Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard may have just shaken up the 49ers depth chart, after leading San Francisco late game comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Friday night.
After stepping into the game to begin the third quarter, the first year signal caller made his presence felt by throwing for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help the 49ers notch their first win of the 2017 preseason downing the host Chiefs, 27-17.
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Before Beathard’s entrance, the 49ers offense moved the ball with relative ease but couldn’t seem to reach paydirt. In three trips to the red zone, San Francisco was forced to kick three field goals.
Two of those trips inside of the Chiefs 20-yard line were led by second-string quarterback Matt Barkley. The five-year veteran threw for 168 yards on 10-for-17 attempts.
The former Chicago Bear seemed to have good chemistry with roster hopeful Aldrick Robinson, even hooking up for a 63-yard gain up the middle of the field. Despite the success moving the chains, Barkley was unable to find the end zone and was forced into fourth-down field goals.
Coming out of the locker room, Beathard saw his first playing time, but the 49ers offense faced the same struggles as the in the first half.
A three-and-out series forced the fourth punt from San Francisco and was subsequently blocked. Kansas City was able to recover on the San Francisco 8-yard line and punch the ball into the end zone for their second touch down of the game, increasing their advantage to 17-9.
The very next series, Beathard began to find his rhythm and his window to step ahead of Barkley on the depth chart. Marching down the field, the former Iowa Hawkeye connected with rookie receiver Kendrick Bourne for a 46-yard touchdown strike, San Francisco’s first of the night.
Still trailing 17-15 after the score, San Francisco opted to go for a two-point conversion. The ensuing play was a fade route ran by Bourne to the right corner of the end zone which Beathard floated in with ease to tie the game at 17-17 with 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
But Beathard wasn’t finished with the game on the line.
After the San Francisco defense forced a fumble, Beathard got the ball back in his hot hands. Delivering another first for the night, Beathard was able to score on a red-zone appearance by connecting with full back Tyler McCloskey on a bootleg roll out.
The three-yard touchdown gave the lead to the 49ers as they forced themselves ahead of the Chiefs, 24-17.
Another field goal with three minutes to go in the game extended their lead by three. By a final tally, the Niners accumulated 434 total yards including 246 through the air. When all was said and done, the 49ers emerged from Kansas City with their first win of the 2-17 preseason.
While a win is always welcomed, the production from the rookie Beathard may be even nicer to see. And although the rookie’s big night won’t win him the starting job, it may just make a case for his ascension to second on the depth chart behind Brian Hoyer.