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KRT: Redskins just too much for mistake-prone Niners


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Redskins just too much for mistake-prone Niners


LANDOVER, Md. - Shawntae Spencer thought he was going to have safety help deep. The 49ers cornerback thought wrong.

The misunderstanding was at the center of a blown coverage resulting in a touchdown, one in a series of gaffes by the 49ers in their latest loss Sunday, 52-17 to the Washington Redskins.

There were plenty of others on both sides of the ball, including another rough outing for Alex Smith, who was sacked five times, threw an interception and fumbled three times, losing one.

``The only positive thing that I can think about,'' said Coach Mike Nolan, reaching for signs of progress, ``it doesn't really have much to do with us. But the Astros were 15-30 at the beginning of May, and they seemed to make it where they are today. So I guess that is the best thing we can hope for.''

The 49ers already were trailing 21-7 when Santana Moss slipped behind Spencer. Spencer had expected help and broke off his coverage, letting an unguarded Moss gather in Mark Brunell's 32-yard touchdown pass while looking at free safety Mike Adams as if to ask, ``Where were you?''

Nolan said the Redskins were in a formation that called for Adams to stay in coverage in the middle of the field. While Adams was in the right spot, he took the blame for the foul-up, saying he should have done a better job of communicating with Spencer.

``It's my job to tell him. That's on me,'' Adams said. ``I'll get yelled at in the meeting.''

The failure to communicate was one of the more glaring errors by the 49ers, whose parade of mistakes began on the first play, when Smith was sacked and fumbled.

Brunell drove the Redskins 61 yards, finishing the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide-open H-back Mike Sellers.

By halftime, the 49ers were well on their way to their fifth consecutive loss, trailing 35-7.

Brunell completed 13 of 20 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters.

Moss had a field day against the 49ers' injury-ridden secondary, getting five receptions for 112 yards, and running back Clinton Portis cut through the 49ers for 101 yards and three touchdowns.

The Redskins, who scored at least 50 points for the first time in six years, had seven plays of 20 yards or more. They took advantage of the 49ers' tendency to overpursue for several of those big gains with screens and misdirection plays.

``Those little screens, those throwbacks...we have to be more disciplined than that,'' Nolan said. ``We need to stay with our guy. That was disappointing. We have some new guys out there - so be it. Everyone has new guys.''

The newness extends to the offense, where Smith was 8 of 16 for 92 yards in his second career start and his first since quarterback Tim Rattay was traded to Tampa Bay, the 49ers' opponent next Sunday.

Both of Smith's turnovers led to touchdowns by Redskins, who brought a blitzing, attacking style that was in contrast to the more conventional defense Smith faced against the Indianapolis Colts last week.

``We went from a defense that didn't throw a lot at you to a defense this week that has a lot of movement, a lot of disguise, bringing a lot of different pressures,'' Smith said. ``I need to expect that. We need to learn to beat it.''

But the NFL's No. 1 pick is enduring tough lessons. He has committed seven turnovers in two starts, but he did lead a first-quarter scoring drive that ended a two-game streak by the 49ers without an offensive touchdown. Frank Gore also broke a 72-yard touchdown run with two minutes left, and Joe Nedney kicked a field goal.

``I think we know where we can go, that's the exciting thing,'' Smith said. ``We are close, but I'm getting tired of saying we are close.''

Fullback Fred Beasley, in his eighth year with the 49ers, said the loss was one of the worst he has experienced. But he also said the 49ers have to be turn their focus toward the next game.

``You never want to be in a game like this, but it did happen,'' he said. ``This is way down. It's like we're six feet deep and they're throwing dirt over us right now. But we aren't going to let that happen, because we still have games to play.''

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It's not that the 49's are that bad... If the Redskins continue to play like they did today, they are to much for anybody. Even the Colts would get pounded if the Redskins play on the same level as they did today. Lookout Giants, Philly, now your in for a Joe Gibbs learning experience straight out of the school of hard knocks. The counter trey is out of what ? I don't think so. Hail Redskins !

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