You could feel it coming.
After five consecutive close games to open the regular season, and two tough road losses the last two weeks, the Redskins were determined not to let up against a San Francisco 49ers opponent that was 1-4 and ranked among the league's worst on offense and defense.
It was over by halftime.
The Redskins defeated the 49ers 52-17 on Sunday at FedExField, improving their record to 4-2 on the season.
The Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are tied atop the NFC East with 4-2 records. Washington remains undefeated in the conference at 4-0 and in the division at 1-0.
It was the first time the Redskins scored 50 or more points since 1999, when they beat the New York Giants 50-21 at the Meadowlands. And it was the most points the Redskins have ever scored at FedExField, overtaking the previous total of 48 points scored in 1999 against the Chicago Bears.
It was complete dominance on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball--and although it was against one of the NFC's weakest teams, the Redskins were coming off two tough road losses and the 52-17 shellacking seemed to be just what the Redskins needed to get back on track.
Quarterback Mark Brunell finished the game with 13-of-20 passes for 252 yards and three touchdown passes.
Clinton Portis broke his touchdown drought, which dated back to Week 13 of last season, with three touchdown runs. He also had 101 rushing yards on 19 carries. Ladell Betts added 92 rushing yards on 12 carries and Rock Cartwright scored on a 4-yard touchdown run in the second half.
Santana Moss turned in his fifth 100-yard receiving effort of the season, on five catches.
The Redskins out-gained the 49ers in total offense by a margin of 457-to-194.
The defense focused on shutting down the 49ers' running attack-and they did so until allowing a 72-yard touchdown run late in the game. With the 49ers' receivers blanketed by the secondary, the Redskins' front seven pressured rookie QB Alex Smith throughout the game, finishing with five sacks.
LaVar Arrington led the defense with nine tackles, while Marcus Washington added five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Said head coach Joe Gibbs: "I was sure happy for our team. Coming into a game like this, you always worry. We had two tough road losses. I think we had respect for the 49ers, and that was good. We wanted to make FedExField a place where we play really hard. I was proud of our guys. They played extremely hard."
By the midway point of the first quarter, the Redskins had already built a commanding lead, moving the ball seemingly at will against the 49ers' defense.
On the Redskins' opening possession, Portis got things going with a 10-yard pickup on the first play. Brunell then threw a deep sideline pass to Moss, who hauled it in for a 43-yard gain.
On 1st-and-goal at the 49ers' 6-yard line, Portis ran twice, hoping to end a touchdown drought that extended back to Week 14 of the 2004 season. But he was stuffed twice. Brunell and the Redskins turned to the pass on third down.
Fullback Mike Sellers was wide open on a swing pass, and he caught Brunell's pass for an easy 2-yard touchdown, giving the Redskins an early 7-0 advantage.
On the offense's next possession, Brunell found wide receiver David Patten on a crossing pattern for a 24-yard gain and then threw a swing pass to H-back Chris Cooley, who raced down the right sideline for a 32-yard pickup.
Portis finally ended his touchdown drought on the very next play, rushing around the right end for a 5-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The 49ers responded with a scoring drive of their own.
Smith found wide receiver Brandon Lloyd on a deep sideline pass for a 43-yard gain. Lloyd and cornerback Walt Harris were step-for-step, but the ball was slightly under-thrown and Lloyd stopped short of Harris to catch the pass.
One play later, running back Kevan Barlow ran up the middle, broke a tackle, then shifted right toward the end zone, scoring on a 17-yard touchdown run.
Midway through the second quarter, Portis scored again. Brunell guided the Redskins on an 11-play, 74-yard drive that included key third-down passes to Cooley and Portis. On 1st-and-goal, Portis raced around left tackle Chris Samuels for a 1-yard touchdown run and a 21-7 lead.
Later, the Redskins built a 28-7 lead on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Brunell to Moss, who used his burst of speed to get several steps on the defender. By the time the ball reached him, he was wide open in the end zone.
It was linebacker Washington who would force the Redskins' first turnover since Week 1. Late in the first half, Washington came in on a linebacker blitz and knocked the ball out of Smith's hands. Phillip Daniels pounced on the ball for the Redskins.
On the next play, Brunell connected with Sellers again on an 18-yard touchdown pass straight down the middle of the field. Sellers barreled past several defenders into the end zone.
The rout was on--and it wasn't even halftime yet.
Early in the second half, safety Sean Taylor forced the second Redskins turnover of the day, intercepting a Smith pass and returning it 32 yards to the 49ers' 3-yard line. One play later, Portis scored for the third time, diving across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run.
Later, Rock Cartwright scored on a 4-yard run to round out the scoring for the Redskins.
Two late scores by the 49ers, a 47-yard field goal by Joe Nedney and 72-yard run by Gore, could not dampen the enthusiasm of the Redskins' win.
"It felt amazing," Cooley said. "Basically, with our defense, we knew that it was over by halftime. We know that if we can just keep putting up points, our defense will do the job."