Seahawks Insider Blog

Beathard or Garoppolo? 49ers choose rookie over Tom Brady’s ex-backup for Sunday vs. Seahawks

The San Francisco 49ers are keeping everyone guessing whether Sunday’s game against the Seahawks will be the Niners debut of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. San Francisco acquired Tom Brady’s former backup in a trade with the New England Patriots three weeks ago.
The San Francisco 49ers are keeping everyone guessing whether Sunday’s game against the Seahawks will be the Niners debut of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. San Francisco acquired Tom Brady’s former backup in a trade with the New England Patriots three weeks ago. AP

The intrigue around the 1-9 San Francisco 49ers was whether Sunday’s game coming off their bye against the Seahawks at Blue Jeans Stadium will be the time they unveil new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

That answer is no.

Coach Kyle Shanahan announced Wednesday rookie C.J. Beathard will start against Seattle this weekend, for the sixth consecutive game.

“It's not just about Jimmy,” Shanahan told us on a conference call with Seattle’s media, “(it's) really what's best for the team right now.

“To make a big change...you are putting a guy in a tough position. He hasn't had the time."

Garoppolo, the former backup to Tom Brady, has yet to take a snap since his trade to the 49ers three-plus weeks ago. Beathard has started the last five games, including San Francisco’s first win in its most recent game two weekends ago over the New York Giants.

Garoppolo just turned 26 this month. He has made two starts in his three-year career, the Patriots’ first two games of the 2016 season when Brady was serving his “Deflategate” suspension from the NFL. Garoppolo won both those starts, completing 42 of 59 passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Sunday appeared to be a prime time to have Garoppolo debut. The Seahawks (6-4) have not in the last six years been more appealing for an opposing quarterback to face than now. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor out of Seattle’s secondary injured, rookie starting right cornerback Shaquill Griffin in the league’s concussion protocol and the Seahawks coming off a shorter week of preparation and recover after their 34-31 home loss to Atlanta Monday night.

SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (1-9)

1:05 p.m. Sunday, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California, Ch. 13

Line: Seahawks by 7.

Against the Seahawks: The 49ers trail the series 23-15 and have lost eight straight. That includes the NFC championship game in January 2014 the Seahawks won to advance to Super Bowl 48. San Francisco has scored more than seven points just once in its last three home games against Seattle: the finale to last regular season, the Seahawks’ 25-23 win on New Year’s Day. The Niners’ last win over Seattle was on Dec. 8, 2013, 19-17 at Candlestick Park. Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining.

What to know: The 49ers are coming off their bye last weekend and their first win, Nov. 12 at home over the New York Giants 31-21. That ended the longest winless start to a season in team history. … This could be the San Francisco debut of Garoppolo, Tom Brady’s former backup the 49ers acquired three weeks ago in a trade with New England. General manager John Lynch told Bay Area media on Tuesday it will be first-year coach Kyle Shanahan’s call he’s yet to make. Lynch praised the progress Garoppolo has made learning Shanahan’s offense—but also raved about the performance the past five games by rookie QB C.J. Beathard. … Beathard stood on the sidelines in September watching Brian Hoyer quarterback the 49ers to a 9-6 lead in the fourth period. Russell Wilson’s crazy, spinning escape and throw to Paul Richardson for a touchdown with 7 minutes left gave Seattle the 12-9 win. Hoyer is now with New England. … Beathard has completed 54.3 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions while going 1-4 as San Francisco’s starter. He’s also been bludgeoned behind a malfunctioning offensive line. He was sacked 16 times in his first four games before staying clean for the first time last weekend in beating the Giants. … He completed 19 of 25 throws against New York, his first time over 58 percent, for 288 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. … Carlos Hyde is 11th in the NFL with 592 yards rushing. Hyde has 197 more yards rushing this season than the four running backs on Seattle’s active roster (Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, J.D. McKissic and Mike Davis) combined. …. Hyde also leads San Francisco in receptions with 42. … The 49ers are 22nd in total offense, 22nd in rushing, 16th in passing and tied for 27th in scoring. … The bigger issues have been on defense. San Francisco 31st against the run and 29th in points allowed. … The Niners have allowed the Rams to score 41 points, the Cowboys to score 40 and the Eagles to score 33. Their best game defensively was at Seattle in September. The 12 points they allowed that day remains their season low. … Arik Armstead, one of their top pass rushers, has gone on injured reserve since Seattle last played the 49ers. … Elvis Dumervil leads them in sacks with 4½.

Quotable: "When you watch C.J. Beathard the other day, it looked like he could be our guy," 49ers GM John Lynch Tuesday while also discussing Garoppolo, per my pal Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee.

gregg.bell@thenewstribune.com @gbellseattle

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