It was a disappointing outing for San Francisco's offense in the 23-15 loss to the Washington Football Team. The 49ers defense offered San Francisco a number of opportunities, but mistakes ruined any chance for what would have been a dominant outing in Arizona.
Here are six takeaways from the game.
1. Defensive Slugfest
Defense was the name of the game. Both San Francisco and Washington put up impressive outings that stifled the opposing offenses. San Francisco's defense surrendered just three field goals on the day, with the rest of the Football Team's points coming via defensive scores.
The 49ers held Washington's offense to just 193 yards from scrimmage (95 passing; 98 rushing) and limited the Football Team to just 12 first downs on the day and 3-of-14 on third downs. San Francisco managed to hold Washington out of the end zone for the entirety of the contest. Sunday was third-fewest yards per play San Francisco's defense has allowed in the Shanahan era.
Jason Verrett recorded his second interception of the season in the first half. The cornerback perfectly read the route and jumped the pass intended for wide receiver Cam Sims.
2. Chase Young
Speaking of defensive standouts, Washington's No. 2 overall pick was disruptive the entire contest. In the first half alone, Young notched four tackles (one for loss), a sack, defensive touchdown, quarterback hit, pass defended, forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also recorded a batted down pass in the fourth quarter that led to a 49ers punt to add to six total tackles.
"Obviously, Chase Young is a very good player," Nick Mullens said. "You can notice his speed from the start. I threw a screen pass in the first quarter and he ran down from the D-line spot and made the tackle. That's kind of when I noticed. Yeah, he's really fast.'
3. Offensive Woes
San Francisco's offense couldn't get going. It was a back-and-forth exchange of punts between the 49ers and the Football Team, as San Francisco registered two scoring drives amid eight punts in the contest, the first, a 7-play, 57-yard drive that culminated in a Jeff Wilson Jr. 1-yard touchdown. The second came by way of an 11-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off with a 6-yard score by Kyle Juszczyk.
The 49ers posted 340 yards of total offense (236 passing, 108 rushing) and 21 first downs. Brandon Aiyuk led all 49ers pass catchers for the second-straight week with a career-high 119 yards on 10 receptions.
According to Kyle Shanahan, the head coach considered pulling Mullens in favor of C.J. Beathard after throwing a pick-six, his second turnover of the game. However, the quarterback ended up leading the team on a scoring drive on the following series, which prompted the team to stick with him under center.
"I wanted to give C.J. a chance to warm up," Shanahan said postgame. "And so, he was warming up during the next drive and on the next drive, Nick made some big third downs and we went down there and scored. So after he took us on a scoring drive I changed my mind."
The 49ers couldn't get out of their own way as the team continues to struggle with ball protection. San Francisco turned the ball over three times in Sunday's game, leading to a striking 17 points for Washington. The 49ers have now turned the ball over two-or-more times in a game in seven-consecutive contests, recording a staggering total of 18 giveaways during that span.
"I think we would have found a way to win had we not turned the ball over," Shanahan said. "You can't expect to win any games when you're like that."
5. Alex Smith's "Homecoming"
Just as rough as it was for San Francisco's offense, the same could be said for Smith and Co. Washington's quarterback completed 8-of-19 passes for just 57 yards and an interception for a passer rating of 27.7 through the first half. The former 49ers quarterback left the game at halftime with a leg injury and did not return.
Smith was replaced by second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., who finished the game completing 7-of-12 passes for 51 yards and no touchdowns.
6. Injury Updates
The 49ers suffered a huge blow to their offense on their opening drive. On the first play from scrimmage, Deebo Samuel took an end-around for a 9-yard pickup, but let up as he approached the sideline after re-aggravating his hamstring injury from earlier in the season.
"(We) lost a pretty big element, but it's not why we lost today," Shanahan said. "You can tell just talking to him. I know we'll get an MRI and look at it tomorrow. It didn't look good."
Left tackle Trent Williams suffered a knee injury in the first quarter, however returned to the contest.
Raheem Mostert left the game briefly after being evaluated for a head injury. The running back was cleared the following series and returned to the field.
Fred Warner also left the game in the third quarter with a head injury. The linebacker was cleared of a concussion, however remained out of the game with a neck/shoulder injury.