Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers travel to Washington needing a win to stay in the playoff picture.
Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers will visit Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins tonight on "Monday Night Football" (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET). That zone-read QB duo burst on the scene with a combined 14-8 record last year, and as first-year starters they led their respective teams to the playoffs.
The story has changed this year, as they are a combined 9-11 headed into this matchup, and each QB is riding a two-game losing streak.
Let’s take a closer look at some stats as to why this is the case.
Are defenses catching on to the zone-read?
When Kaepernick ran on zone-read plays last season, he averaged 10 yards before even being touched by a defender. This season, he’s averaging 3.3 yards overall on zone-reads.
Colin Kaepernick Zone-Read Rushing
Last 2 Seasons (Including Playoffs)
The Redskins ran the zone-read about seven times per game last season, averaging 6.2 yards on those rushes.
This season the Redskins have been running on a zone-read almost an identical amount of the time, but are averaging 5.4 yards per rush.
In the four games before their bye in Week 5, the Redskins ran 15 zone-read plays, almost four per game. In the six games since their bye, they’ve run 58, an average of almost 10 per game.
Turnovers a factor for Redskins
The Redskins turned the ball over on only 8 percent of drives last season, the best percentage in the league. This season, that rate has nearly doubled to 15 percent (25th-worst in the league). Robert Griffin III has been the primary culprit, as he’s turned the ball over twice as often as he did in his rookie year.
Most Points Off Turnovers
The Skins will need to limit turnovers Monday because the 49ers are one of the best in taking advantage of such mistakes this season.
The 49ers have 21 takeaways (seventh in NFL) and lead the league with 98 points off turnovers this season.
Kaepernick misses Crabtree
When targeting WR Michael Crabtree in seven starts last season, Kaepernick threw five touchdowns while completing 67 percent of his passes .
CrabtreeIn 10 starts this season, Kaepernick has thrown three touchdowns while completing 54 percent of his passes when targeting wide receivers.
Crabtree has missed the 2013 season so far because of an Achilles injury, but he is reportedly a game-time decision for Monday night's game.
Consider situations when facing third-and-6 or longer. Kaepernick has the same number of touchdowns to all wide receivers this season in 10 games as he had in seven starts last season JUST to Crabtree (two).
Redskins’ defensive struggles
The Redskins are allowing 31.1 points per game. That's on pace to be the second-highest total in franchise history (36.0 PPG allowed in 1954). Only the Vikings (32.0) and Jaguars (31.8) are allowing more.
However, while the defense has struggled for most of the season, the Redskins are tied with the Chiefs for the league lead with five defensive touchdowns.
Jason McCallum, John Carr, Rob Nelson and Zachary Rodgers contributed to this post.