An ineffective Brian Hoyer was pulled from Sunday’s game in the second quarter in favor of rookie C.J. Beathard, who made his first-ever NFL throws before halftime and led the 49ers on a touchdown drive.
Hoyer has struggled at times this season and had completed just four of 11 attempts for 34 yards when Beathard began warming up. The 49ers have been terrible on third downs this season and Sunday was more of the same. San Francisco converted 1-5 attempts under Hoyer with three passes falling well short of the first-down marker.
Beathard had entered the game briefly in Week 4, handing the ball off on his only snap. His first snap against Washington was a 13-yard completion to tight end Garrett Celek. He delivered a nicely thrown ball on the sideline on third down of his first drive, but the pass was dropped by college teammate and fellow rookie George Kittle.
The former Iowa players connected on the next drive for 31 yards, a gain that brought the 49ers deep into Washington territory for the first time. A short pass to Pierre Garcon -- plus an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Washington -- gave the 49ers a first-and-goal situation and another Beathard-to-Kittle pass put the ball on the 1-yard line.
San Francisco inserted its jumbo package and Carlos Hyde followed left guard Laken Tomlinson into the end zone for the team’s only score.
A third-round pick, Beathard finished the half 6-14 for 89 yards with two drops, both of them by Kittle.
The 49ers signed Hoyer in the offseason because of his familiarity with Kyle Shanahan for whom he played with the Cleveland Browns in 2014. The 49ers have gone winless with Hoyer running the offense and his 75.8 passer rating entering the game ranked 29th.