SANTA CLARA — Kyle Shanahan admitted he was frustrated Saturday when the 49ers tied the Washington Commanders at halftime.
But the 49ers scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to start controlling their 37-20 victory at Levi’s Stadium.
The Commanders stayed out until the fourth quarter, when the 49ers scored three short field goals by Robbie Gould.
“It should be worse than it is,” Shanahan said.
Still the 49ers, No. 1 in the NFC. The No. 3 seed has more than enough play necessary to decisively beat the current No. 1 team. The No. 7 and final No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. The Commanders (7-7-1) have a halftime lead over Seattle and Detroit.
Here’s the 49ers’ Week 16 transcript:
The 49ers faced one of the NFL’s top defensive lines, and the commanders were determined not to allow the 49ers to dominate the game on the ground.
Christian McCaffrey and Ty Davis-Price didn’t have a lot of space against Washington’s stacked box, though the 49ers broke when wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud made the handoff in orbital motion and picked up blocks from Mike McGlinchey, McCaffrey, Jauan Jennings He turned the corner with Willie Snead for a 71-yard touchdown run.
McCaffrey finished with 46 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Davis-Price finished with nine touchdowns for 30 yards. McLeod’s touchdown was his only score of the day.
Brock Purdy continued his performance for the 49ers on Saturday with a solid performance. The rookie completed 15 of 22 pass attempts for 234 yards with two touchdown passes while throwing an interception and finishing with a 114.6 passer grade.
Purdy was paired with tight end George Kittle for touchdowns twice. The first was a pass down the middle to McLeod, but Kittle changed his course and scored a touchdown 34 yards in front of McLeod.
Later in the third quarter, Kittle turned a short Purdy pass into a 33-yard touchdown on the 49ers’ next drive.
Purdy made an interception that wasn’t his fault, as Jennings fumbled on a center pass, allowing safety Darrick Forrest to make the interception.
Purdy converted to a 4-and-3 play late in the game, throwing the ball to Kittle in a tight window.
Kittle had six catches for 120 yards, while Brandon Aiyuk added 81 yards on five catches.
The Commanders are a running team, but they can’t find anywhere to go against the 49ers’ solid top seven.
However, that didn’t stop Washington from trying, as they gained just 79 yards on 33 rushing attempts, a poor 2.4 yards average. The Commanders’ leading rusher, Brian Robinson, rushed for just 58 yards on 22 attempts.
Pro Bowl linebacker Fred Warner had 13 tackles, including one to stop two fourth down attempts.
Defensive end Nick Bosa recorded two sacks, a career high 17.5, with four quarterbacks rushing, while recording another unrecorded sack to stop a two-point fourth quarter Conversion attempt.
Jimmy Ward intercepted in 4th quarter
However, the Commanders have had some success in the passing game. Taylor Heinicke went 13-for-18 for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Carson Wentz went 12-for-16 for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Washington’s two quarterbacks have a combined passer rating of 115.9.
Robbie Gould was perfect on three fourth-quarter field goal attempts, but the highlight of this stage of the game was the 49ers’ covered unit.
San Francisco’s defense was particularly strong, with George Odum having an incredible day with four tackles.
Washington averaged 15.5 points on six kickoff returns.
Shanahan, who was more aggressive from the start, was strong on fourth-and-1 of the first quarter, though the 49ers failed with an option attempt with Kyle Yushchik at that point. .
Shanahan hit a 4-point 3 late in the fourth quarter, and Purdy finished off Kittle.
The 49ers hit the right buttons offensively, including a tie-breaking run by McLeod in the second quarter.
RELATED: How Shanahan hilariously used Deebo to start McCloud’s TD
The 49ers’ offense, which isn’t known for being prolific, is more vulnerable than ever.
The Commanders have a playoff-caliber defense, and the 49ers have played an all-around game.
The players bolstered the offense, defense and special teams, leading to San Francisco’s eight-game winning streak.
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