C.J. Beathard has had some tough, ugly games this season in his introduction to pro football. He's been sacked, hit repeatedly and committed crucial turnovers.
On Sunday, however, the rookie quarterback from Iowa finally had a performance worth celebrating as the 49ers beat the Giants 31-21 to get their first victory of the 2017 season and give head coach Kyle Shanahan his first victory as a head coach after an 0-9 start.
Beathard threw for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead a balanced offensive attack that had its way with the Giants – who fall to 1-8 – at Levi’s Stadium.
Beathard, Shanahan and the entire 49ers roster now goes into the team’s bye week on a high note, a peak after struggling through a two-month valley of losses and injuries.
The Niners scored first on Robbie Gould’s 43-yard field goal in the first quarter, then fell behind 6-3. That changed when Beathard connected with speedy wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on an 83-yard TD play to give San Francsico a 10-6 lead. The teams traded TDs the rest of the second quarter, with the 49ers getting a TD on Garrett Celek’s 47-yard reception play, to go in at the half, 17-13.
After a scoreless third period, the 49ers then put the game away with Beathard’s 11-yard TD run and rookie running back Matt Breida’s 33-yard scoring run.
The 49ers yielded a touchdown to the Giants with just over a minute left to close the gap, but then San Francisco covered an onside kick and ran out the clock to collect victory No. 1 of this season.
Beathard finished 19-of-25 passing for 288 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Carlos Hyde (98 yards) and Breida (55) led a strong running game that produced 186 yards.
On defense, rookie linebacker Reuben Foster led the Niners by being in on 10 tackles, including one for loss. Defensive lineman Ronald Blair had two sacks and a tackle for loss.
The 49ers will try to keep things rolling after their bye, when they host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Nov. 26.