San Francisco 49ers

Deep thoughts on 49ers-Seahawks, including Jimmy G’s big week ahead

San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard (3) is tackled for a 7 yard loss by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) in the fourth quarter during the game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday November 26, 2017.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard (3) is tackled for a 7 yard loss by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) in the fourth quarter during the game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday November 26, 2017. The Bee

1. It seems like a natural time to put in Jimmy Garoppolo. When Kyle Shanahan tapped C.J. Beathard to replace Brian Hoyer in Week 6, Shanahan said it wasn't necessarily because Hoyer was playing poorly but because he felt the 49ers needed a spark at that point. You could say the same thing now. It's not that Beathard is struggling. His only turnover came on a perfectly placed pass in which his receiver was stripped of the ball. But outside of the Giants game -- New York currently ranks 31st in defense -- the 49ers have been flat on offense and outside of the Giants game Beathard has been beat up in each of those contests. The upcoming opponent, the Chicago Bears, are bad but their Vic Fangio-led defense has been pretty good. It ranks 13th in total defense and the Bears' 30 sacks are tied for 9th most. Shanahan's decision ultimately will hinge on how prepared he feels Garoppolo is and how well he operates in practice this week. By the time the Bears game rolls around, he will have been with the 49ers for 33 days -- about as long as the duration of a training camp and preseason. That Garoppolo is from Chicago and grew up in a Bears-crazy household adds another layer of intrigue.

2. Eric Reid was the 49ers' best player on Sunday. The team's starting strong safety had an interception on the opening play, led San Francisco with seven tackles and was all over the field. He and running back Carlos Hyde -- the team's best weapon on offense and the one defenses are zeroing in on -- remain the most intriguing soon-to-be free agents on the team. Given Kam Chancellor's injury and fuzzy future, you have to wonder if Seattle would make a play for Reid if he enters the open market. The Seahawks are one of the four other teams -- the Chargers, Falcons and Jaguars are the others -- that use the same defense the 49ers play.

3. Tank Carradine and Solomon Thomas were ok in their first game back from injury. They'll likely be better against the Bears after the layer of rust has been knocked off. Newcomer Sheldon Day looked good and DeForest Buckner was his normal, stalwart self. Sunday's game was another perfect illustration, however, that the 49ers defense is missing a critical piece -- a finisher off the edge. The 49ers can stop the run (Seattle averaged 3 yards a carry) and get pressure on the quarterback. But they have trouble getting him on the ground. Their 20 sacks are tied (with the woeful Giants) for 26th best in the league. Two names to consider in the offseason: Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who is headed for free agency and who was drafted by 49ers executive Martin Mayhew when he was Detroit's general manager, and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, who appears to be the top pass rusher in the coming draft.

4. The 49ers went into the weekend thinking that Trent Brown, who injured his shoulder, would play. He felt like he couldn’t go, forcing undrafted Erik Magnuson to deal with Seahawks sacks leader Michael Bennett throughout the game. Magnuson was up and down. It was a hit by Bennett -- he was flagged for a false start on the play -- with Magnuson in protection that caused Beathard to leave the game. Beathard was hit 13 times total by the Seahawks.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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