The Redskins come off their bye week to host the winless San Francisco 49ers at 1 p.m. Sunday at FedEx Field. Washington is a 10-point favorite, but San Francisco has lost its past four games by a combined 11 points. Here are some of the key players to monitor on the opposing sideline, as analyzed by the Redskins:
Offensive player to watch: WR Pierre Garcon
2017 stats: Through five games, Garcon leads the team with 28 receptions for 379 yards. He’s averaging 13.5 yards per reception, on par with how the former Redskins receiver fared last season (13.2) when he had 1,041 receiving yards for Washington.
The skinny: What is there to be said that Redskins fans don’t already know? Garcon spent the past five seasons in Washington, and the 31-year-old hasn’t displayed any signs of regression. He’s still a productive receiver despite being in a pass offense ranked 20th in the league with Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback.
Garcon is the only wide receiver with more than 300 receiving yards in an offense that ranks sixth in pass attempts (194). While running back Carlos Hyde has 332 rushing yards, averaging 4.5 per carry, he has only received 73 attempts. San Francisco is tied for 22nd, with the Redskins, in run attempts with 116. The pass-run discrepancy has occurred in a season when the 49ers have played a lot of close games, and Hyde has dealt with a hip injury. San Francisco’s tendencies show it likes to throw the ball, and Garcon is its best weapon.
Redskins take: “He runs very good, precise, crisp routes and has got strong hands,” Coach Jay Gruden said. “He does all the underneath stuff. He can hit you down the sidelines from time to time, so he is definitely their best playmaker.”
Said cornerback Bashaud Breeland: “He’s an exceptional guy. He was always a hard worker when he was here, and it carried over there. You can see he’s become one of their major targets over there.”
Defensive player to watch: Defensive end Elvis Dumervil
2017 stats: Dumervil leads the team with 3.5 sacks, all occurring during the past two games against Arizona and Indianapolis. He eclipsed 100 career sacks in Week 4 against the Cardinals. The 33-year-old has 102.5 sacks in 151 games.
The skinny: It’s a difficult defense to gauge in 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan’s first season. There are some talented young pieces in the front seven, like Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster, mixed in with proven veterans like Dumervil and NaVorro Bowman. It just hasn’t meshed yet.
The 49ers defense is 22nd in points allowed at 24.0 per game and 28th in total defense, allowing 366.4 yards per game. Bowman leads the team with 38 tackles, but he’s currently in a rotation with Brock Coyle and Ray-Ray Armstrong. Dumervil has been able to get to the quarterback over the past two games on a defense tied for ninth in sacks (13).
Redskins take: “We still have a lot to prove ourselves,” Gruden said. “They have a lot of good players over there, I’ve made it known – today in the meeting, in team meeting today – that they’re four plays away from being 4-1, without a doubt. A lot of first-rounders there on defense, lot of skill on defense. Offensively, they have a lot of speed, a physical runner and a nice offensive line. So it’s a competitive football team and, if you take anybody for granted in the league, you’re an idiot. That won’t happen here.”
Read more Redskins: