Why C.J. Beathard has Earned the Right to Start Against the Seahawks

Niners Live examined the Toughness and Grit of rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard in part one of our series. Now we show you why his body of work over the last four starts has earned him the right to start over Jimmy Garoppolo against the Seattle Seahawks in week 12.


For the next two weeks, we will hear how fast Jimmy Garoppolo has grasped the playbook from Kyle Shanahan as well as how he has been coveted by numerous teams for the past two seasons. We will be constantly reminded of how he was unbeaten in his two starts while filling in for Tom Brady last season as a member of the Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots. Yes, the temptation to let #10 display his talent and lead the San Francisco 49ers to a new era is at a fever pitch; so much so that Shanahan’s own wife is wondering if the home game against Seattle Seahawks will be his first start. But before you grab your new Garoppolo Jersey to wear two weeks from now, hold on while we tell you why C.J. Beathard has earned the right to start in week 12.

Beathard has won the locker room.

Aside from the stats which we will get to in just a moment, a quarterback has to prove to his teammates that he is in for the long haul. Although, when you see your quarterback in the trenches willing to take the punishment, staying in the pocket for that extra second just to make a completion, or running for the first down sticks, that is infectious. Beathard has done that and more in the very few starts he has had this season. Say what you must, but that inspires the team and gets everyone else to play even harder and reach inside more and it’s that type of effort that will help in close games. Something that was not present when Brian Hoyer was the starter. 

Here’s what team leader safety Eric Reid had to say about Beathard recently:

Eric Reid on Beathard: “He stood and took it on the chin. I’ll give him his props for that b/c he got up and did it again, play after play.” Via Eric Branch of the SF Chronicle. And C.J’s response?? Beathard: “I’m not afraid of getting hit. That won’t affect me.” 

Statistics and Experience tell a Different Story

Jimmy Garoppolo has a 2-0 winning record as a starter, has a 67 percent completion ratio, a QBR rating of 106.2, has 5 career touchdown passes with no interceptions and has a 7.3 yards per completion average (per Pro Football Focus). C.J. Beathard has a 1-3 record as a starter, 54.3 completion percentage with 4 touchdown passes, 5 interceptions, and 3 rushing touchdowns. Garoppolo is the better pocket passer and is thus more ideal for Coach Shanahan’s style of offense. However, keep in mind that Garoppolo has not played a single snap in 2017, and his stats come from a team that is regarded as a well-oiled machine, which pretty much meant, he was NOT asked to do much. Two career games can be promising, but it’s not exactly a body of work from which one can make an accurate summation. If you really want to push the envelope, Beathard has thrown more NFL passes in 4 starts (101-186) than Garoppolo has had in his brief 3-year NFL career (63-94). Actually, if we were grading on a single game performance, Beathard’s game against the Giants in which he had a Rating of 123.4, beats Garoppolo’s best of 113.4.

Earn Your Stripes

While studying under Tom Brady does bring recognition, it should not translate into an automatic starting job. Thus, Garoppolo has only been in here two weeks, and while C.J. Beathard hasn’t been absolutely perfect (a rookie quarterback rarely is), he has grown and shown improvement with every start. This offense flows better now and has a rhythm it did not have the first few weeks of the season. He has made it tough on Coach Shanahan to actually bench him in favor of Garoppolo, especially now that the 49ers have entered the win column. Beathard, given what he has to work with, has not done anything to warrant him losing the starter job, and thus, should be given a chance to play against the Seattle Seahawks.

49er updates, interviews and news:

Beathard recaps his play, Quote Roundup by players highlights, and here’s what head coach Kyle Shanahan had to say about Sunday’s performance (via the team’s website).

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author and Staff Writer @NinersLive.net, David Edmondson. Content Creator, EditorSequoia Sims