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BS: Redskins not taking reeling 49ers lightly


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Redskins not taking reeling 49ers lightly

San Francisco reminds Gibbs of his '04 team

The San Francisco 49ers have lost four straight games, haven't scored an offensive touchdown in three of those setbacks and rank last or next-to-last in the NFL in several major offensive and defensive categories.

The Washington Redskins' comment: Don't believe the hype.

Skepticism and caution are the Redskins' tones as they welcome the 49ers to FedEx Field at 1 p.m. today.

Although Washington (3-2) is enduring its own two-game skid and questions are swirling about turnovers, big plays allowed by the defense and linebacker LaVar Arrington, the Redskins are 13-point favorites against the 49ers (1-4).

Yet, universally, the Redskins aren't buying it.

"The one thing I've learned in the NFL is that you've got to take every team with the same attitude," said linebacker Marcus Washington. "You've got to go out there and try to give it your best and hope you play your best game. ... They're going to come in here and play their best. We definitely are going to have to play our best."

Added offensive tackle Chris Samuels: "I'm going out there to play just like they're undefeated."

But it's difficult to ignore the disparity in numbers between the teams.

Washington boasts an offense that ranks sixth in the NFL in yards per game (373.2), second in first downs (22.4) and is tied for fifth in time of possession (32 minutes, 55 seconds).

The offense would appear to be on track for a field day against a San Francisco defense that ranks last in yards per game (451.8), passing yards (343.6) and first downs (25.6).

On the other side of the ball, the 49ers' offense ranks next-to-last in yards per game (218.8) and last in first downs (11.8) and time of possession (24:23).

The unit hasn't scored a touchdown since a 34-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 25 and is starting rookie quarterback Alex Smith, who completed just nine of 23 passes for 74 yards and threw four interceptions in a 28-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts before the team's bye last week.

"We're a team that's young and hasn't proven itself yet," said 49ers coach Mike Nolan. "But I have a lot of confidence in them. ... Our guys are still very focused, and they work extremely hard."

It's not all gloom and doom for the 49ers. The defense ranks in the top 10 in sacks with 15 and has forced nine more turnovers than the Redskins' two. Running back Kevan Barlow rushed for 99 yards against the Colts, and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is beginning to blossom.

In some ways, this 49ers team resembles the Redskins' squad of last year that also won its first game and then dropped four straight. Perhaps that's why Washington coach Joe Gibbs delivered his passionate defense of the 49ers last week.

"They're in a first-year program like we were last year," he said. "I think they have a lot of high-quality football players. The quarterback's the top pick in the country. This is critical for us, this game. ... This will be done to the last play in all likelihood."

And upsets do occur in the NFL. The New York Jets took down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks ago. The Miami Dolphins upended the Denver Broncos in Week 1, and San Francisco surprised the St. Louis Rams in the season opener.

"You have to absolutely respect the team that you're playing -- regardless of their statistics, regardless of their wins and losses," Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell said. "And if you don't, the second that you think you're going to have an easy one or you start paying attention to the [point] spread, you're going to lose.

"So hopefully, every one of us will look at these guys and have respect because if we don't, we'll get beat."

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