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November 25, 2013
Halftime: Kaepernick improved but not perfect against Redskins

Colin Kaepernick's up-and-down season had a little bit of both in the first half, and the 49ers lead the Redskins 10-6

One of Kaepernick's issues this season is that he's mainly targeted two players - receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis. Against the Redskins, however, five of the quarterback's first six passes were to Mario Manningham. Manningham entered the game with just 38 receiving yards over the last two games but had 35 yards at the end of the first quarter.

After sputtering on the 49ers' first two drives, Kaepernick hit Manningham with an 11-yard pass on third down on the team's third possession. Then he went to his favorite target, Boldin, on a 24-yard pass that Boldin snatched over the head of the Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson. On the next play, Wilson became tuned around while covering Boldin, and Kaepernick hit the receiver in the corner of the end zone for 19 yards, Boldin's fourth touchdown of the season.

On Washington's ensuing drive, they seemed to get into a rhythm when Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris ran for consecutive first downs. But while tracking favorite receiver Pierre Garcon, Griffin didn't see safety Donte Whitner, who had an easy interception.

Kaepernick immediately capitalized with a 40-yard pass to Vernon Davis to the Washington. Three plays later Phil Dawson kicked a 29-yard field goal, the 19th straight takeaway the 49ers have converted into points. San Francisco leads the league in points off of takeaways with 105. Seattle is second with 88 points off of takeaways.

Kaepernick and the 49ers offense, however, have been unable to sustain a rhythm. And he nearly threw his own bad interception on third down at midfield, but the pass to Boldin was dropped by linebacker Perry Riley, Jr. Kaepernick is 6-10 for 118 yards and a 134.6 passer rating.
After two straight losses in which his longest throw was 17 yards, he's thrown passes of 19, 24 and 40 yards already.

The 49ers defense has given up a pair of field goals, the second coming at the end of a 62-yard Redskins drive to end the first half. Former 49er Josh Morgan leads all receivers with five catches for 45 yards while running back Alfred Morris has 11 carries for 40 yards. The Redskins entered the game with the league's top rushing attack.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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