49ers stay hot, top Redskins 19-11 for 6th in row
Carlos Rogers doesn't show up much on the final stat sheet. Just one assist on a tackle. Otherwise, the veteran cornerback did his usual job, covering his man and helping the San Francisco 49ers shut down another opponent.
Sure, he would have liked more. But he left the nation's capital with something even better - bragging rights after Sunday's 19-11 win over his old team, the Washington Redskins.
''I would love to do something spectacular against this team, but I'll take the win any day if I didn't make a play,'' said Rogers, who spent six seasons in Washington before leaving this summer as a free agent. ''Them guys just hated for me to have the win. I know they wanted to come in, talk about what they was going to do, kind of make it about Carlos, 'Let's beat Carlos.' But they had to play the 49ers, and we're a team.''
And few teams are playing defense as well as the 49ers, who forced three turnovers and didn't allow a touchdown until the final two minutes. It was the sixth straight win for a franchise seeking to end an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth.
''To all the guys who have been here for a while, through all the struggles, we're all happy right now,'' said Frank Gore, who set a club record with his fifth straight 100-yard rushing game.
First-year coach John Harbaugh's 49ers (7-1) have their longest winning streak since 1997 and are 4-0 on the road for the first time since 1992 - with all four coming on those 1 p.m. Eastern time zone kickoffs which are supposed to drag down West Coast teams.
The club arrived in the Washington area on Friday and spent part of the extra day watching the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery. By coincidence, Gore picked out a dark green military-style jacket, green cargo pants and designer jewel-encrusted dog tags to wear after the game.
''They were a pretty tough defense, so I told myself I'm going to wear this - because I felt I was going to come out hunting on Sunday,'' said Gore, who ran for 107 yards on 19 carries. ''It's my hunting outfit.''
Alex Smith found rookie fullback Bruce Miller for the seventh-round draft pick's first career touchdown, and David Akers kicked four field goals for the 49ers. Smith managed the game efficiently, hitting 17 of 24 passes for 200 yards with no interceptions. He's thrown only two picks this season.
By contrast, the Redskins (3-5) have problems at quarterback. They've lost four straight, and benching Rex Grossman for John Beck hasn't helped.
Beck - now 0-7 as an NFL starter and 0-3 this season - again regularly failed to spot open receivers. He completed 30 of 47 passes for 254 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but 116 yards came in the fourth quarter during desperation catch-up time.
Beck dumped short passes off to Roy Helu so often that the rookie running back ended up setting a franchise-record with 14 receptions. But they only went for a total of 105 yards.
Coach Mike Shanahan said Beck will start again next week. The coach tried to deflect attention away from the quarterback by making constant references to the injuries that have depleted the offense.
Receiver Santana Moss, running back Tim Hightower and Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley are among the players hurt, and three rookies made their debut starts on Sunday.
''Any time you shuffle people in and out of there, there's going to be some inconsistencies. ... It does look a little ragtag,'' Shanahan said. ''There are going to be mistakes made.''
After being shut out by Buffalo the previous week, the Redskins got their only points on Graham Gano's franchise-record 59-yard field goal on the last play of the first half and a touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney with 1:10 remaining.
''If we come out and get some points on the board early, maybe the game would be different,'' Gaffney said. ''But these last four games, we've fallen behind in all of them and, it's like, as soon as the other team scores, it's not the same feeling on the sideline. People aren't looking the same, aren't playing the same.''
NOTES: Akers made a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter. He is 4 for 4 from 50-plus yards this season. ... The 49ers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in their past 30 games. ... Gano's 59-yard kick topped Steve Cox's 57-yarder kick in 1986 as the Redskins' longest. ... Redskins injuries: RT Jammal Brown (hip), WR Niles Paul (toe) and DL Kedric Golston (elbow). Harbaugh said there were no significant 49ers injuries.