Pierre Garcon

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.

Instant Analysis: 49ers fight back, fall yards short of huge comeback vs Rams

Instant Analysis: 49ers fight back, fall yards short of huge comeback vs Rams

BOX SCORE

SANTA CLARA – After feasting on the Los Angeles Rams twice last year, the 49ers found out Thursday night that these Sean McVay Rams are not the same ol’ Rams.

McVay, the 31-year-old head coach who served as quarterbacks under then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for several seasons with Washington, got the better of the first head-to-head matchups against his former mentor. It could be their first of many meetings as NFC West rivals.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff looked like the No. 1 overall draft pick of 2016 -- which he was -- and despite spirited late-fourth-quarter rally, the 49ers made enough critical errors to prevent Shanahan from any chance of his first victory as an NFL head coach.

The Rams took advantage of an early Brian Hoyer mistake and held on for dear life to a 41-39 victory over the 49ers in front of a sparse gathering at Levi’s Stadium.

In the past 22 games entering the game, the 49ers were 3-0 against the Rams and 0-19 against all other opponents. That trend came to a halt, but not before the 49ers' wild comeback attempt made for one of the more interesting Thursday night games in recent memory.

The 49ers made it interesting late. After Hoyer threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to rookie slot receiver Trent Taylor to cut the Rams lead to eight points, 41-33, with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, the 49ers got a quick takeaway on the ensuring kickoff.

Victor Bolden forced a fumble on Rams return man Pharoh Cooper, and Aldrick Robinson made the recovery. Carlos Hyde scored with 2:17 remaining, but Hoyer’s two-point conversion pass intended for Trent Taylor for the tie was broken up and intercepted.

Trailing 41-39, Robbie Gould’s onside kick was recovered by Raheem Mostert. But the 49ers could get no closer. Their last best chance was erased when Taylor's apparent reception at the Rams' 39-yard line was called back on his own penalty for offensive pass interference.

Coming off a poor performance on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, the night could not have started any worse for Hoyer, the 49ers’ starting quarterback.

Hoyer’s first attempt, intended for Marquise Goodwin was off the mark, provided Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman with an easy interception. Robey-Coleman’s 25-yard return set up Todd Gurley’s 3-yard touchdown run.

And just like that, the 49ers trailed 7-0 just 12 seconds into the game.

Hoyer and the 49ers’ offense managed to string together enough plays on the next drive and were aided by a Rams offside penalty on a punt to form a 14-play, 81-yard drive.

Hoyer accounted for the first touchdown in 126 minutes, 47 seconds for the 49ers this season with a 9-yard touchdown run. It was the second running touchdown of Hoyer’s career, and the first since his rookie season of 2009 with the New England Patriots.

Gurley scored three touchdowns in the first half as the Rams built a 24-13 lead. Robbie Gould kicked field goals of 36 and 48 yards for the 49ers. But he also missed an extra point at the beginning of the fourth quarter that proved costly, forcing the 49ers to go for a two-point conversion late in the game for the tie.

Gurley finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 28 rushing attempts. He added a 7-yard touchdown reception.

Goff had a strong showing, completing 22 of 28 passes for 292 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was 145.8.

The 49ers got back into the game in the middle of the third quarter with a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Shanahan rolled the dice on fourth down from the L.A. 1-yard line. Hyde scored to make the score 27-20 with 20 minutes to play.

But the 49ers’ defense was not up to the task, allowing the Rams to convert 8 of 12 (67 percent) on third downs.

Hoyer ended up piecing together a decent game, completing 23 of 37 passes for 332 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Pierre Garçon caught seven passes for 142 yards.

INJURY REPORT
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was ruled out of action for the remainder of the game late in the third quarter due to a neck injury. Juszczyk appeared to be injured during a short-yardage situation that ended up with Hyde scoring on a 1-yard run. He was later diagnosed with a concussion.

The 49ers also lost two other players due to concussions. Safety Jaquiski Tartt and linebacker Brock Coyle both sustained head injuries in the third quarter and were ultimately diagnosed with concussions, the 49ers announced.

Defensive lineman Tank Carradine went down early in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.

The 49ers will return to action on Oct. 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.

THIS ‘N’ THAT
--Running back Carlos Hyde left the game in the first quarter with a hip injury, and was announced as questionable to return. However, he missed just one series before returning to action. Hyde finished with 84 yards and two touchdowns on 25 rushing attempts.

--While Hyde was out, 49ers No. 3 running back Raheem Mostert lost a fumble.

--The 49ers got a takeaway in the second quarter when long-snapper Kyle Nelson ran down the field to recover Tavon Austin’s muffed punt.

--Safety Jimmie Ward can expect a fine of $24,309 for his hit on Robert Woods as a defenseless receiver late in the first half after a 13-yard gain. The unnecessary roughness penalty on Ward moved the ball to the 2-yard line. On the next play, Gurley scored a touchdown to give Los Angeles a 24-13 lead at halftime.

--Shanahan won his first challenge as he threw the red flag to object to a play on which Pierre Garçon was ruled to have caught Hoyer’s pass out of bounds. Instead, Garçon’s remarkable two-foot toe-drag was ruled complete for a 19-yard gain. The play accounted for 34 yards, as Aaron Donald’s late hit on Hoyer was tacked onto the end of the play.

--He later won another challenge in the fourth quarter on a similar play to Marquise Goodwin at the sideline late in the fourth quarter. The play gained 12 yards.

--Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who sat out the game with a high ankle sprain, wore a 49ers custom jersey on the sideline with a nameplate that read, “5AVA6E” (SAVAGE). Foster wears No. 56.

Kyle Shanahan: 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon plays angry

Kyle Shanahan: 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon plays angry

Among the players the 49ers first targeted for their rebuilding project is a wide receiver who has nine years of NFL experience and turns 31 early in training camp.

Coach Kyle Shanahan pinpointed Pierre Garçon to be his top addition at wide receiver. Garçon is coming off the second 1,000-yard season of his career. His career-best output came was his 113-catch, 1,346-yard season in 2014 with Shanahan as Washington's offensive coordinator.

“I’ve always loved Pierre just because of how angry he plays,” Shanahan said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. “He gives you his all. He plays extremely aggressive. The best leaders are the guys who lead by example. Pierre’s not going to say much, but you know he’s going to go out there and fight every single play no matter what the situation is, whether it’s run or pass. That elevates everyone around him.”

Within the first two days of free agency, the 49ers signed Garçon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson. The 49ers had earlier signed slot receiver Jeremy Kerley to an extension, while not pursuing Quinton Patton, who signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets.

“You go into free agency and you study all the free agents who are available and then you stack them and see who can help you team the most,” Shanahan said. “Pierre was at the top of that list. Also knowing him made me feel better about that because you know exactly what you’re getting.

“But it all starts with the tape. It was very encouraging to turn on the tape and watch the level Pierre is still playing at. When you see that on tape and you also know the type the guy. I was very excited to get him.”