The 49ers’ worst performance of the season Sunday against the Rams isn’t leading to Kyle Shanahan making any drastic changes at quarterback.
The second-year head coach said he has no plans to make the switch to former practice squad member Nick Mullens following Beathard’s three-turnover performance during the 39-10 drubbing from the undefeated Los Angeles Rams.
“Because C.J. is the best quarterback we have in our building,” Shanahan said.
Beathard in four starts since taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown seven interceptions and lost three fumbles, including his two-interception, one-fumble performance against L.A.
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He found himself under pressure throughout the game by the Rams’ talented front, namely star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who had a game-wrecking four sacks while Los Angeles totaled seven, the most of any 49ers opponent this season.
“We put that on us, offensive linemen,” left tackle Joe Staley said. “Our job is protect the quarterback. So, you’re always striving for a clean game and obviously today was not a clean game at all. A lot of credit to (the Rams), but we have a lot of faith in our abilities as well. So that’s not the standard we’re trying to have here.”
Beathard finished with a season-low 170 yards while completing 15 of 27. His 56.1 passer rating was his worst since Oct. 29 of last season when the 49ers were blown out by Philadelphia two days before trading for Garoppolo.
The second-year pro was asked why things weren’t clicking for the 49ers offense that mustered a season-low 228 yards.
“The only thing I can really think of is turnovers,” Beathard said. “We can’t turn it over like that. Didn’t help our defense out. I think they got 24 points off turnovers. Any time you do that, you’re playing from an uphill battle at that point.”
Shanahan put the offensive struggles on the entire team, not just the quarterback. The 49ers lost the turnover battle, 4-0 and are a league low minus-15 in turnover differential.
“It’s not just C.J., it’s everyone,” he said. “The quarterback – when the ball leaves his hands – he’s going to get credit for that turnover, but by no means is it 100 percent on C.J. Of course he’s got to do better. I’ve got to do better and we’ve got to do a lot better around him.”
After receiver Marquise Goodwin made a sizable impact the previous week against the Packers, with two touchdowns and career-best 126 yards, he didn’t make his first reception Sunday until the fourth quarter. Goodwin finished with two catches for 24 yards, while Pierre Garçon and Trent Taylor had one catch apiece for 11 yards combined.
Tight end George Kittle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and running back Raheem Mostert were the only 49ers to make receptions during the first half.
“They didn’t play much man coverage today, especially the way it went in the first half,” Shanahan said. “They were real soft in their coverages and zones, and tried to take away the big play and make us work our way the field and we obviously struggled to do that.”
Kittle and Mostert were San Francisco’s only bright spots on offense. Kittle led the team in receiving for the fifth time out of seven games with five catches for 98 yards. Mostert had 59 yards on seven carries (8.4 average) with a career-high four receptions for 19 yards.
The highlight of Kittle’s day came late in the first half when he dragged cornerback Troy Hill and stiff-armed Marcus Peters before being pushed out of bounds during a 23-yard catch, moments after streaking down the middle of the field for 35-yard gain before the 2-minute warning.
“It’s football. You got to play angry,” Kittle said. “If you don’t play angry, then you’re not playing. It’s easier when you’re angry and you’re having fun. If a guy is going to not throw his body at me and is going to sit there with his chest open, I’m going to put my helmet right through his chest.”
Kittle wound up scoring a touchdown from 9 yards out on a play that had to be reviewed. Initially he was ruled down at the 1-yard line, but officials determined the second-year pro had possession beyond the goal line before his momentum took him back into the field of play.
Breida mulling taking time off – Matt Breida has dealt with shoulder, knee and ankle injuries throughout the season. But the slight running back has managed to play in every game.
“Breida’s done a very good job recovering throughout the week,” Shanahan said. “He’s had very good practices making all the cuts and everything on Fridays and Saturdays.”
He left Sunday’s loss momentarily after his first carry when he aggravated an ankle injury he suffered Week 5 against the Cardinals. Then he fumbled on his first carry when he returned late in the first quarter.
Breida finished with a season-low five carries for five yards and is contemplating taking time off to to avoid continually aggravating the injury.
”I still got to figure that out,” Breida said. “I want to play every down whether I’m hurt or not. So I got to learn, if I’m hurt, take the time needed to get healthy.”
Said Shanahan: “That’s something we’ll have to look into hard.”
Sherman’s misses second game this season – The 49ers announced 90 minutes the game that cornerback Richard Sherman would miss his second contest this season with a nagging left calf injury.
It forced San Francisco to play without its starting cornerbacks from last week in Green Bay as Jimmie Ward was out with a hamstring injury sustained in the fourth quarter of that Monday night loss.
“I just know it was hurting him Thursday, so we had to take him out and he didn’t go on Friday,” Shanahan said. “We tried to look into it Saturday and it was still bothering him, so we had to shut him down. We’ll see tomorrow how he feels.”
The 49ers allowed 202 yards passing to Rams quarterback Jared Goff with Greg Mabin and Ahkello Witherspoon starting at cornerback. Goff tossed a pair of touchdowns; one to receiver Brandon Cooks and another to running back Todd Gurley. Wideout Robert Woods led the Rams with 78 yards on five catches.