PHILADELPHIA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8 on Sunday:
1. INJURIES PILE UP
Free safety Jimmie Ward is likely out for the remainder of the season with a fractured forearm. And left tackle Joe Staley was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation of an injury to the orbital bone after leaving the game with an eye injury.
First-round draft pick Solomon Thomas sustained a knee injury. The initial diagnosis was an injury to his medial-collateral, which is good news. The injury could keep him out of action, but it is not likely to end his rookie season.
The 49ers were not a deep team to begin the season. It was going to be difficult for them to win games at full strength. Now, the 49ers enter their two most winnable games – at home against Arizona and the New York Giants – with a patchwork team on both sides of the ball.
“It’s just the cards we were dealt,” 49ers receiver Pierre Garçon said. “We can’t use it as an excuse. We just have to keep playing, regardless of who’s in there.”
Right tackle Trent Brown was out with a concussion. Backup Garry Gilliam sustained a knee injury. The 49ers ended up with rookie Erik Magnuson at right tackle and veteran guard Zane Beadles at left tackle.
The losses are one thing. The injuries are something else. Coach Kyle Shanahan has a difficult task ahead of him to attempt to keep things together for the second half of the season.
The 2017 edition of the 49ers on Sunday became the first club in franchise history to open the season with eight consecutive losses.
2. BEATHARD HAD LITTLE CHANCE
It would have been plenty difficult for rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard to succeed if the 49ers were at full strength. But combine the injuries to the offensive line and going up against the best team in the league, and Beathard had no chance at all.
“C.J. was battling,” Shanahan said. “He was in some tough situations. By no means was he perfect and there were some plays he missed, but that was a tough game to him in. He never shied away from anything and played extremely tough. But we just have to work on getting better – both him and everyone around him.”
Beathard was under constant pressure. He was sacked four times for 23 yards. The Eagles recorded 12 hits on Beathard, who scrambled six times for 40 yards rushing to lead the 49ers’ non-existent ground game.
Beathard and running back Carlos Hyde had particular difficulty hooking up. Beathard targeted Hyde on nine pass attempts. A couple of his tosses were behind Hyde, who failed to hold onto the ball. Hyde ended up with four receptions for 22 yards on what should have been high-percentage throws.
3. CHANGING FACE OF THE DEFENSE
The 49ers’ defense played about as well as anyone could have hoped on Sunday.
The Eagles managed just 304 yards of total offense, and quarterback Carson Wentz did not completely dice up a 49ers’ secondary that featured some new faces in key roles.
Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon found out on Tuesday that he would be starting in place of Rashard Robinson. Witherspoon was upbeat after the game, pointing to plays both good and bad from which he can learn and continue to grow.
Witherspoon recorded his first career interception in the second half. But on the next play, he said he misjudged Carson Wentz’s deep pass and gave up a 53-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery.
“I think he did well,” Shanahan said of Witherspoon. “I thought he competed. I know he gave up that go-route, which obviously wasn’t a good play. But he had a big turning point in that game and gave us a chance with that interception.”
Rookie safety Adrian Colbert, a seventh-round draft pick, played most of the game after Ward sustained his injury. The 49ers decided on Colbert over re-inserting Eric Reid at safety. Reid moved full-time to linebacker last week.