After starting the NFL calendar year by signing ex-Bear QBs Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan is left to decide between … C.J. Bethard and Jimmy Garoppolo as his starting QB for the team’s Week 13 matchup against Chicago.
We knew the quarterback position would be a focal point when the Bears and 49ers squared off, but who could’ve seen this coming?
Garoppolo, who was often linked as a possible Bears target in the offseason, was acquired by the 49ers for a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft right before the trade deadline earlier this year. He made his debut with 1:07 left in garbage time against the Seattle Seahawks, throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to give San Francisco a highlight in an otherwise lopsided loss. And with Beathard nursing hip and knee injuries, forcing him out of action late in Week 12, Garoppolo could be in line to get his first start with the 49ers this week.
It’s hard not to be impressed with Garoppolo’s late-game touchdown toss, but Shanahan said that won’t be a deciding factor in his decision-making process.
“Those plays have nothing to do with anything,” Shanahan said, via ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner. “That’s just running around and he made a great play, but no, those have no bearing on it at all.”
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports Shanahan wasn’t sure Beathard would be physically ready or able to practice on Wednesday. And if he can’t, Garoppolo will get the start.
An injury riddled Bears defense provides a possible soft landing spot for Garoppolo’s first start with the 49ers. Since returning from the bye week, the Bears have allowed opposing quarterbacks (Brett Hundley, Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz) to throw for 738 yards, 6 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 104.5 quarterback rating. So while the 49ers might not want to put Garoppolo in harm’s way, Sunday’s game in Chicago might be an ideal situation for his first start.