C.J. Beathard

Garcia: Rookie QB Beathard not the key to turning around 49ers' offense

Garcia: Rookie QB Beathard not the key to turning around 49ers' offense

The most popular player among every fan base of a struggling offensive team is the backup quarterback.

And while there might be a small percentage of 49ers fans who are clamoring for rookie C.J. Beathard to trot off the sideline to replace Brian Hoyer, that does not seem to be a realistic option at this point.

Hoyer has experienced some success during his journeyman career. And he was 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s top choice to join him as his anointed quarterback after spending the 2014 season together with the Cleveland Browns. Hoyer entered the regular season as the unquestioned starter and someone who earned the confidence of his teammates through the entire offseason.

But there is no getting around the facts:

--The 49ers did not score a touchdown in their first two games for the first time in franchise history;
--The 49ers have converted just four of 23 (17.4 percent) of their third-down opportunities.
--Hoyer has thrown for just 292 yards in two games with no touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is an abysmal 60.7.

“I have to play a whole lot better,” Hoyer said following the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. “I’m disappointed with myself.”

Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” the 49ers’ offense has a much better chance to improve with Hoyer – and not the rookie.

“It comes back to your quarterback and decision-making and accuracy,” said Garcia, an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area's 49ers pre- and post-game coverage. “And if you’re not able to establish that, then you better get back to what you have within your team and what’s going to give you a better option. But right now Brian is the best option.

“I don’t think it’s a time where they go with C.J. Beathard. It’s not that time. Brian is the guy that has to battle through these inconsistencies. His play has to step up to another level.”

Instant Analysis: Beathard does his best Steve Young in win over LA

49ers-postgame.jpg
AP

Instant Analysis: Beathard does his best Steve Young in win over LA

BOX SCORE

SANTA CLARA – Very few of the players who will represent the 49ers during the regular season saw action in the exhibition finale on Thursday night.

One player who will definitely be on the regular-season roster is rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who did his best Steve Young impersonation against the Los Angeles Chargers.

No, Beathard did not put on an aerial display, by any stretch. Beathard went the unconventional route with a zig-zagging 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Another rookie generated a big play that’s a little more in his character in the 49ers’ 23-13 victory over the Chargers in front of a sparse, friends-and-family gathering at Levi’s Stadium.

Wide receiver Victor Bolden had a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was Bolden’s second return for a score in three games. On Aug. 19, Boldin scored on a 104-yard kickoff return.

Bolden is making a strong bid to join a group of wide receivers on the 49ers’ roster that figures to include Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick and Trent Taylor.

Bolden is in contention for the final spot among the wide receivers, along with Jeremy Kerley, Aaron Burbridge and Kendrick Bourne.

Beathard appears to be in line for the 49ers’ No. 2 job at quarterback behind starter Brian Hoyer. Beathard completed five of nine pass attempts on Thursday for 31 yards.

Veteran Matt Barkley did not play. Instead, undrafted rookie Nick Mullens replaced Beathard and played the entire second half. It was the first action of the exhibition season for Mullens, who could return to the 49ers’ practice squad.

Because of a first-year role that eliminated the mandated cut to a 75-player roster for the final exhibition game, the 49ers had 88 players from which to choose for the game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

None of the 49ers offensive starters suited up for the game. Eli Harold, who is projected to start at outside linebacker, was the only regular on defense to play. The 49ers wanted to get a little more playing time for Harold, whose emergence led to the 49ers’ decision last week to release Ahmad Brooks.

The goal, as is always the case in the exhibition finale, was to simply get through the game healthy.

Veteran cornerback Asa Jackson made a case to win a roster spot with two interceptions. He appears to be competing against Keith Reaser for a possible fifth cornerback spot.

49ERS WHO DID NOT PLAY
Offense (18): QB Brian Hoyer, QB Matt Barkley, RB Carlos Hyde, FB Kyle Juszczyk, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Pierre Garçon, WR Jeremy Kerley, WR Aldrick Robinson, WR Louis Murphy, WR Aaron Burbridge (hamstring), TE George Kittle, TE Garrett Celek, LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Brandon Fusco, RT Trent Brown, G Joshua Garnett (knee).

Defense (16): DL Tank Carradone, DL Solomon Thomas, DL Earl Mitchell, DL DeForest Buckner, DL Arik Armstead, DL Ronald Blair (thumb), DL Elvis Dumervil, LB NaVorro Bowman, LB Reuben Foster, CB Rashard Robinson, CB Dontae Johnson, CB K’Waun Williams, CB Will Redmond (ankle), FS Jimmie Ward, SS Eric Reid, DB Jaquiski Tartt.

DECISION ON GARNETT LOOMS
General manager John Lynch said prior to the game he would convene a summit involving the 49ers’ athletic trainers, medical staff and Joshua Garnett to plot the team’s next move.

[RELATED: 49ers have decision to make with Garnett, expected to miss time early in the season]

Garnett underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage in his knee early in training camp. Lynch said the 49ers could place him on season-ending injured reserve or retain him past the mandatory cuts to 53 players, then place him on injured reserve, which would make him eligible to return later in the season.

The 49ers on Thursday acquired offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, a 2015 first-round, from the Detroit Lions for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.

Instant Analysis: Starters shine, but 49ers lose in last second vs Vikings

Instant Analysis: Starters shine, but 49ers lose in last second vs Vikings

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS – The 49ers exhibited a facet of their offense on Sunday night in front of a nationally televised audience that had been featured on a regular basis during training camp.

The first team offense under the direction of quarterback Brian Hoyer scored touchdowns on the first two drives to supply the early highlights in a 32-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.

Reserve 49ers running back Raheem Mostert took over in the second half with two touchdowns but the Vikings' reserves scored 15 points in the final six minutes to pull off the win over the 49ers' reserves.

It was the third exhibition game for both teams, and the game in which the starters typically see their most extensive run of the preseason.

Hoyer, who put together a strong summer of play to solidify his standing as the 49ers’ starter, got the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary to bite on a play fake. Then, he delivered a perfect pass to speedster Marquise Goodwin, who got behind cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Andrew Sendejo for a 46-yard touchdown on the 49ers’ opening drive.

On the next possession, running back Carlos Hyde got a step on Vikings safety Harrison Smith on a slant pattern and Hoyer delivered a perfect pass that resulted in 24-yard touchdown.

Hoyer completed his first nine pass attempts of the game, and finished the first half with 12 completions in 17 attempts for 176 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 143.3.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard opened the second half in place of Hoyer. Beathard completed 7 of 13 pass attempts for 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Beathard was not as sharp has he was in the two previous games. But he got some help along the way from Mostert, who took a short pass on a third-and-22, and turned it into an 87-yard touchdown.

Mostert, already one of the 49ers’ core special-teams players, made a strong case for his inclusion on the 53-man roster. He caught two passes for 104 yards and gained 26 yards on four rushing attempts, including a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Veteran Matt Barkley finished the game at quarterback. He completed both of his two pass attempts for 19 yards.

FORCES IN THE MIDDLE
Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster made his presence felt on the first snap of the game, as he stuffed rookie running back Dalvin Cook for a 5-yard loss after a swing pass from quarterback Sam Bradford.

Foster did not stop there, recording a game-high eight tackles in the first half. Neither Foster nor NaVorro Bowman played in the second half.

Bowman, who was replaced when the 49ers went with six defensive backs, was second on the team with four tackles in the first half.

SITTING IT OUT
Starting free safety Jimmie Ward, who was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Wednesday, did not suit up for the game. Ward is returning to action after missing nearly a month with a hamstring injury.

Cornerback Will Redmond (ankle), wide receiver Aaron Burbridge (hamstring) and guard Joshua Garnett (knee) did not suit up.

QUICK SLANTS
--Left tackle Joe Staley was replaced in the first quarter due to a knee injury. The injury did not appear serious, as Staley remained standing on the sideline and did not have much interaction with the team’s medical staff.

--Undrafted rookie Matt Breida was the second running back into the game, seeing spot duty in place of Hyde in the first half. Breida started the second half and put together some nice runs on his way to 29 yards on seven rushing attempts.

--Jaquiski Tartt started at free safety in place of Ward. Undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome started the first two exhibition games at free safety.

--Cornerback Rashard Robinson ran stride-for-stride with Vikings deep threat Stefon Diggs on a long route and broke up Sam Bradford’s pass down the right sideline.

--First-year kicker Nick Rose drilled a 55-yard field goal in the third quarter.

--Rookie slot receiver Trent Taylor caught three passes for 36 yards.

--Veteran pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil recorded a sack on a third-and-10 situation in the first quarter to force a Vikings punt.

--Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was called for 23-yard pass interference penalty when he did not turn around on a pass intended for Michael Floyd.

--Minnesota’s Jerick McKinnon returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Kendrick Bourne had the best chance when he came up empty on a diving tackle attempt, and McKinnon brushed aside Robbie Gould en route to the end zone.