Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard took such a pummeling Sunday in the 49ers’ loss to the Cardinals that even opposing coach Bruce Arians felt sorry for him.
Beathard was sacked five times and hit 16 times as San Francisco fell to 0-9.
“I thought we should have had more (sacks),” Arians told a writer for the Cardinals website. “That was a beat-up offensive line. God bless Beathard. He’s tough as nails and stood in there and threw the ball, because we hit him a bunch.”
Beathard, in fact, threw the ball 51 times, completing 24, for 294 yards in the 20-10 loss.
Though the 49ers traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last week and announced he will be the team’s starting quarterback of the future, the 49ers are essentially asking Beathard to be the place holder for now under trying circumstances.
The injury-depleted 49ers have a lackluster supporting cast around the rookie, with top receiver Pierre Garcon out for the season and left tackle Joe Staley, guard Joshua Garnett and right tackle Garry Gilliam out with injuries. Usual starting right tackle Trent Brown is playing out of position in Staley’s place. Reserves Zane Beadles and Laken Tomlinson have struggled while filling in on the offensive line. The result: Beathard is under constant pressure. Plus, no matter what he accomplishes, Beathard knows he’s going to be replaced by Garoppolo.
And yet, Beathard – who’s been sacked 14 times over the past three games and knocked down many more – continues to play hard, drop back and throw the ball.
Said Garoppolo: “He’s a tough dude to get up from that. It’s hard to be a quarterback in this league and take hits like that.”
For the time being, at least, head coach Kyle Shanahan is saying Beathard will continue to start, including this Sunday against the New York Giants at Levi’s Stadium, while Garoppolo learns the offense. It seems likely, too, that the Niners want Staley back before putting their new QB at risk.
Shanahan says Beathard will be ready Sunday.
“He’s OK,” Shanahan told Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “I know he’s sore today. Hopefully he’ll be better by Wednesday, but no serious injuries.”
Kickoff for Sunday’s game against the 1-7 Giants is set for 1:25 p.m.