When the 49ers take on the Colts Sunday in Indianapolis, Brian Hoyer will still be at quarterback.
Though Hoyer hasn’t played very well in three of four games – and San Francisco is off to an 0-4 start – head coach Kyle Shanahan is sticking with him. He believes Hoyer still gives the 49ers their best shot at winning Sunday. He’s not ready to give the job to rookie C.J. Beathard.
“I know we’re 0-4 right now, but when you lose a total of three games by eight points – I know we very easily could be 3-1 – and you don’t want to make drastic changes just for one reason, as there’s a lot of things that go into losing games,” Shanahan told reporters this week. “It’s never just one guy, and I try to put all that into thought.”
Certainly, Hoyer’s receiving corps hasn’t helped him. Though Hoyer’s numbers aren’t good – he’s completing just 58 percent of his throws, has a passer rating of 67.9 and has four interceptions vs. two touchdown passes – his shortcomings have been amplified by mistakes by others.
In fact, the 49ers lead the league in dropped passes, with 12. As Chris Biderman of Niners Wire noted, Marquise Goodwin has had two key drops that could have turned around losses to Carolina and Seattle. Tight end Logan Paulsen had a drop at Arizona’s 10-yard line last week. Rookie tight end George Kittle dropped a pass in the end zone against the Rams.
On Sunday in Indianapolis, the Colts subpar pass defense may give Hoyer and the 49ers offense a chance to gain some confidence and momentum. The Colts rank 29th in the NFL in pass defense, surrendering 283.5 yards per game.
Shanahan says he’s looking at the team as a whole, and that tells him to stick with Hoyer right now, even if Hoyer has played below the level he’s played for most of his pro career.
“I don’t look at it just as it’s Brian versus C.J. right now,” Shanahan said, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “I look at it as what’s best for our team right now. And if I did feel that was the best thing for our team at this time, I wouldn’t hesitate at all. That would be an easy decision for me if I thought it was the best thing for our team right now.
“So I look into the big picture of where we’re at right now, four games into it, where our offense is, our defense is and really just our whole building, and I don’t feel it is the best thing for our team right now.”
Sunday’s kickoff between the 49ers and 1-3 Colts is set for 10 a.m. in the Bay Area. Oddsmakers have made the Colts 1½-point favorites.