LANDOVER, Md. – When the Washington Redskins began preparing to face the 0-5 San Francisco 49ers, coach Jay Gruden wanted to get a message across.
“They’re four plays away from being 4-1,” Gruden told his players.
That may be the hyperbole of a coach trying to keep his team from overlooking a winless opponent, though San Francisco is the first team since the 1994 Houston Oilers to lose four consecutive games by three points or fewer. So the Redskins, de- spite being heavy favorites at home today, insist they aren’t taking the 49ers lightly.
“It doesn’t matter what the record is, they’re going to come in here ready to play,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “You can’t look at anybody’s record because everybody’s a big-time player in this league. So you’ve got to come with it and watch the film, get ready for a dogfight, man, because that’s what every NFL game’s going to be.”
Since a 23-3 loss to Carolina in their opener, the 49ers have fallen in their past four games by a combined 11 points. Coach Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-13, said it’s a challenge to remain focused amid so many close losses.
“It does wear on you,” Shanahan said. “We were close in a bunch of those games, but we still lost. You have to sit there and figure out why Undrafted rookie running back Matt Breida could see more action against the Redskins today as he continues to split time with starter Carlos Hyde. and how you can figure out how to do better longer. It’s nice to be in these games and have a chance to win, but we have got to get over that hump and find a way to finish one.”