The 49ers jumped out to an impressive 7-0 lead on their first drive and, as has been their custom this season, promptly fell asleep.
Their next three drives ended either with punts or fumbles, giving a Washington squad that looked inept early on plenty of opportunities to build some momentum. Robert Griffin III and his unit finally did early in the second quarter, running 10 plays before running back Alfred Morris crashed in to tie the game 7-7.
The 49ers answered with a 12-play drive of their own that included an impressive sideline grab by Michael Crabtree on fourth and 2. The play gained 25 yards and set up Phil Dawson's 41-yard field goal as time expired. The 49ers, up 10-7, will get the ball to open the second half.
The 49ers entered the contest without one tight end, Vance McDonald, who injured his hip in practice and was declared inactive for the game. That made Derek Carrier the No. 2 tight end, but he soon left the game with a foot injury.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
That leaves the 49ers with one tight end, Vernon Davis, who has had little impact on the offense since Week 1. Davis has one catch for 12 yards so far. Fullback Bruce Miller, who is playing more due the injuries at tight end, has two catches for 32 yards.
Colin Kaepernick opened the game on roll, hitting Anquan Boldin for 18 yards for a first down and then finding Boldin alone in the near corner of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.
It's been more difficult for the 49ers quarterback since, however.
Washington's defense has taken away his first option, prompting Kaepernick to double clutch and flee the pocket. He's rushed six times for 16 yards and has been sacked once. Still, he has a solid quarterback rating of 131.5.
Griffin, meanwhile, has been sacked twice, once by Aldon Smith, who leads all of the 49ers' outside linebackers with 22 snaps. Ahmad Brooks has played 21 snaps.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.