LANDOVER, Md. -- Kyle Shanahan knew that if things started poorly, he'd have to make a move. Sure enough, the Washington Redskins jumped out to an early 17-0 lead against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6. Shanahan opted to bench Pierre Garçon in favor of C.J. Beathard midway through the second quarter.
San Francisco went on to score 17 unanswered points. The rookie quarterback led a touchdown drive before halftime to give the 49ers some life. San Francisco went into the locker room confident that at 17-7, the game was far from over. The 49ers got another three points to open the third quarter. A timely turnover led to Pierre Garçon's second touchdown of the day to tie the game 17-17.
Beathard finished with 245 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception as the 49ers fell short on Sunday, 26-24.
"I thought he came in and competed," Shanahan said postgame. "By no means were things perfect, but the game isn't too big for the guy. He comes in and doesn't hesitate. He's extremely tough. He came in there and gave us a little spark. He made a few off-schedule plays which was nice. We will watch the film. It wasn't perfect, but when you've got a tough guy who hangs in there and competes, I think he'll learn from it."
Beathard's lone touchdown pass came when he escaped pressure, rolled to his right and fired a pass downfield to Aldrick Robinson. It was an impressive throw on the move that resulted in a 45-yard score. The long touchdown capped a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive that lasted just 1:30. It gave the 49ers time to get the ball back following a failed onside kick.
Washington went three-and-out and punted it back to San Francisco with just :52 left in the game. Starting at his own 20-yard line with no timeouts, Beathard marched the 49ers all the way to the Redskins 40-yard line. A costly (and mysterious) pass interference call against Pierre Garçon cost the 49ers a chance at a game-winning field goal.
Even so, Shanahan said he'd seen enough of Beathard to confirm that the rookie will be the 49ers starting quarterback moving forward.
"C.J. had a good week of practice," Shanahan said. "He's put two good weeks together. Going in, I knew if it went like that then I'd have to make the move to give us a chance to win." Beathard will make his first-career start in Week 7 when the 49ers return home to host the Dallas Cowboys.