LANDOVER, Md. – If Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III have become the future of football suddenly put on hold, consider Kaepernick the one more likely to get going again.
The young, mobile quarterbacks who have struggled in 2013 after breakout years in 2012 faced off for the first time Monday night, and Kaepernick clearly outperformed his counterpart as the San Francisco 49ers broke a two-game losing streak with a 27-6 win over the Washington Redskins.
Kaepernick completed 15 of 24 passes for 235 yards – the first time in five games he’s topped 200 yards – with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Redskins bottled up Frank Gore (13 carries, 31 yards), essentially daring Kaepernick to throw, and the QB responded by showing some veteran-like chemistry with veteran Anquan Boldin.
“We showed people we can pass the ball,” Gore said. “That’s big for this team.”
Boldin finished with five catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns – a 19-yard grab at the pylon in the first quarter and a 6-yard, wide-open-in-the-end-zone reception in the third.
Vernon Davis also had a touchdown catch for the 49ers (7-4), who are tied for second with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, three games back of Seattle with five to play.
“We knew what type of game this was for us. We’re right in the hunt,” Boldin said. “We’ve got to come out with a win.”
A loss would’ve put the defending NFC champions in trouble in their quest to return to the playoffs, but they’re nowhere as bad off as the Redskins (3-8), who have dropped three straight and sit alone in last place in the NFC East a year after a late-season run that won the division.
Kaepernick and Griffin seemed poised to take the quarterback position to a new dimension last season when they wowed the NFL with their mobility withzone-read and play-action.
But defenses have adjusted, and the two QBs’ stats have tumbled accordingly when they’ve been forced to throw in conventional drop-back situations.
Griffin’s fall has been more precipitous. He threw his 11th interception Monday night, more than twice the number he had all last season.
He completed 17 of 27 passes for 127 yards and was sacked four times, and Washington gained only 190 total yards.
There’s plenty of blame to go around for everyone after the game, including some for Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, whose future is unclear as his team heads for a third last-place finish in his four years in Washington.