The San Francisco 49ers go into their first game of 2018 with C.J. Beathard under center. They already are looking to regroup after a lackluster first half of defensive miscues against the Kansas City Chiefs, but now they also need to hope the offense is on the same page. Now that Beathard is the lead signal caller, it’s all the more important that the offense gets in rhythm and quick.
I do think Beathard will surprise a few people. It’s common for rookie quarterbacks to struggle in their first season. Peyton Manning’s rookie season wasn’t anything to write home about and it took Drew Brees three years before he became productive. Beathard isn’t going to become Joe Montana, but given that his offensive line is better, his receiving corps is upgraded and he has matured as a player, round 2 shouldn’t be near as disastrous.
The 49ers will win if
They can keep Philip Rivers off the field. That requires Beathard to lead the offense on extended drives and less three and outs. The 49ers defense has their own set of problems without having to carry the offense, but a lot is going to be asked of them with Beathard coming in. Beathard needs to find open receivers, and not drown in three and outs. By extension, the 49ers can not commit that smorgasboard of penalties that we saw last week. Those will kill drives and Beathard won’t even get a chance if his offense can’t help him.
The 49ers will lose if
The defense can’t tackle. If those tackling woes carry over, it’s all over. Rivers is right up there with Patrick Mahomes as a scary quarterback and if he can get in rhythm throwing the ball to that wounded secondary, there’s not much Beathard can do to respond in a shootout, even if the Chargers defense stinks at the moment. It’s not going to get much easier if the 49ers can’t wrap up and get Rivers off the field. The defense has a lot asked out of it given how decimated by injuries the secondary has. Not only do they need to step the game up from last week, but they need to protect the few scores Beathard is capable of getting. Beathard can’t put up 30 points a game like Jimmy Garoppolo could.