Colin Kaepernick Finds Form, Re-Establishes San Francisco 49ers as Super Bowl Contenders

By Greg Sulik
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers badly needed a win to keep pace in the NFC Wild Card race, and they came out and played like the Super Bowl team they were last year, dismantling the Washington Redskins 27-6. This was a rare game in which the run wasn’t working for the 49ers, but the defense completely shut down the Redskins’ offense and Colin Kaepernick played his best game of the season since Week 1.

Kaepernick completed 15/24 passes for 235 yards and 3 TDs, and he looked like the confident, controlled quarterback he was last season. This was only the third time all season that Kaepernick broke 200 yards passing, and it was the first time in his last five games. Kaepernick has been struggling in his second year as a starter, completing just 56.7% of his passes for 2,037 yards, 14 TDs and 7 INTs. However, he found his form when the 49ers needed it most, and they have to be feeling good about themselves heading into the homestretch.

The win broke a mini two game losing streak for the 49ers, who are still hanging on to the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC. They still have one game remaining against each of their NFC West rivals, and those contests will have a huge impact on what is a very close playoff race. However, the Niners possess the NFL’s 6th ranked rushing attack, 6th ranked total defense and 4th ranked scoring defense. If Kaepernick can continue this strong play and round out their offense, the 49ers will once again be Super Bowl contenders.

The Niners are hoping that Michael Crabtree will return next week and take some of the pressure of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, who between them have accounted for 57% of the 49ers’ receptions, 66% of their yards and all 14 of their touchdowns. Adding another threat to the passing attack will make Kaepernick a better quarterback, as he and Crabtree has great chemistry last season.

It needs to be said that the Redskins rank 26th in the NFL in pass defense, so this could be a one game fluke rather than the end of Kaepernick’s struggles. However, this game should give him the confidence he needs heading into big divisional games over the next two weeks, and the return of Crabtree will make things even better. If Kaepernick can continue to play at this level then the 49ers are one of the best teams in the league, and they are on the short list of Super Bowl contenders.

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