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Practice report | Jahan Dotson takes another step forward with impressive December

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It is not easy to make the San Francisco 49ers' defense look silly, but Jahan Dotson had no problem finding a hole in the league's best unit. 

On second-and-goal at the 49ers' 4-yard line, Dotson started the play in the slot before taking a stutter step to get behind safety Talanoa Hufanga. The second-year defender recognized the play, but it was too late. Dotson hauled in the pass from Taylor Heinicke in the end zone, tying the score at seven apiece. 

It was the seventh touchdown of Dotson's rookie season, putting him two away from breaking Charlie Brown's franchise record of eight scores in 1982. To Carson Wentz, Dotson's production is not surprising at all. 

"I've seen a lot from that kid," Wentz said Wednesday. "I think the last few weeks has just kind of been something that we all knew, but it's just finally cool to see him kind of do it in games repeatedly." 

Dotson, who started the first four games of the season tied with Stefon Diggs with a league-leading four receiving touchdowns, took another step in his development over the past month. He finished December with 15 receptions for 235 yards and three touchdowns -- one in each game.  

What's more, Dotson has shown that good things tend to happen when the Commanders' quarterbacks get him the ball. He has a 14% target-to-touchdown rate, which is the best among all receivers with a minimum of 50 targets. 

"I'm just happy for the kid to see the way he's kind of come along and finally have that the opportunity in the games to do what I think we've all known all along," Wentz said.

Much of Dotson's success has come near the red zone, where he is able to create separation with his quick movements and ability to find open space. In order to have success in that part of the field, where windows are tighter and space is hard to find, offensive coordinator Scott Turner said players need to have great concentration and ball skills.

Dotson has both of those in his skill set.

"He's got some good opportunities that have come his way, but it is pretty remarkable to have seven touchdowns in missing five games," Turner said. "And then kind of being limited in some of those other games in his first couple games back. But it's just testament to him. He's a very good player, works hard and is important to him and he's very competitive."

When asked what it feels like to make contested catches, like the 61-yarder he hauled in against the New York Giants or the 39-yarder he had that was wiped away by penalty against the 49ers, Dotson simply said, "That's what I do."

"My job is to catch the ball."

After spending the last seven games with Heinicke at quarterback, Dotson will have Wentz throwing to him once again, as the Commanders named Wentz the starter for the game against the Cleveland Browns on New Year's Day. That does not seem to be a concern for Dotson, though, who said he is comfortable with whoever is throwing him the ball.

"I'm just gonna try to do my job, be the best receiver possible, get open for whoever it is and just try to make plays for the team," Dotson said. "Because at the end of the day, we have tremendous confidence in whoever's back there."

With two games left and playoffs on the line, Wentz will certainly need Dotson at his best.

"It's basically win or go home," Dotson said. "I kinda like that. It feels like our backs are against the wall a little bit. I feel like that brings out the best in people."

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