C.J. Beathard has been flung into the starting spotlight in San Francisco for the second straight year. The 49ers confirmed Monday that starter Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City, meaning Beathard has been handed the keys to the offense.
The 2017 third-round pick displaced Brian Hoyer as starter in the middle of last season. Beathard mostly struggled at the helm, much as you’d expect for a rookie quarterback on a team that lost its first nine games. He posted a 69.2 passer rating with four TDs and six interceptions over six games, including five starts.
The highlight of Beathard’s season was a 19-of-25 performance for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 10 victory over the Giants.
Garoppolo, who arrived from New England in a mid-season trade, took over in Week 13 after Beathard was hampered by knee and hip injuries.
Free agent quarterback Tom Savage worked out for San Francisco on Monday, though coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that any quarterback brought in would be to back up Beathard.
“I have got a lot of confidence in C.J.,” Shanahan said. “He came in today, made a hell of a throw on that fourth down. No hesitation. C.J. is a gamer. Everyone in here has a ton of respect for C.J., how he handles himself. He’s a man out there and he’s a very good quarterback and we’re fortunate to have him.”
If Shanahan’s endorsement didn’t convince you, surely linebacker Reuben Foster’s did:
If Garoppolo did in fact suffer a season ending ACL injury, Reuben Foster stated after the game that he has a lot of confidence in C.J. Beathard taking over and described the Iowa QB:
“He’s no Roody-poo.”
(We had to get clarification on that from Foster on the exact meaning)
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) September 23, 2018
One of Beathard’s top targets once again figures to be college teammate George Kittle, who had team-highs of five receptions and 79 yards Sunday against the Chiefs. They’ll match up against a secondary next week that includes a former Hawkeye, with Desmond King and the Chargers playing host to San Francisco next week.
King played well in Sunday’s loss to the Rams, making five tackles — including one for a loss — and recovering a fumble.
Josey Jewell, Broncos
Jewell’s workload expanded in a big way in Week 3 with his snap count ballooning from 13 (Week 2) to 38 on Sunday at Baltimore. He seized the opportunity, recording eight tackles, including one for loss, with a pass defensed. Jewell was selected to Pro Football Focus’s Defensive Team of the Week after grading out at 91.0.
Micah Hyde, Bills
Hyde played a big role in Buffalo’s 27-6 upset of Minnesota — the largest upset according to point spread in the NFL since 1995 — with eight tackles and one pass defensed. He offered a glowing review of rookie teammate Josh Allen’s first NFL road start.
Christian Kirksey, Browns
Kirksey missed his second consecutive game last Thursday due to shoulder and ankle injuries, but is expected to be back in action for Week 4 against Oakland. The short week seemed to be the deciding factor in coach Hue Jackson holding Kirksey back for another game.
Carl Davis, Browns
Davis saw limited action in his second game for Cleveland, playing only four snaps, but weighed in on what has been one of the biggest storylines of the early NFL season thus far.
The game is getting obnoxious. If the QB declares himself as a runner he should be treated like a running. They throwing flags way too much. But they gon get this work regardless.
— Carl Davis (@Trenchwork94) September 25, 2018
Anthony Hitchens, Chiefs
Hitchens had six tackles and a quarterback hit Sunday, helping Kansas City topple San Francisco and remain as one of three unbeaten teams.
Bryan Bulaga, Packers
Some bad news out of Green Bay as Bulaga exited Sunday’s loss to Washington due to a back injury. Mike McCarthy did not seem to offer a post-game update on Bulaga, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career and had just returned from a torn ACL suffered last November.