SANTA CLARA -- He might be as tough as a bad cut of meat, as 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh described him Sunday night.But on the menu of NFL quarterbacks, Alex Smith ranks as filet mignon after the first two weeks of the season.Smith had his second strong game in as many games on Sunday, as the 49ers defeated the Detroit Lions 27-19 at Candlestick Park. Smith completed 20 of 31 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw as many as seven catchable passes that his receivers failed to haul in.In two games, Smith has completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 437 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is 115.9, which ranks second behind Atlanta's Matt Ryan, who enters play Monday night against the Denver Broncos with a 136.4 rating.The 49ers have won 16 of their past 20 regular-season games with Smith as the starter. After opening his career with a 16-29 record as a starter, Smith has now reached the .500 mark at 34-34."I thought that he had a great game, putting the ball on the money and getting it into the hands of our guys," Harbaugh said. "I thought he played an excellent game both throwing the football and getting us into the right plays."Smith ended the game with a cut to the bridge of his nose after Lions safety John Wendling hit him with a forearm as he was sliding at the end of a 20-yard scramble in the fourth quarter."But I think that was the story of this game. It was a physical game," Harbaugh said. "Yeah, he's as tough as a 2 steak."
SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch came close Tuesday to announcing which quarterback will start for the 49ers this week.
But the official announcement that rookie C.J. Beathard will start Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks will have to come from coach Kyle Shanahan, he said.
“C.J. (Beathard) played extremely well against the Giants, and that’s likely,” Lynch told reporters at Levi’s Stadium. “But I’ll let Kyle speak to that.”
Lynch reiterated that they want to give newly acquired Jimmy Garoppolo the best chance to succeed. Garoppolo spent part of the 49ers' bye week learning the basics of the offensive system in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. Garoppolo also met one-on-one with Shanahan.
Beathard had his best game as a pro on Nov. 12, before the bye week, as he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 in a trade with the New England Patriots.
Lynch said he feels Garoppolo “is going to be our guy,” so the organization does not feel any urgency to rush him onto the field. In fact, Lynch sounded as if the 49ers are not placing a high priority on spending big on the quarterback position with Garoppolo and Beathard on the team.
"You still study every position, but we feel pretty good about where our quarterback room is,” Lynch said.
A large portion of the 49ers’ fan base might be eager to see Jimmy Garoppolo take the field as the team’s starting quarterback. But four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia believes it is best to stick with C.J. Beathard, for now.
“Because I know how important the mental side of the quarterback position is, I want to make sure Jimmy is fully comfortable and ready to grasp that,” Garcia said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.
“Right now, after this past game, I want to see C.J. respond with another game and start to show some consistency. This will be a great challenge against a West division rival in the Seattle Seahawks.”
Beathard has started four games since taking over for veteran Brian Hoyer. Garoppolo was acquired three weeks ago in a trade with the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick.
Garoppolo spent his first two games with the 49ers as the team’s backup quarterback. The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.
“They know what they like in Jimmy Garoppolo,” said Garcia, now an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. “They’re able to see him every single day in practice, and they know what he brings to the table, as far as how he learns, how he mentally adapts, adjusts and grows within the system. It gives him more time to get confident.
“It’s not an easy system to pick up, especially when you haven’t had anything that really relates to that system in your recent past. Going from New England to San Francisco is like learning an entirely new language.”