By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, most expected the San Francisco 49ers offense to fall apart at the seams.
After two-and-a-half weeks with C.J. Beathard at the helm, though, San Francisco has looked more than competitive offensively, which has given them chances to win both games that Beathard has started.
“Our team fought their asses off, played as hard as they could go and did some really good things,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday. “I think we’ve had every opportunity to win and we didn’t get it done.”
In Weeks 5 and 6, Beathard’s first two starts of the 2018 season, the 49ers have accumulated 848 yards of offense, including 527 yards passing. In this span, Beathard has also thrown for six touchdowns.
“”I thought C.J. did some real good things. C.J., he was one of the reasons that I thought we had a chance to win that game,” Shanahan said. “He’s made some big plays and kept the chains moving a number of times for us.”
Along with Beathard’s competence, the 49ers have also been the beneficiaries of stellar play from starting wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who made his return to game-action on Monday after dealing with a hamstring injury in Week 5, and had played limited snaps in the previous four weeks because of hamstring and quad injuries.
“It was huge,” Shanahan said of Goodwin’s return. “We’d been missing Quise a lot. He’s been battling to get back. That was the first game the true Quise was back. He was able to run the same way he usually does. He played very well for us, not just the plays he made, but he blocked very well and did a lot of good things when he wasn’t getting the ball. That loosens up the coverage for everyone. Quise does a good job and he also helps out other people and helps our run game.”
Catching four passes for 126 yards, Goodwin was able to find the end zone twice against the Packers, marking his best game as a member of the 49ers organization.
“Guys are respecting his speed and you’ve got to respect his speed,” Beathard said. “He can take the tops off of coverages so it definitely helps having him out there.”
The one area of offense that has essentially kept San Francisco from getting over the hump and achieving wins, however, has been the fact that they’ve turned the ball over eight times over the course of the last two games. Unable to force any turnovers of their own, San Francisco has a -8 turnover differential.
Perhaps the most untimely turnover came in the final two minutes against Green Bay, as Beathard threw an interception to Packers cornerback Kevin King while targeting Goodwin deep down field with the game tied at 30.
“Schematically there was [a better option on that play], but we would have had to, it’s tough to say in that situation,” Beathard said. “Obviously if I could do it over again, I would go somewhere else with it.”
As the 49ers look back on their latest performances and look at what went wrong, they can surely find solace in the fact that they played well enough to win both games. That, however, isn’t enough.
“I think being a quarterback, I think my memory is shorter just because in games you’ve got to have a short memory,” Beathard said. “Say you throw a pick, you’ve got to get over it. You throw a touchdown, you’ve got to get over that too.”
With the short week upon them, the 49ers will prepare to take on the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams, who will enter Week 7 as the lone undefeated team remaining in the NFL.
“We need to win and that’s what we’re going to try to do this week,” Beathard said.
The 49ers announced that they have signed defensive lineman Ryan Delaire and tight end Cole Wick to the team’s practice squad. Delaire was promoted to the active roster from the practice squad on Oct. 6, and appeared in one game before being waived on Oct. 15. Wick appeared in five games before being waived on Oct. 16, when the team signed quarterback Tom Savage.
San Francisco opened the practice window for safety Marcell Harris, and moved him to the Injured Reserve/designated for return list. He is eligible to be activated for Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders, and must be activated by Nov. 7 to play this season. He was placed on IR on Sept. 3.
Savage will be practicing with the scout team this week, and started with a team walkthrough on Wednesday, which was a partial recovery day, but also more like a Thursday practice in some respects, given the short week. Savage will not compete for the backup spot once he settles in, however. Nick Mullens, despite having no NFL game experience — compared to Savage’s time as the starter for the Houston Texans — knows Shanahan’s system.
“One guy knows our offense and knows how to line people up and has played in it and has done a lot of good things, our team has confidence in him,” Shanahan said. “Another guy just got here last night and is just trying to learn what the words mean. He has ability. He’s a guy that I’ve always been impressed with his ability. But, he just got here and by no means are we trying to have a number two quarterback competition battle right now. We’re trying to get our starters ready to play, continue to prepare our backups in case something does happen and if that does ever happen, we’ll deal with it then.”