49ers

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-24 loss to Washington

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-24 loss to Washington

LANDOVER, Md. -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 26-24 loss to Washington in Week 6 on Sunday:

1. Beathard takes over
Rookie C.J. Beathard replaced struggling Brian Hoyer in the second quarter. And, now, there is no reason to go backward. Beathard will get the remainder of the season to show what he can do.

When asked if Beathard showed enough to earn him the job as the permanent starter over Hoyer, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan answered, “Yes, he did.”

Beathard was not perfect. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with one touchdown and one interception. But he brought a whole new attitude to the 49ers. Hoyer’s play did not inspire anybody. Beathard brings a much-needed spark to the 49ers with his competitiveness and toughness.

He helped rally the 49ers from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to pull the 49ers even. Then, he nearly moved the 49ers into field-goal range before a controversial penalty complicated matters in the final minute of the game.

It is much too early to tell whether Beathard can be the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. But we know that Hoyer certainly is not that guy. Any chance of him finding a long-term home with his seventh NFL team in nine seasons is over.

2. A losing streak like none other
The 49ers became the first team in NFL history to lose five consecutive games by three points or less. Just like the four previous weeks, the 49ers had their chances. On Sunday, they again felt as if a bad call went against them at the most inopportune moment.

The 49ers moved the ball to the Washington 40 with :28 remaining. Shanahan said if the 49ers did not gain another yard, he would have sent out kicker Robbie Gould for a 58-yarder to win the game.

Instead, the 49ers never got that chance because veteran wide receiver Pierre Garçon was called for offensive pass interference for what was deemed an illegal pick play. Garçon was apoplectic as he pleaded his case with the officials. Shanahan was not pleased, either.

“I saw a slant route on a flat route and the guy guarding the flat route ran into a guy (Garçon),” Shanahan said.

When asked if a penalty flag for a pick can be thrown against the intended receiver, Shanahan said, “No. Absolutely not.”

The 49ers are finding a way to lose these close games, whether it's because of their league-high number of penalties, dropped passes, problems with the run game and a defense that has not buckled down in key moments.

And while it might be true that one questionable call is not enough to lose a game, the 49ers need that assistance because they have been unable to help themselves in those game-deciding moments over the past five weeks.

3. Moving on from Bowman
The 49ers’ defense got off to a slow start Sunday just two days after the release of four-time All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Washington moved briskly down the field for a game-opening touchdown drive.

But, then, the 49ers defense started to settle in. Reuben Foster was deemed not ready to return from a high ankle sprain. Brock Coyle and Ray-Ray Armstrong started and helped the 49ers limit Washington to 94 rushing yards on 33 attempts for a 2.8 average. But both struggled mightily in pass coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. Combined, they surrendered 11 catches on 12 targets for 213 yards and one TD.

Foster is expected to be back for next week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and the 49ers can really begin the process of working with the players they expect to build around for the future.

A transition also appears to be happening at strong safety, where Jaquiski Tartt has put himself into position to take Eric Reid’s job. Reid was back in uniform after missing three games with a knee injury. But Tartt started, and Reid was used only as a sixth defensive back in passing situations.

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

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Twitter/@49ers

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Bay Area sports teams and your favorite players have plenty to be thankful for this year. 

Check out how the teams and players are celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

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USATSI

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

SANTA CLARA – The two quarterbacks who finish this season with the 49ers are probably going to be the same two quarterbacks the organization carry on their 2018 roster.

So every decision coach Kyle Shanahan makes with C.J. Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo is being made to consider what is best for those two players.

Shanahan made the expected announcement this week that Beathard will make his fifth consecutive start on Sunday when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

Beathard is coming off his best game as a pro. He was a major contributor to the 49ers’ first victory of the season, throwing for 288 yards, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for a score in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. His performance seemingly did enough to earn him another start.

Meanwhile, Garoppolo pulled up to 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 with no prior knowledge of Shanahan’s offensive system. Even as a rookie, Beathard has five more months of experience in the 49ers’ offense than Garoppolo, a four-year professional who made just two starts during his time with the New England Patriots.

“We’ve had C.J. in there for some time,” Shanahan said. “He’s getting more used to it, and I’m getting more used to him. The players are getting more used to him around him. It’s been nice to add a few things each week for him.”

General manager John Lynch reiterated this week he considers Garoppolo the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. Garoppolo is not under contract for next season. If the 49ers are unable to work out a multi-year extension, the club would be expected to designate him as their franchise player to retain him for the 2018 season.

Garoppolo is likely to get some playing time in the final six games of the season, but the 49ers have every reason to take their time in order to give him the best chance at success. On the first three days of the bye week, Garoppolo had a chance to go back to the beginning and learn the basics of the scheme in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and Shanahan.

Shanahan’s scheme is complex with unique verbiage and an abundance of adjustments that are required on any given play. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan took a step backward in his first season in Shanahan's scheme. The next year, Ryan was a runaway MVP winner with a career-high 38 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions.

It took Ryan a full season of experience with Shanahan to fully grasp his responsibilities, so it is unreasonable to believe Garoppolo would be able to do much more than just function if he gets onto the field for extended action.

“Jimmy gets more and more ready each week,” Shanahan said. “Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to be better each week.

“I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year because that’s what guys need. But C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier.”