LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — With Robert Griffin III struggling to a 1-for-6 start with an interception, Colin Kaepernick emerged from his own slow beginning and connected with Anquan Boldin for a 19-yard touchdown pass to help the San Francisco 49ers take a 10-6 halftime lead over the Washington Redskins on a chilly Monday night.
After a week chock-full of even-greater-than-usual scrutiny for Redskins quarterback Griffin, his first four passes fell incomplete, his fifth was caught for a 1-yard loss, and his sixth was picked off by safety Donte Whitner on the last play of the opening quarter.
Whitner intercepted it at the San Francisco 35 and returned it to the 42. The 49ers then drove to Phil Dawson's 29-yard field goal that made it 10-0 with 12:09 left in the second quarter.
That's when Griffin and the Redskins finally put together a couple of sustained drives — and finally got on the scoreboard.
A 13-play possession, followed by an 11-play possession, resulted in field goals by Kai Forbath.
The first came from 36 yards with 6:43 left in the second quarter, and the other was from 35 yards on the last play of the half after some scrambling to get the kicking unit on the field with no timeouts left.
After opening 1 for 6, Griffin went 9 for 11 for 85 yards in the second quarter.
Kaepernick was 6 for 10 for 118 yards and the TD in the first half. He was sacked once on each of San Francisco's first two possessions, which both ended with punts. But the Niners' third drive went 62 yards over seven plays for a score.
The final two plays were Kaepernick-to-Boldin, first for 24 yards, then for 19 to make it 7-0 with 3:19 left in the first quarter. Cornerback Josh Wilson was beaten on both.
Both teams entered the night having lost their previous two games, with San Francisco at 6-4, and Washington at 3-7.
About a half-hour before kickoff, the temperature was 35 degrees and the wind was at 15 mph, and neither offense looked great early.
Both defenses would occasionally put eight or nine defenders in the box, essentially daring these two QBs to throw.
Washington's first three possessions were three-and-outs, with everyone watching how Griffin would fare after several days of focus on the reigning NFL Rookie of the Year.
His willingness to take his fair share of blame publicly was a major topic of conversation, as was his relationship with coach Mike Shanahan and Shanahan's son, offensive coordinator Kyle.
Perhaps the most surreal moment of all came during a midweek news conference, when — prompted largely by comments from receiver Santana Moss — Griffin found himself discussing the merits of proper pronoun usage, saying: "Maybe I can say 'I,' 'me' a whole lot more, but other people can take that the wrong way, too."
The elder Shanahan's job stability also has been a popular issue this week, because the Redskins could be on their way to a third last-place finish in his four years. He has one season remaining on a $35 million, five-year contract.
For the 49ers, meanwhile, the offense's inability to score enough lately has been a focus of concern, and they did little to set that aside over the first two quarters Monday.
The Redskins were without rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who was out with a concussion, taking away one of Griffin's preferred targets: Reed's 45 catches for 499 yards both rank second on the Redskins. Also missing for Washington was wideout Leonard Hankerson, done for the season with a left knee injury.
With Hankerson out, Joshua Morgan started Monday. He was inactive last weekend, a significant demotion for a player who signed a big free agent deal last year. Fullback Darrel Young also was out injured for the Redskins.
For the 49ers, Adam Snyder started at left guard for the injured Mike Iupati, using a juggled offensive line for the first time since the 2011 season.
San Francisco used the same five starting offensive linemen for the previous 29 games.
Iupati sprained a ligament in his left knee a week ago. It's the only start he's missed since entering the NFL in 2010.
The 49ers' defense also was without cornerback Tarell Brown, inactive with a rib injury.
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