack to stop a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter.
Jimmy Ward had an interception in the fourth quarter
But the leaders had some success in the passing game. Taylor Hynecke completed 13 of 18 for 166 yards with two touchdowns, while Carson Wentz completed 12 of 16 for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Washington quarterbacks have a combined passer rating of 115.9.
Grade: B- minus
Robbie Gould was perfect on three field goal attempts in the fourth quarter, but the highlight at this point in the game was the 49ers’ coverage units.
San Francisco’s kick coverage unit was particularly strong, as George Odom had a stellar day with four tackles.
Washington had an average of 15.5 on six returns.
Shanahan was more aggressive from the get-go, pitching a 4th-and-1 play in the first quarter, though a 49ers option attempt with Kyle Guschek at this point fell short.
Late in the fourth quarter, Shanahan went on a fourth and third, handing Purdy up with his completion to Keitel.
The 49ers pushed the right buttons offensively, including a quick play to McCloud that broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter.
The 49ers offense has shown more vulnerability than it has in a while against an offense not known for being prolific.
The Commanders have a playoff-caliber defense, and the 49ers came through a good game.
Players stepped up offense, defense and special teams on their way to San Francisco’s eighth straight win.
Grade: A- minus
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