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Best and Worst

Sunday, December 19, 2004; Page E10

Worst national game: What was Fox thinking when they decided to make Redskins-49ers the national game? The 49ers finished 7-9 last season; the Redskins were 5-11. Entering yesterday's game, the teams had combined for six wins this season.

Best start: For the third straight game, the Redskins scored on their opening drive, and it was vintage Joe Gibbs. Washington ran seven times in 10 plays and capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Ramsey to tight end Robert Royal.

San Francisco quarterback Ken Dorsey throws a pass under pressure from Redskins defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin in the first quarter. Dorsey, making his fifth start, doubled his interception total for the season, including three in the first half. He finished 20-of-38 for 206 yards. (John McDonnell - The Washington Post)

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Worst celebration: After Royal caught the touchdown, he danced in the end zone. What was he celebrating, that the Redskins were 4-9 entering the game?

Best weather: While the D.C. area was enduring a cold spell that dropped temperatures into the 30s by evening, the conditions at Monster Park in San Francisco were comparably balmy: 55 degrees, light breeze, bright sunshine.

Worst coverage: Sean Taylor was way late chasing wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, and as a result, the 49ers tied the game. Cornerback Walt Harris let Lloyd run by him toward the post, expecting Taylor to help in coverage. But the rookie safety was well out of position when Lloyd caught the 17-yard pass for a touchdown late in the first quarter.

Best throw: Ramsey delivered a 39-yard pass to Rod Gardner near the left sideline midway through the second quarter that sailed over the coverage and into the diving wide receiver's arms. That play moved Washington to the 49ers 3 and set up a field goal that increased the Redskins' lead to 13-7.

Worst blocking: Late in the second quarter, Todd Franz could not contain Keith Lewis, who blocked a punt that landed in the end zone. Punter Tom Tupa kicked the ball out of bounds for a safety, preventing the 49ers from recovering for a touchdown.

Best interception: Antonio Pierce picked off a pass just before halftime and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown and a 23-9 lead. The pass was intended for Cedrick Wilson but was thrown directly to Pierce, who is having a Pro Bowl-worthy season.

Worst throw: Ramsey had Gardner wide open in the back of the end zone after a nine-minute drive in the third quarter but threw it well over his head. The Redskins then kicked their fourth field goal of the game for a 26-9 lead.

Worst in red zone: The Redskins got inside the 49ers 20-yard line four times and had to kick field goals three times, including once from the 2.

-- Gene Wang

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