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C.J. Beathard impresses, but 49ers come up short against Chargers

It was a heck of a game, but the 49ers could not close the deal.

The San Francisco 49ers played their first game without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and they came oh so close to getting the upset. C.J. Beathard threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, but a late interception after a huge pass rush prevented the 49ers from getting into the needed field goal range. The Los Angeles Chargers won by a final score of 32-27.

The 49ers jumped out to an early lead, getting a pick six of Philip Rivers on the third play of the game, and adding a Kendrick Bourne touchdown late in the first quarter. The 14-0 lead had most everybody surprised. However, both sides of the ball slowed down in the second quarter. The 49ers led 17-6, but gave up a field goal and a touchdown to go into halftime tied with the Chargers.

The Chargers scored a touchdown and field goal in the third quarter as the 49ers were losing a war of attrition. They lost Joe Staley and Dante Pettis to knee injuries, and Mike McGlinchey was knocked out for a couple series with his own injury. McGlinchey did return, but the team struggled with injuries.

The 49ers did battle back, scoring a touchdown on an 82-yard catch and run score by George Kittle, and then adding a field goal to take a 27-26 lead. The Chargers managed a field goal of their own, and after some back-and-forth, the 49ers got the ball back trailing 29-27. They were moving the ball when the Chargers pass rush got to Beathard and he was picked off by a defensive lineman. The Chargers got a needed first down and was able to take a knee to close the game out.

Beathard was the star of the game for the 49ers. He made some huge plays, and his two interceptions were not really his fault. The first was a drop by Garrett Celek, and the second came when he got bum-rushed by the pass rush. I don’t think we could have asked for much more from Beathard today.

Up next: vs. Arizona Cardinals (0-4)

Arizona came up short in a near upset at home of the Seattle Seahawks and remain winless on the season. The 49ers will be a two or three point favorite in this game, likely one of the few remaining games in which they’ll be favored. But given how C.J. Beathard looked against the Chargers, this is a game they need to win to show some development.