Watching rookie C.J. Beathard nearly topple the Redskins, it’s hard to imagine that he won’t have a successful career.
Here’s what he did best:
-He threw easily from quick throws, shotgun and 3-, 5- and 7-step drops. He also handled the ball well in play-action.
-He seemed to read defenses well, knowing when to hit Carlos Hyde in the flat and when to go down the field, like when he found Pierre Garcon for a 22-yard reception in the second half.
-His pocket presence was far better than Brian Hoyer’s. He did stay in the pocket too long twice, which led to two sacks, but he also moved to create space, which he did on a 45-yard touchdown toss to Aldrick Robinson in the fourth quarter.
-He read the blitz well, particularly when the Redskins sent six defenders and the 49ers only had five blockers. Beathard recognized that right away and hurled the ball down the left sideline for Robinson. The pass was incomplete, but Beathard avoided a sack.
-He played with a veteran’s savvy, making the Redskins pay for mistakes. When Washington dropped coverage on Robinson for example, Beathard found him for the 45-yard score.
-He threw the ball effectively on the run, in the pocket and in the face of pressure. He can be accurate throwing from his back foot, which he did on a 8-yard pass to tight end George Kittle just before the half.
Given his solid performance, how will the Cowboys defend him? First, they are likely to overload the hash side of the field. While 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan maintains that Beathard has a strong arm, Beathard seemed far more comfortable working the short side of the field, which was usually the left side. Of his 39 attempts, 21 were to his left.
Beathard will need to find receivers and make throws from the far hash. He also need to move more in the pocket to avoid pass rushers David Irving and Demarcus Lawrence.