Redskins-49ers today

January 12, 1991|By -- Vito Stellino

Site: Candlestick Park, San Francisco. Time: 4 p.m.

Line: 49ers by 8.

Last week: The Redskins beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 20-6, and the 49ers had a bye as the division champion with the best record.

Last meeting: The Redskins beat the 49ers, 26-13, in the second game of the season as Joe Montana passed for 390 yards.

The series: The 49ers lead the series, 10-7-1, and have won four of the past five although the clubs split their only two previous playoff games, the 49ers winning, 24-20, in 1971 and the Redskins winning, 24-21, in 1983.

On the sidelines: Joe Gibbs, in his 10th season as Redskins coach, has a 113-54 record. That includes a 12-3 record in playoff games. Only Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers, who was 9-1 in playoff games, has a better percentage among coaches who've coached five or more playoff games. George Seifert, in his second season, has posted a 31-5 record.

What the Redskins have to do to win: Contain Montana. The only time the Redskins have beaten Montana since the 1983 playoff game was in 1986, when he was coming off back surgery and they held him to six points and won, 14-6. They can't afford to let the game turn into a shootout between Montana and Mark Rypien. If they can hold Montana under 17 points, they have a shot.

What the 49ers have to do to win: Find their playoff form. The past two years, the 49ers have been good during the regular season, but they've been in a league of their own during the playoffs. If they pick up where they left off in the playoffs last year, nobody will beat them.

Injuries: For Washington, WR Gary Clark (ankle) is probable. For San Francisco, G Harris Barton (foot), NT Jim Burt (shoulder), RB Roger Craig (knee), FB Keith Henderson (knee), WR Ron Lewis (knee), S Ronnie Lott (knee), WR Mike Wilson (hamstring) are probable.

Outlook: What can you say about the 49ers? In an age of parity, they continue to set the standard for their profession. But the Redskins are always dangerous when they're big underdogs. You can't pick against the 49ers, but this one might turn out to be interesting. If the Redskins can stop them the first two series so the 49ers don't get rolling early, they could make it close.

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