Quarterback Alex Smith entered the game as the NFL's leading passer. After his three-interception performance in the 49ers' coming-back-down-to-earth loss to the New York Giants, Smith's passer rating dropped 12.1 points to 96.6, which ranks seventh in the NFL.
RECAP: Giants 26, 49ers 3
Colin Kaepernick saw nine snaps in the regular course of the game. The 49ers were successful integrating him into the offense against the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. But when his handoff to Frank Gore on a third-and-6 brought an abrupt end to the 49ers' opening drive, it raised some eyebrows. Coach Jim Harbaugh admitted afterward that the 49ers run the risk of impeding the offense by taking the starting quarterback out of the game.Quarterbacks
3-Scott Tolzien: Was inactive (coaches' decision).
7-Colin Kaepernick: He played 16 snaps total. He finished off the game at quarterback for the final seven-play drive. Of the nine snaps he took earlier in the game, the 49ers gained 19 yards on five run plays and 32 yards on four pass attempts. . . He gained 6 yards rushing on two attempts, and completed 4 of 7 pass attempts for 82 yards. He was sacked twice for minus-17 yards. . . Threw a 36-yard rope down the middle to Mario Manningham to set up 52-yard FG attempt right before the half that David Akers missed. . . He entered in third quarter after Alex Smith's 55-yard pass to Randy Moss, and he held the ball for more than five seconds and took an 11-yard sack that contributed to a 49ers' stopped drive.
11-Alex Smith: One week after the best game of his regular-season career, Smith experienced one of his worst games. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 200 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. He made some poor decisions, and he seemed indecisive at times, which contributed to his four sacks. . . The sprain on his middle finger did not appear to be any issue. Instead, Smith made some throws he should not have attempted. . . He allowed CB Prince Amukamara to make a play on the ball, which was intended for Delanie Walker along the left sideline on a wheel route. . . He was indecisive and threw high to Manningham on a slant in the third quarter that FS Antrel Rolle intercepted and returned 20 yards to set up a field goal. . . Did not see Rolle on a pass intended for Michael Crabtree that resulted in Smith's third interception of the game.
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.
On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.
Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.
Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”
Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.
Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.
Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.
Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.
If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.
Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula reportedly might be back in the NFL after a one-year hiatus.
Tomsula, who spent his first eight NFL seasons as a defensive line coach, could be returning to that job with Washington, Carol Maloney of NBC4 reported on Sunday. But according to the Washington Post, a deal is not done between the two sides.
If the deal were to happen Tomsula would be rejoining Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and general manager Scot McCloughan, both of whom he worked with while members of the 49ers organization.
Tomsula was promoted to the head-coaching job over finalist Adam Gase two years ago after the 49ers' “mututal parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in 2015. Chip Kelly was hired to replace Tomsula. Kelly was fired after the 49ers went 2-14, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.