Alex Smith leaves the field after a sixth straight 49ers win. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
The 49ers’ sixth straight victory Sunday was hardly a thing of beauty.
It was a down-and-dirty affair won by an old-school-style team that relies on its rushing game and solid defense.
As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch wrote, it “was about as aesthetically pleasing as graffiti.”
Yet the 7-1 49ers will take the 19-11 victory over the Redskins and would be pleased to add eight more. At the halfway mark of the season, the surprising Niners have a huge lead in the NFC West over the second-place Seahawks and Cardinals, each 2-6.
“We like it dirty,” tight end Delanie Walker told Branch. “We’re blue-collar cats. We’re going to get dirty and it ain’t going to be pretty, but we’re going to get it done. Lately, that’s what we’ve been doing, grinding it out, fighting to the last minute and coming out victorious.”
The offense is more effective than flashy, relying on Frank Gore (another 100-yard rushing game) and Alex Smith, who hit 17 of 24 throws, had no interceptions and posted a 109.7 QB rating for the game.
Smith now has 10 TD passes and just two interceptions, but says his best stat is the team’s 7-1 record.
“I mean, ultimately that’s what a quarterback’s evaluated on,” he told reporters.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said Gore’s fifth straight 100-yard game reflects the team’s commitment to hard-nosed football.
“It was a tough 100. It was a consummate team 100,” Harbaugh told the media after the game. “Not running out of bounds, getting every yard he could get.”
Meanwhile, San Francisco’s defense forced three turnovers, which it converted to 10 points, and stifled the Washington running game.
After the game, Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said he wasn’t overly impressed by the 49ers, especially their offense.
“I don’t think they have that dynamic of an offense,” he said.
Niners wide receiver Braylon Edwards countered, however, saying this team is still getting better each week and still practicing hard.
At 7-1, they like where they are and they see even bigger things ahead.
“We’re not anywhere near where we can be,” said Edwards.