LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Now that C.J. Beathard has thrown his first NFL pass and accounted for his first touchdown, the rookie quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers will get a chance to make his first NFL start.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said that Beathard did enough to earn the team’s QB job for next weekend’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Beathard replaced the benched Brian Hoyer in the second quarter of what became a 26-24 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Beathard, a third-round draft pick from Iowa, was 19 of 36 for 245 yards, one touchdown and a final-throw interception, coming up just shy of leading the 49ers (0-6) to their first victory under rookie coach Shanahan.
“Just couldn’t get the job done,” Beathard said.
Nothing new for his club, of course.
The 49ers are the first team in NFL history to lose five consecutive games by three points or fewer. They’re also the first to fall five times in a row by a combined 13 points.
“What’s this going to make us? Is it going to make us worse or is it going to make us better in the long run?” Shanahan said. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind — and I don’t know when it’ll be, but — going through stuff like this will make us better.”
He took out Hoyer with their team trailing 14-0 Sunday. Hoyer was 4 of 11 for 34 yards. During his four drives, San Francisco managed two first downs — and one came via a defensive penalty.
But with Beathard in the game, the 49ers went from down 17-0 to tied at 17. Then, after the Redskins (3-2) pulled ahead 26-17 on a 7-yard TD run by quarterback Kirk Cousins, Beathard’s 45-yard scoring toss to Aldrick Robinson made it a two-point game with about 2 minutes left.
As Beathard tried to drive the 49ers to the go-ahead points, they were headed toward the end zone below a sign in the Redskins’ Ring of Fame honoring their former GM Bobby Beathard. He just happens to be the QB’s grandfather.
“Really cool. You look up and you see Grandpop’s name right on the stadium,” the younger Beathard said. “I got so much from him and I try to be just like him.”
Other things to know about the Redskins’ victory over the 49ers:
A half-dozen San Francisco players took a knee during the national anthem — about half as many 49ers as protested last week, when Vice President Mike Pence then left their game. Safety Eric Reid, who was one of the kneelers both weeks and has been a longtime supporter of former teammate Colin Kaepernick, said he thought miscommunication led to the reduced number of players taking part Sunday. Reid said he initially wanted to have all players stand this week, because of the game’s proximity to the nation’s capital and “to finally put to bed the accusations that we don’t respect the military.” When he then tried to change course and have folks kneel, he wasn’t able to spread the word well enough, Reid explained. He also said it is clear to him that Kaepernick, who is currently unemployed, is “being blackballed. I think all the stats prove that he’s an NFL-worthy quarterback.”
In their next game, the Redskins could be forced to try to stop the Eagles (5-1) and quarterback Carson Wentz with an inexperienced secondary given injuries to top cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, who hurt his left knee in the second half against San Francisco. Wentz was 26 of 39 for 307 yards, two TDs and an interception in Week 1, when Philadelphia beat host Washington 30-17.
Without starter Rob Kelley because of an ankle injury, Redskins third-down back Chris Thompson had a career-high 16 carries while making his first NFL start Sunday. As usual, Thompson was more effective in the passing game (four catches, 105 yards) than running (33 yards). “I’ve been given some 1-on-1 opportunities and just winning those matchups,” said Thompson, who surpassed 100 yards receiving for the second time in his career. “It’s on me to make plays and be a playmaker.”
Led by second-year defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis, Washington had three sacks of Beathard and Hoyer. But when Gruden said he wanted his team to play better, that’s an area he emphasized. “Probably didn’t get as much pressure on the quarterback as I’d like to see, so we have to try to fix that,” Gruden said. The Redskins missed on at least four potential sacks of Wentz in the teams’ season opener.
AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
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