The Redskins' 2008 season ended far different from how it began.
Far away from Redskins Park, on the West Coast, the Redskins lost to San Francisco 27-24 at Candlestick Park as 49ers kicker Joe Nedney connected on a game-winning 39-yard field goal with no time on the clock.
Moments earlier, Jason Campbell had led an inspiring comeback, leading the offense downfield in the final minutes. He scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 24-24 with 1:09 left.
Too much time left for the 49ers, though. They responded by driving downfield to set up Nedney's game-winner.
The Redskins finished the 2008 campaign with an 8-8 record and in last place in the NFC East.
After a promising 6-2 start to the season, the Redskins lost six of their final eight games.
It was a disappointing finish, to be sure.
But for a Redskins team that entered the season with a new head coach in Jim Zorn and a new offense to learn, there were certainly positives.
And there were certainly positives in the Redskins' season finale in San Francisco.
Campbell was impressive throughout the game, using both his arms and legs to drive the offense downfield.
He finished 18-of-30 for 156 yards and one touchdown, a 6-yarder to Antwaan Randle El in the second quarter. He scrambled four times for 39 yards, using his mobility several times to get the offense into scoring position.
Clinton Portis added a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter and finished the game with 80 yards and 29 carries.
After building a 17-7 halftime lead, the Redskins' defense struggled in the second half, allowing San Francisco to score on three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the 49ers posted 359 total yards and 121 rushing yards.
Quarterback Shaun Hill finished the game with 21-of-30 completions for 245 yards, one touchdown and one interception. In the fourth quarter, he passed for 163 yards in leading the 49ers to victory.
Along with the fast finish, San Francisco got off to a fast start, too.
On the game's opening drive, San Francisco moved quickly downfield as Hill completed a 29-yard pass to tight end Billy Bajema to get the 49ers into scoring range.
On 3rd-and-6 at the Redskins' 11-yard line, Hill completed a short pass to wide receiver Josh Morgan, who broke a tackle by DeAngelo Hall and picked up a first down at the 2-yard line.
One play later, Hill tried a shovel pass to running back Frank Gore, but the Redskins closed the hole quickly. So Hill broke right, eluded Rocky McIntosh, and raced into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run.
After a sluggish start, the Redskins' offense started to build momentum late in the first quarter.
Campbell completed a 17-yard pass to Santana Moss to the 49ers' 33-yard line. Later, Campbell scrambled for 9 yards to pick up another first down.
Portis did the rest.
On four consecutive plays, Portis picked up the remaining 20 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run behind solid blocking by Stephon Heyer and Pete Kendall.
In a light moment, Portis jogged to the stands and hugged a Redskins fan wearing his No. 26 jersey amid a sea of 49ers fans.
Early in the second quarter, Carlos Rogers picked off a pass across the middle of the field and returned the ball to the 49ers' 23-yard line.
The turnover resulted in a 41-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham tas the Redskins took their first lead at 10-7.
The offense got back in rhythm late in the second quarter as Campbell guided a plodding drive downfield.
On a key 4th-and-1 play at the 49ers' 39-yard line, Portis followed blocking by Kendall for three yards.
Then Campbell threw a screen pass to Chris Cooley, who turned up-field for 12 yards to the 19-yard line.
Campbell picked up another first down when he nimbly avoided a hard-charging blitz by safety Mark Roman and scrambled for 5 yards to the 6-yard line.
On the next play, Campbell rolled right and tossed a short pass to Randle El across the middle. Randle El cut back in front of linebacker Patrick Willis and cornerback Nate Clements and dove into the end zone for a touchdown.
The touchdown drive took more than 9 minutes off the game clock and gave the Redskins a 17-7 lead heading into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Portis committed a costly gaffe when he fumbled on a run up the middle. Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin poked the ball loose and the ball was recovered linebacker Takeo Spikes at the Redskins' 38-yard line.
The turnover proved to be a turning point, as the 49ers capitalized by playing smash-mouth football.
Gore picked up a quick 19 yards on two carries. Then running back DeShaun Foster gained 18 yards to the Redskins' 2-yard line.
One play later, Foster bulldozed across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run, narrowing the Redskins' lead to 17-14.
The drive set a tone.
Early in the fourth quarter, Hill led an effective passing game, throwing six consecutive times to move the 49ers into scoring range.
His 24-yard pass to fullback Michael Robinson, who leaped above McIntosh for the catch, moved the offense to the Redskins' 11-yard line.
One play later, Hill connected with wide receiver Jason Hill on a 9-yard touchdown pass to give the 49ers the lead at 21-17.
Later in the fourth quarter, punt return specialist Allen Rossum gave the 49ers the ball at midfield following a 35-yard return.
Hill quickly connected with Morgan for a 24-yard reception. The play set up a 33-yard field goal by Nedney, increasing the 49ers lead 24-17.
Down to the final minutes of their season, the Redskins responded.
Leave it to sparkplug Rock Cartwright to make a big play. He returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards to give the Redskins excellent field position.
Campbell quickly completed passes to Cooley for 12 yards and Santana Moss for 12 more yards. Then he used his legs to scramble downfield for 23 yards to the 49ers' 10-yard line.
Faced with a 4th-and-2 and just over one minute remaining in the game, Campbell dropped back to pass. No receivers open.
He saw a gap open up in front of him and he raced for the goal line as defenders converged.
Campbell dove across the goal line for the touchdown, and the game was tied at 24-24 with 1:09 left.
Hill had found his rhythm in the fourth quarter, though, and there was enough time for him to throw downfield.
He quickly completed a 19-yard pass to Robinson across the middle of the field.
One play later, Hill found wide receiver Bryant Johnson wide open down the middle of the field for a 24-yard completion. Kareem Moore leveled a punishing hit on Johnson on the play, but Johnson held on to the ball.
Now the 49ers were in scoring range.
It was up to Nedney.
His kick sailed through, and the Redskins' long and winding season had come to its end.
The Redskins close out the 2008 season with a road trip to the West Coast for a Dec. 28 game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Kickoff is 4:15 p.m. ET.
Candlestick Park has a natural grass surface. The stadium, built in 1960, seats 70,207.
The Redskins are 4-3 in road games. In their only other West Coast trip this season, they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 20-17 on Nov. 23.
The Redskins are in fourth place in the NFC East. They could finish as high as third place in the division, depending on the outcome of the Dec. 28 games.
Both the Redskins and 49ers have been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Redskins are coming off a 10-3 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 21 at FedExField.
San Francisco defeated the St. Louis Rams 17-16 on Dec. 21. It was the 49ers' fourth win in their last six contests.
The game will be televised to on FOX. Ron Pitts handles the play-by-play with Tony Boselli adding color analysis and Charissa Thompson reporting from the sidelines.
On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on ESPN 980. Larry Michael handles the play-by-play with color commentary by Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. Rick "Doc" Walker serves as sideline reporter.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
|WR||89 Santana Moss||82 Bryant Johnson|
|LT||74 Stephon Heyer||74 Joe Staley|
|LG||66 Pete Kendall||64 David Baas|
|C||61 Casey Rabach||66 Eric Heitman|
|RG||77 Randy Thomas||62 Chilo Rachal|
|RT||76 Jon Jansen||65 Barry Sims|
|TE||47 Chris Cooley||85 Vernon Davis|
|WR||82 Antwaan Randle El||88 Isaac Bruce|
|QB||17 Jason Campbell||13 Shaun Hill|
|FB||45 Mike Sellers||24 Michael Robinson|
|RB||26 Clinton Portis||29 DeShaun Foster|
|DE||99 Andre Carter||91 Ray McDonald|
|DT||96 Cornelius Griffin||90 Isaac Sopoaga|
|DT/DE||94 A. Montgomery||94 Justin Smith|
|DE/LB||55 Jason Taylor||99 Manny Lawson|
|LB||53 M. Washington||51 Takeo Spikes|
|MLB||59 London Fletcher||52 Patrick Willis|
|LB||52 Rocky McIntosh||98 Parys Haralson|
|LCB||23 DeAngelo Hall||22 Nate Clements|
|RCB||24 Shawn Springs||27 Walt Harris|
|SS||48 Chris Horton||32 Michael Lewis|
|FS||30 LaRon Landry||26 Mark Roman|
|P||1 Ryan Plackemeier||4 Andy Lee|
|K||6 Shaun Suisham||6 Joe Nedney|
|H||1 Ryan Plackemeier||4 Andy Lee|
|LS||67 Ethan Albright||86 Brian Jennings|
|KOR||31 Rock Cartwright||46 Delanie Walker|
|PR||82 A. Randle El||22 Nate Clements|
The Redskins and 49ers have met 22 times in the regular season, dating back to 1952. The 49ers hold a 13-9-1 lead in the all-time series, but the Redskins have won three of the last four games.
The Redskins and 49ers last played on Oct. 23, 2005, with the Redskins winning 52-17 at FedExField.
Clinton Portis rushed for 101 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, while the Redskins' defense sacked quarterback Alex Smith five times in the rout.
The 49ers hold a 6-3-1 advantage over the Redskins in San Francisco, including a 4-3 mark at Candlestick Park. Washington has won the last two matchups there.
The last time the Redskins and 49ers played in San Francisco was on Dec. 18, 2004, with the Redskins winning 26-16 at Monster Park (now called Candlestick Park).
For the Redskins, Robert Royal caught a 12-yard TD pass from Patrick Ramsey and Antonio Pierce returned an interception 78 yards for another touchdown. Kicker Jeff Chandler also connected on four field goals for the Redskins.
Washington and San Francisco have played four times in the postseason, with the 49ers winning three of four games. The lone Redskins win came in 1983 when they defeated the 49ers 24-21 in the NFC Championship game.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|REDSKINS 2008 RANKINGS|
|49ers 2008 RANKINGS|
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE 49ERS
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz served as quarterbacks coach of the Redskins from 1997-98. He played a role in developing quarterbacks Gus Frerotte and Trent Green.
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky served as linebackers coach of the Redskins in 2001.
Cornerback Walt Harris played for the Redskins from 2004-05. In 29 games, he recorded three interceptions for the Redskins' defense.
Fullback Zak Keasey, who is on injured reserve with a biceps injury, played for the Redskins in 2005. He earned a spot on the Redskins' roster as a rookie linebacker out of Princeton.
Quarterback Jamie Martin was with the Redskins in 1997.
REDSKINS-49ERS NEWS & NOTES
-- Zorn's First Season As Head Coach
Jim Zorn is 8-7 in his first 15 games as head coach. He is aiming to lead the Redskins to their third winning season in the last four years.
Zorn is looking to become the seventh Redskins head coach to record a winning record in his first year at the helm. He needs to win the Redskins' final two regular season games to accomplish the feat.
The list of first-year head coaches with winning records includes Ray Flaherty (7-5 in 1936), Dutch Bergman (6-3-1 in 1943), Dudley DeGroot (6-3-1 in 1944), Dick Todd (5-4 in 1951), Vince Lombardi (7-5-2 in 1969) and George Allen (9-4-1 in 1971).
Seven first-year Redskins head coaches finished their rookie campaign with a .500 mark, while 12 finished with a losing record.
-- Zorn And Singletary
Jim Zorn and 49ers head coach Mike Singletary competed against each other in the mid-1980s, when Zorn was a quarterback with the Seahawks, Packers and Buccaneers and Singletary was a middle linebacker with the Bears.
Zorn started two of four games against Singletary's Bears, winning as a Seahawk in 1982 and losing as a Packer in 1985.
"I remember him staring at me with these eyes that are sort of these big orbs through his face mask," Zorn said. "He never sacked me, but a couple other Bears hit me pretty good.
"He was a tremendous football player. He had such a great intensity level. He played the game the way most coaches would want it played.
-- Portis Runneth Over
Clinton Portis is ranked third in the NFL with 1,407 rushing yards, trailing only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and Atlanta's Michael Turner.
Portis is second in the NFL with 1,625 yards from scrimmage and second in rushing first downs with 71. He is tied for the league lead with 82 total first downs.
Portis rushed for at least 120 yards in five straight games from Weeks 4-8 and in doing so became the seocnd player in NFL history to accomplish the feat twice in a career. (He also did it in the final four games of the 2003 season with the Denver Broncos and in the 2004 season opener with the Redskins.) Buffalo's O.J. Simpson rushed for at least 120 yards in five straight games in both 1973 and 1975.
The Redskins are 5-1 when Portis surpasses the 100-yard rushing mark.
Washington's 131.3 rushing yards per game this season ranks eighth in the NFL.
-- Record Setters?
Several Redskins players are on the verge of setting Redskins franchise single season records.
Clinton Portis needs 110 yards to break his own club record of 1,516 yards, which he set in 2005. Portis also needs 107 yards from scrimmage--combined rushing and receiving--to surpass his 2005 mark of 1,732.
Jason Campbell is on the verge of setting a new team mark for lowest interception percentage in a season. Campbell has thrown 476 passes with just six interceptions, a 1.26 percentage. That would best the previous mark of 1.60 set by Mark Brunell in 2006.
Chris Cooley's 77 catches this season is a career high and franchise best for a tight end. His 792 receiving yards is also a career high. Cooley needs 58 receiving yards to surpass Jerry Smith's franchise mark of 849 receiving yards in a season by a tight end.
-- Carter Returns To the Bay Area
Andre Carter played college football at Cal and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft.
He played for the 49ers from 2001-05 before signing with the Redskins. Carter may have had his best NFL season in 2002 with the 49ers, when he totaled 12.5 sacks.
That was for a San Francisco team that was coached by Steve Mariucci and finished at 10-6 and atop the NFC West. On that club were the likes of Terrell Owens, Jeff Garcia, Garrison Hearst and Julian Peterson.
Carter said this week he does not feel any extra motivation to play his former team.
"Now when I go back to San Francisco, I have a lot of memories," he said. "It was great to be a part of the last draft class of Bill Walsh and to be part of the 2002 NFC West champs. A few of my old teammates are still there, but the majority of the guys there are new. Some of the coaches I know are still there, but for the most part it's a whole new organization."
-- Cerrato Returns, Too
Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato was with the San Francisco 49ers from 1991-98.
Cerrato joined San Francisco in 1991 as director of college scouting, helping to draft such players as Ted Washington, Ricky Watters, Merton Hanks, Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young and Lee Woodall.
In 1995, Cerrato was promoted to director of player personnel, overseeing all of college scouting and draft activities as well as pro scouting. Again, Cerrato made an impact as his drafts produced Pro Bowl performers Terrell Owens, R.W. McQuarters, Jeremy Newberry, Lance Schulters and Fred Beasley.
Cerrato was with the 49ers organiationwhen they won Super Bowl XXIX.
-- 49ers From D.C.
The San Francisco 49ers have a host of players from the Washington, D.C., region.
Tight end Vernon Davis, a first-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2006, hails from Washington, D.C., and attended Maryland.
Linebacker Ahmad Broooks grew up in Fairfax, Va., and attended the University of Virginia.
Backup wide receiver Josh Morgan grew up in Washington, D.C. and played college football at Virginia Tech.
Backup running back Thomas Clayton hails from Alexandria, Va.
-- Redskins From Northern California
Tough break for Lorenzo Alexander. The native of Berkeley, Calif., suffered a hamstring injury in last Sunday's Redskins-Eagles game.
The Redskins placed Alexander on injured reserve on Dec. 24.
Ryan Boschetti is another Redskins player with ties to the San Francisco area. He grew up in Belmont, Calif.
-- Shaun Hill Files
San Francisco quarterback Shaun Hill, who played his college ball at Maryland, emerged as the 49ers' starter at midseason.
He has taken over the job for the injured Alex Smith and the ineffective J.T. O'Sullivan.
Hill has completed 160-of-258 passes for 1,801 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His QB rating is 87.0.
-- Redskins Captains
The Redskins have elected six players as captains for the 2008 season. They wear a black "C" on their jersey during games.
On offense, Jason Campbell amd Chris Samuels are the captains.
On defense, Cornelius Griffin and London Fletcher are the captains.
On special teams, Rock Cartwright and Khary Campbell are the captains.
-- What's Next?
The Redskins have been eliminated from playoff contention and they head into a busy offseason following the 49ers game.
Besides the playoff, the next big event on the NFL calendar is the Senior Bowl, scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 25.
It's the first opportunity for Redskins coaches and scouts to get a look at some of the young talent available in the NFL Draft.