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49ers Bounce Back with 27-10 Win Over Commanders; 6 Takeaways from #SFvsWAS

The San Francisco 49ers ended the calendar year on a high note, storming past the Washington Commanders 27-10 in their final road trip of the regular season slate. The New Year's Eve win coupled with the Arizona Cardinals 35-31 upset of the Philadelphia Eagles secures the No. 1 seed for San Francisco for the first time since 2019.

Here are six takeaways from Sunday's game:

WR Deebo Samuel Finds the End Zone First

After scoring three points on their opening drive, wide receiver Deebo Samuel took a pop pass from quarterback Brock Purdy and walked into the end zone from the left side with the the help of a key block from tight end Charlie Woerner. The two-yard score capped off a nine-play, 63-yard drive and marks his seventh receiving touchdown of the year. With Samuel's touchdown, San Francisco went ahead 10-0 with 5:38 left in the first quarter.

Fellow wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk hauled in the second receiving touchdown of the game. He caught a 17-yard pass from Purdy midway through the final frame to put the game out of reach for Washington.

TE George Kittle Hits 1,000 Receiving Yards

The 49ers veteran tight end entered Sunday's contest nine yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards and quickly surpassed the mark. Kittle had two catches for 24 yards in the first half, catching a six-yard pass from Purdy on the opening drive and later picking up an 18-yard gain in the 49ers final offensive series of the second quarter. This is the third time in Kittle's seven seasons he's hit the 1,000-receiving yards benchmark. Kittle is now the second San Francisco player to reach 1,000 receiving yards on the season - wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was the first.

Mooney Moody Strikes Again

The 49ers rookie kicker was perfect against the Commanders, nailing all five of his kicks on Sunday. Moody accounted for six of San Francisco's 13 points in the first half and got the 49ers on the board in Week 17. He hit a 38-yard field goal to cap off a 12-play, 55-yard opening drive and also put up the last points of the second quarter, sailing a 22-yard kick through the uprights. His 22-yard field goal gave the 49ers the 13-10 advantage headed in to the half. He added three more points off his three PATs.

49ers Defensive Front Gets Disruptive

The 49ers tightened up the run defense in Week 17 allowing just 62 yards to the Commanders on the ground. The defensive front came up with the necessary splash plays at critical moments to kill Washington's offensive momentum. Nick Bosa came up with two tackles-for-loss, one on a second-and-nine rushing attempt by Commanders quarterback Sam Howell on Washington's second offensive series. A loss of one yard on that play forced a third-and-long Washington could not convert. Bosa's second tackle-for-loss was on the final play of the first half on an Antonio Gibson carry.

The only sack of Sunday's contest belongs to defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell, who downed Howell on third-and-one on the opening possession of the second half. Howell scrambled to the left and was brought down by Ferrell at the 49ers sideline for a loss of six yards and forced the Washington three-and-out.

RB Elijah Mitchell Scores His First TD of the Season

The third-year running back punched in the 49ers first touchdown of the second half, slicing through the Commanders defense in the third quarter for a two-yard score. The two-yard rushing touchdown was his first score since Week 18 of the 2022 season and gave San Francisco the 20-10 advantage with 5:44 left in the third quarter. He closed out the game with 17 carries for 80 yards and touchdown and took over as the lead running back for the 49ers after Christian McCaffrey was designated as questionable to return with a calf injury in the fourth quarter.

CB Charvarius Ward Nabs INT No. 5 of the Year

The veteran corner came up with a big defensive play to open up the fourth quarter, picking off Howell inside the red zone. Ward made the grab at the two yard line and returned it for another three yards to set San Francisco up for the their next possession at their own five yard line. The pick marks his fifth of the season. Fellow defensive back, Deommodore Lenoir, nabbed interception No. 2 of the game in the fourth quarter and is his third interception of 2023.

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