49ers embarrass Redskins, 45-10 Young throws for 3 TDs, helps deal Washington worst home loss since '48

September 15, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- In a week of blush-inducing news from the Washington area, the Redskins added another item last night, losing to the San Francisco 49ers, 45-10, before 76,798 at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

"This was about as embarrassing as the Clinton affair," Washington defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said. "We got embarrassed in front of the entire nation."

A "Monday Night Football" audience saw 49ers quarterback Steve Young complete 21 of 32 passes for 303 yards, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another, in a game that resembled something from Nebraska's nonconference schedule.

It was the worst home loss for the Redskins (0-2) since the Philadelphia Eagles beat them 45-0 on Oct. 17, 1948.

"There's no question there's disappointment," Washington coach Norv Turner said. "We can play a lot better than we've played. We've made mistakes and haven't been good enough to overcome them."

The Redskins spent $57 million to add Wilkinson and Dana Stubblefield to their previously weak defensive line, but the 49ers accumulated 504 yards in total offense.

"I'm not really shocked, just disappointed," said Redskins safety Stanley Richard, who suggested that the addition of Wilkinson and Stubblefield means opposing teams will try to pass more, a test that the defensive backfield failed against the 49ers.

"We're stopping the run, but things in the passing game are starting to open up. Now it's going to be important for the defensive backs to start making plays."

Not only did Young riddle them from the air, but Garrison Hearst found little trouble pounding them on the ground, gaining 138 yards on 22 carries.

Lost in all of this was the first start for Redskins quarterback Trent Green, given the No. 1 job after Gus Frerotte struggled and was injured last week against the New York Giants.

Green (14-for-25, 201 yards passing) completed his first three passes, including one for a 14-yard touchdown to Leslie Shepherd that gave Washington a 7-0 lead with 4: 52 left in the first quarter.

San Francisco (2-0) answered quickly, however.

In response to Green's opening drive, Young completed all five of his passes and Hearst rushed four times for 28 yards on a drive that ended with Terrell Owens tying the game on a 20-yard touchdown catch with three seconds left in the first quarter.

On the play, Owens beat Redskins cornerback Cris Dishman on a post pattern.

Two San Francisco drives later, with the 49ers up 14-10 after a 3-yard sneak by Young, Jerry Rice blew past Dishman on a similar pattern and caught a 57-yard pass from Young. On the next play, Young connected with tight end Irv Smith for a 16-yard touchdown, making the score 21-10 with 3: 37 remaining in the first half.

Washington had its chances to score, but wasted most of them. The Redskins were forced to kick one field goal (a 37-yarder by Scott Blanton with 5: 37 left in the second quarter) and missed two others, the first being the most painful.

Down 11 points, Washington drove to the San Francisco 38 on the strength of a 38-yard catch by Michael Westbrook and a 4-yard run by Terry Allen. 49ers cornerback Zack Bronson was then called for interference on Westbrook in the end zone, moving the ball inside the San Francisco 5.

But what would have been Shepherd's second touchdown catch of the night -- from 3 yards out -- was wiped out when Westbrook grabbed the face mask of cornerback Antonio Langham, a former Raven.

The penalty turned six points into a second-and-goal situation from the 18, eventually forcing Washington to try a field goal, a 34-yard attempt by Blanton that hit the left upright and missed.

"That penalty hurt us real bad," Shepherd said. "It took a lot of air out of us. [Westbrook] said it was his fault. He did not mean to do it. It just came at a bad time."

Pub Date: 9/15/98

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