49th observation: George Kittle, Nick Bosa win over Commanders

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers extended their hot streak on Saturday on a day in which unbearably cold weather was the story around the rest of the NFL.

Quarterback Brock Purdy continued his steady play with a pair of touchdown passes to tight end in the 49ers’ 37–20 victory over the Washington Commanders at Levi’s Stadium.

Ray-Ray McCloud opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 71-yard touchdown run. It was his only carry of the game and he had no receptions on a target.

The 49ers (11-4) earned their eighth consecutive win – and third in a row – with Purdy as the starter. They remain at No. 3 in the NFC playoff seedings behind the Minnesota Vikings (12–3), who were 27–24 winners of the New York Giants earlier in the day.

Here are three excerpts from the 49ers’ Week 16 win:

Bosa strengthens DPOY case

Defensive end Nick Bosa was one of six 49ers selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team this week, and up next: a potential NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Bosa continued his remarkable season with two sacks on Saturday, raising his NFL-leading season sacks to 17.5 today. He picked up 15.5 sacks last season.

Bosa tied with Fred Dean (1983) for the second most sacks in a single season in franchise history. Eldon Smith recorded 19.5 sacks in 2012 to set the 49ers’ record.

Bosa also thwarted a two-point conversion attempt with a fourth quarter sack of Carson Wentz. However, that play does not officially count as a sack on the stat sheet.

Bosa has two games remaining in the regular season to challenge Smith’s record.

Bosa’s second sack of the day led to straight points, as he stripped Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke with a blindside hit. Jordan Willis recovered the fumble at the 12-yard line.

Kicker Robby Gould missed one of his three-quarter field goals.

Purdy threw a deep strike for the score.

There is no doubt that Purdy knows where to go with the ball and how to get it off quickly and accurately.

One concern contributing to Purdy remaining available until the last overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft was his arm strength, but he showed on Saturday that he has plenty of arm to make the throws required of an NFL quarterback.

Purdy threw two touchdown passes and one interception for 234 yards with 15 completions on 2 attempts.

Washington wanted to take away San Francisco’s run game and limit their ability to convert short passes into big plays, leaving an opening for the 49ers to make a big play down the field, and Purdy told the Commanders to fully Cattle paid off with a thrown deep ball. Gave the 49ers a 14–7 lead early in the third quarter.

Purdy snaps a picture with a shot gun. He looked left, then straightened up and stepped into a deep throw over the middle. Cattle broke through safety Derrick Forrest’s coverage just as he was crossing the goal line for a 34-yard score.

Purdy and Kittle hooked up for another touchdown on the 49ers’ next drive. This time his look was completely different.

Cattle took a short pass from Purdy, who rolled to the left on a bootleg. Cattle caught a pass at the 27, picked off a block from Jaune Jennings, then made his way across the field and into the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown.

Cattle surpassed his previous career high of six touchdowns, which he set the previous season.

go after Commander Lenoir

There are few areas on the 49ers’ defense that have allowed the opposition any hope of attack, and the Commander went behind the most unproven player on the unit on Saturday.

Cornerback Devmodore Lenoir made his 10th consecutive start as Emmanuel Mosley sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 at Carolina.

The 49ers went deep into their depth on Sunday when Charvarius Ward exited the game in the third quarter. Rookie cornerback Sam Womack replaced him, and the Commander immediately followed him on a 51-yard pass to Terry McLaurin.

Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke targeted Lenoir with a deep throw to rookie receiver Jahan Dotson on the first series of the game. Lenoir fumbled the play, and Dotson dropped what could have resulted in a 79-yard touchdown pass.

Lenoir subsequently completed an 11-yard pass to Dotson in a third-and-nine situation. Dotson beat him 44 yards on a play that was nullified by an offsetting penalty.

RELATED: Where the 49ers stand in NFC playoff race after win over Commanders

The Commanders tied the score late in the second quarter when Dotson broke free along the back line of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. Lenoir’s play had shallow field on that side, while it appeared as though Pro Bowl safety Talanoa Hufanga was ultimately the man in coverage.

The 49ers’ defense was stellar for most of Saturday’s game. Teams will continue to look for ways to move the ball against the 49ers, and their postseason foes may attempt to follow after Lenoir.

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