KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Jim Harbaugh gave me a quizzical look when I suggested during an interview this week that Colin Kaepernick was suffering from growing pains. He assured me the Kapper was the present, the future and on target to take the 49ers to the next level. I hate when he’s right.

Colin Kaepernick silenced his critics Monday night, and I was one. He was 15-24, 235 yards, three touchdowns, 0 interceptions and a career-high quarterback rating of 134.6. Jim Harbaugh praised him after the game after defending his quarterback during the week.

Is this the Kaepernick we can expect to see from here on out? Michael Crabtree will play next week and Kaepernick will, for the first time all season, have his full arsenal of weapons. But be careful to read too much into today’s performance.

The Redskins came out with one thing in mind. Stop Frank Gore and make Colin Kaepernick beat you. And he did.

But Washington stuffed the box with sometimes eight players. Consequently, Frank Gore was held to 31 yards on 13 carries with a long run of eight yards. That opened up the field for Kaepernick to find man-to-man coverage, especially against cornerback Josh Wilson who led the Redskins with eight tackles.

Not a good thing when your cornerback leads the team in tackles. Kaepernick picked on Wilson all night with Boldin, Davis, and Manningham combining for 13 receptions.

I also noticed that the 49ers ran less of the so-called 22 offense (2 tight ends, 2 running backs) and more of the 21. This would suggest a stronger emphasis on the pass. But again, the 49ers took what Washington was offering and did an excellent job.

Furthermore, the 49ers were just 3-for-13 on third down conversions. So while it was clearly a step in the right direction and an extremely strong game for Kaepernick, the true barometer of Colin’s progress will come later when the 49ers face a better defense.

The resurgent St. Louis Rams will take a long hard look at this game to decipher what, exactly, is the best defensive game plan against the 49ers? Stuff the box and let Kaepernick beat you, or play nickel and let Gore handle the load?

On the flipside, Robert Griffin III had another miserable night. What you essentially have here are two read-option quarterbacks that are transitioning into more traditional ones.

Griffin is having little success and his future, as with that of Mike Shanahan, could be in question if the disastrous results continue. Griffin was 17-27, 127 yards, 1 interception and a rating of 58.7. His approval rating has plummeted faster than Obama’s.

So I’ll take Kaepernick and you can have RG3. Just make sure the 49er defense comes with it.

See you on TV.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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