Hallelujah. The 49ers have finally won a game, defeating the New York Giants 31-21 in Santa Clara, behind a strong performance by C.J. Beathard and the offense.
The 49ers offense was firing on all cylinders in their win on Sunday, torching the Giants defense for 476 yards. The offensive line, welcoming back Joe Staley, played its best game as a unit by far, keeping Beathard from being sacked and limiting the amount of QB hits to 2, and opening holes for a run game that produced 186 yards on the ground.
In what appears to be his final start, C.J. Beathard put together the best game of his young career. Completing 76 percent of his passes for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns, Beathard looked sharp, decisive, and most importantly, confident. Letting it rip all over the field, Beathard found success throwing to every level and limited his misfires. His lone turnover was an interception to Olivier Vernon on a screen pass, which was equal parts an amazing effort by Vernon and poor throw by Beathard. Beathard also added 15 yards and another score on the ground, continuing to showcase his athleticism.
The Giants had their hands full all game with the 49ers dominating offensive line and trying to stop Beathard’s aerial attack, and that allowed the ground game to explode for 186 yards on 5.6 yards per carry. The duo of Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida combined for 153 yards and a touchdown to go along with Beathard’s aforementioned rushing touchdown. The success of the 49ers rushing attack rounded out an all-around superb showing from all phases of the offense, and showed the potential the offensive unit has when the pieces all come together and they execute Shanahan’s gameplan.
Defensively, the 49ers weren’t a dominating force, but they did enough to secure the victory. Allowing 21 points and 374 total yards to a Giants offense that ranks among the league’s worst in those categories doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in a hot-and-cold unit, but they did their part in the victory. The defense forced a fumble deep inside SF territory that kept the Giants from putting points on the board, forced field goal attempts rather than allowing TDs, and won the battle upfront (3 sacks, 5 QB hits, 4 TFLs). The 49ers young secondary is going to experience growing pains (Eli completed 78% of his passes for 273 yards and a TD), but limiting the damage will be key for the unit going forward.
Choosing C.J. Beathard for this honor was an easy decision. The culmination of everything stated above, his poise, accuracy, and overall performance, made him the game changing force for the 49ers offense. Of course, praise needs to be given to the offensive line for finally keeping Beathard clean in the pocket, but Beathard balled out in what is probably his last game as a starter.
K’Waun Williams had trouble keeping Sterling Shepard in check. Williams was targeted on a lot of Shepard’s big gains en route to a 142-yard performance for the second year WR from Oklahoma. Williams has not had a good year (ranked 115th by PFF), but the 49ers liked him enough to sign him to a 3-year extension in September. In his defense, this was his first game back from a quadriceps injury, and Sterling Shepard is tough to cover, even when healthy.
Play of the game
There were a lot of plays to pick from here, and I really considered putting Breida’s touchdown that iced the game here, but this deep ball to Goodwin was too nice. It seems that long TD passes to Goodwin are quickly becoming a norm for the 49ers offense. Torching a cornerback like Janoris Jenkins in that manner is not easy to do, and Beathard hits him with a great throw. Goodwin then trots into the endzone after avoiding Jenkins’ diving tackle attempt. What made this play even more special is the fact that Goodwin played only hours after his infant son passed away.
CJ Beathard + @flashg88dwin…
— NFL (@NFL) November 12, 2017
Hello bye week. After a rough 10 game start, the 49ers finally get their break next week. This week might bring a change at QB, with Adam Schefter reporting that the 49ers are targeting the home game against Seattle, the first game after the bye, as Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start. That means that this week will most likely be used to get Garoppolo game ready to face a Seahawks defense that is, at least, without star CB Richard Sherman. Time to see if Garoppolo is the answer at QB the 49ers have been searching for. Here’s to hopefully better days after the bye week, 49ers fans need some.