QB C.J. Beathard - San Francisco 49ers
|6-2, 219||Born: 11-16-1993||College: Iowa||Drafted: Round 3, pick 2017|
2018 Week 4 vs LAC (23 / 37 / 298 / 2 / 2 pass, 7 / 19 / 0 rush)
More surprising than Beathard performing better than he did last season -- he's not a rookie anymore after all -- was that Kyle Shanahan was comfortable enough with him at quarterback to install a pass-heavy game plan, even with the lead. He did miss several throws along the way, but his teammates did him no favors on most of his particularly negative plays. For instance, neither of his second-half interceptions were his fault. On the first, which came on 1st-and-goal down 23-17, Garrett Celek did his best volleyball setter impression and tipped the ball over to cornerback Trevor Williams for a near pick-six. On Beathard's second interception, left tackle Garry Gilliam, who was in for an injured Joe Staley, didn't pick up a corner blitz; and Alfred Morris didn't chip the blitzer on his way into the flat. The result was Beathard getting hit as he threw the ball and the fluttering semi-fumble comfortably nestling into the awaiting arms of a defensive lineman.
2018 Week 5 vs ARI (34 / 54 / 349 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 7 / 1 rush)
As has been the trend the past couple of weeks, Beathard hung tough in the face of pressure, taking hit after hit but getting up to play the next snap. The difference this week was that Arizona seemingly blitzed on every passing down, so there were more hits to be taken. He was hit before he threw (i.e., sacked) four times and hit as he threw at least four more times, two of which resulted in strip-sack fumble recoveries for the Cardinals. Although he held onto the ball too long several times, Beathard did a nice job of getting the ball out of his hands most of the time, albeit by forcing 100 mile per hour rockets to blanketed receivers less than 10 yards away. This produced several dropped passes, including one by third tight end Cole Wick that should have been any easy touchdown. This may have been the ugliest 60 percent completion rate, 350 yard passing performance you'll ever see.
2018 Week 6 vs GB (16 / 23 / 245 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 21 / 0 rush)
Beathard throwing only 23 passes against Green Bay after throwing 54 against Arizona can be attributed to game script: Against Arizona, the 49ers spent most of the game playing from behind. Against Green Bay, the 49ers spent most of the game playing from ahead. In terms of performance, Beathard continues to show that he's no longer the out-of-his-depth rookie he was last season. He got rid of the ball quickly and threw more often than not to receivers designed to be -- and were -- open. In the fourth quarter, Beathard had a pass where the broadcast angle showed that he overthrew a wide-open George Kittle, who may have scored a touchdown, let alone convert the 3rd-and-4. The coaches' film, however, showed that Clay Matthews' leap at the line of scrimmage forced Beathard to elevate the pass. Beathard's only "real" mistake was the interception that allowed Aaron Rodgers and company to secure a last-second win. Facing a Packers blitz, he threw inside to Marquise Goodwin on a fly route when Marquise Goodwin had beaten coverage to the outside.
2018 Week 7 vs LAR (15 / 27 / 170 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 13 / 0 rush)
This might be hard to believe given his awful stat line, but Beathard's performance wasn't nearly as bad as the box score suggests. Both of his interceptions involved world-class efforts from defenders. The seven sacks (and numerous pressures) he took were due to the Rams' world-class interior defensive line duo and repeated breakdowns in San Francisco's pass protection. (These were likely related, of course.) It also didn't help Beathard that the 49ers' once again couldn't beat man-to-man coverage. Yes, he missed open receivers on a few occasions, but that's to be expected from a backup quarterback. In this game, his teammates were more of a liability than an asset, however.
2018 Week 8 vs ARI (14 / 28 / 190 / 1 / 0 pass, 5 / 9 / 0 rush)
Once again, Beathard was the victim of a defense whose game plan was playing man-to-man coverage behind a ramped-up pass rush. That said, he did have at least two egregious throwing errors. One on occasion, he overthrew Marquise Goodwin on a wide-open, 3rd-and-12 comeback route. On another, he threw behind an open Goodwin on a deep post route. The latter, especially, would have been a touchdown with an accurate pass, as Goodwin's Olympic-level speed got him clear of Patrick Peterson running across the deep middle of the field. All of that said, Beathard's pass protection once again did him no favors.
2017 Week 6 vs WAS (19 / 36 / 245 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 14 / 0 rush)
The narrative during and coming out of this game was that Beathard provided a spark to the 49ers' offense that propelled them to (another) near-victory. And the box score says he threw for 245 yards in two-and-a-half quarters of play. Actually watching the game, however, both of these are overly generous portrayals of his performance. Just on his first drive, Beathard threw low on a dumpoff to Matt Breida and threw a near-interception on a quick out intended for Aldrick Robinson. This latter miscue resulted from a problem that reared its head several times: Holding onto the ball too long. On the Robinson incompletion and most other instances, it was a matter of allowing coverage to reach a once-open receiver or forcing a now-open receiver to reach back for the pass. Otherwise, it was a matter of getting sacked because he didn't pull the trigger on throws to "not wide open, but NFL-caliber open" receivers. Even chalking all of this up to "rookie quarterback who hasn't practiced with the first team offense yet," 177 of Beathard's 245 yards came in the two- or four-minute drill while trailing at the end of both halves (i.e., they can be attributed to defensive indifference), and his lone touchdown pass came courtesy of a blown coverage.
2017 Week 7 vs DAL (22 / 38 / 235 / 0 / 0 pass, 5 / 30 / 1 rush)
Beathard's persistent problem against Dallas was the same as last week against Washington: He held onto the ball too long. Time and time again, he threw behind receivers moving laterally across the field. A handful of these resulted in completions, but his poor timing prevented longer gains. This apparent weakness also played a role in a couple of the sacks he took, including one that resulted in a second-half sack-fumble. (To be fair, his other sack-fumble, which happened in the red zone late in the second quarter, was Joe Staley's fault, not his.) Beathard also threw two passes while in the grasp of a sacking defender, both of which were nearly intercepted.
2017 Week 8 vs PHI (17 / 36 / 167 / 1 / 2 pass, 6 / 40 / 0 rush)
The dreadfulnes of Beathard's performance is actually well represented by his box score stats. To boot, what isn't in the box score has been discussed in these game recaps over the past couple of weeks. In short, there's not much new to say here. Take, for instance, Beathard's two interceptions in the first half, both of which resulted from the same consistent weakness he's shown previously: Throwing the ball late. On the first interception, he threw behind Aldrick Robinson on a quick slant. Robinson did him no favors volleyball-setting the ball into the air, but throwing the ball a tick earlier would have resulted in a sustained drive for the offense, not a turnover at midfield. Similarly, inside the two-minute warning, Beathard was even more tardy on his throw to Pierre Garcon's out route, resulting in an easy pick-six by cornerback Jalen Mills. Although the inclement weather in Philadelphia and the offensive line missing both starting tackles by halftime likely played a factor in his poor performance, Beathard's heretofore slow internal clock did just as much or more to limit San Francisco's offense.
2017 Week 9 vs ARI (24 / 51 / 294 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 16 / 1 rush)
Don't be fooled by Beathard's near-300 yard game. His main weakness, holding onto the ball too long, was on constant display in this absolute stinker of a performance. It would take thousands of words to detail every time he threw late to an open receiver or took an unnecessary big hit due to a delay in pulling the trigger, so here are but a few examples. On at least three outside passes to Marquise Goodwin, Beathard threw the ball after Goodwin had broken off his route rather than anticipating the break. This also happened twice on outside throws to Aldrick Robinson. On a second quarter sack, Beathard had plenty of time and George Kittle about to get wide open on his dig route, but failed to pull the trigger because Kittle wasn't open *yet.* On top of all of the above, Beathard also just made bad throws, the big one being an underthrow by 10 yards on a play in which Robinson had beaten than Patrick Peterson deep down the seam.
2017 Week 10 vs NYG (19 / 25 / 288 / 2 / 1 pass, 5 / 15 / 1 rush)
Although Beathard played better than he had in recent games, the best one can describe his performance was that he efficiently took what was given to him. The Giants defense was constantly out of position, blowing coverages, and missing tackles; all of which made for wide-open throwing windows and long completions. To wit, all three of the touchdowns Beathard accounted for featured one or more blatant errors by the opposition. On his touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin, Goodwin ran by the cornerback, who thought he had safety help over the top; he didn't. Beathard's touchdown pass to Celek was aided by both bad coverage and bad tackling. And finally, Beathard's own rushing touchdown resulted from a red zone scramble in which the entire Giants defense for some reason or another decided to remain in the end zone rather than making an attempt to tackle him.
2017 Week 12 vs SEA (22 / 38 / 201 / 0 / 1 pass, 6 / 21 / 0 rush)
Despite being-shorthanded and performing below their typical lofty standards recently, Seattle was able to stymie the 49ers offense nevertheless by a) zeroing in on Carlos Hyde, and b) not falling for Kyle Shanahan's cornucopia of misdirection play-action passes. Though they did connect on two passes of 20-plus yards, Marquise Goodwin's speed advantage over Seattle's backup cornerbacks was neutralized by applying constant pressure to C.J. Beathard. Though Hyde played 90 percent of snaps, all but a handful of carries saw any daylight and most of his targets were desperation dumpoffs with nowhere to go after the catch. The only other things to know involve San Francisco's offensive personnel. First, although he played only 35 percent of snaps, the situations in which he saw the field make it clear that George Kittle has reclaimed his role as pass-catching tight end from Garrett Celek. Second, although Louis Murphy is the nominal starter opposite Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne plays more often in obvious passing situations. Finally, and perhaps most importantly for craven fantasy purposes, Jimmy Garoppolo replaced an injured Beathard for the final three plays of the game and threw a touchdown pass as time expired.