The San Francisco 49ers made a switch from Brian Hoyer to rookie third-round pick C.J. Beathard during their Week 6 game against Washington. It was a switch we all knew was coming eventually — Hoyer was never the long-term answer and the 49ers would naturally at least be curious as to whether or not they had something special in Beathard — but perhaps one that came quicker than expected.
Beathard is raw and is running a very complicated offense with a bad team. He’s going to struggle. Against Washington, he completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Washington sacked him twice.
Hoyer, when he was benched, had completed four of 11 passes for 34 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s looked fairly poor all season, but nothing egregiously terrible. The 49ers saw enough from him through five games and some change, however.
Beathard’s first NFL drive ended with a punt from near midfield. It started out promisingly enough, with a pair of first downs. But things quickly fizzled, primarily due to bad drops. Below, we’re going to take a look at Beathard’s first drive with film.
1st and 10 from SF 20: Matt Breida up the middle to SF 30 for 10 yards (Quinton Dunbar, Montae Nicholson)
This one is simple enough, a real solid run from running back Matt Breida. He takes the ball and benefits from a huge block by Geogre Kittle, who came from the other side to make the block. Good running and good vision from Breida.
1st and 10 from SF 30: C.J. Beathard pass short middle to Garrett Celek for 13 yards (Dunbar, Nicholson)
Beathard attempts his first pass on this drive, and it’s a god one. It’s a timing slant route from Garrett Celek and Beathard never looks at anyone else. Every 49ers player is actually looking over there obviously, which I don’t like, but a good throw.
1st and 10 from SF 43: Beathard incomplete short left to Breida
And here’s where things start to unravel. Beathard goes with the play action and then finds Breida for a decent gain ... except the pass might be slightly underthrown, and Breida isn’t equipped to handle that. Stll, Breida is fairly open and he should have made this catch. There’s a built-in excuse because the pass is low and away, but he has nothing to worry about. It’s a drop.
2nd and 10 from SF 43: Beathard incomplete short right to Aldrick Robinson (D.J. Swearinger)
Beathard maybe takes too long to throw this ball to Robinson, and he’s also ignoring the fact that he has a receiver about to be running free into the secondary. He goes with the underneath option, but the Washington defender is very, very quick to lose and nearly gets the interception. He probably should have had it. Ultimately, I think Beathard played this one wrong. He had plenty of time, too much time to make that throw.
3rd and 10 from SF 43: Beathard incomplete short left to George Kittle
Beathard takes this third down snap from the shotgun and he likes the matchup for Kittle on the deep linebacker. He takes his time, and makes that good throw to the outside. Only Kittle can catch that ball — the defender has no chance. Unfortunately, Kittle doesn’t catch that ball, and the drive ends. It would have been a first down, the third on the drive, for Beathard.