49ers stick with Beathard to face Seahawks
After finally earning their first win of the season, the San Francisco 49ers will attempt to damage the Seattle Seahawks' playoff aspirations when the teams meet Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Seahawks (6-4) won the first meeting between the teams 12-9 at home in Week 2.
The 49ers (1-9) are coming off a Week 10 win over the New York Giants that propelled San Francisco into its bye week.
The Seahawks lost at home 34-31 to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, and the short week of rest will do nothing for a team that has been ravaged by injuries.
Seattle is already without All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman for the year with an Achilles tear, and star strong safety Kam Chancellor probably won't return this season due to a neck injury.
On Monday, up and coming cornerback Shaquill Griffin left the game after just two plays due to a concussion sustained in a collision with Atlanta running back Tevin Coleman. He will need to clear concussion protocol to play Sunday.
Other injuries across the board for the Seahawks caused the team to waive defensive end Dwight Freeney this week. Freeney, who ranks 17th on the NFL's all-time sack list with 125.5, had three sacks in four games for Seattle this season.
The Seahawks needed Freeney's roster spot to fill in for injuries at running back, offensive line and cornerback.
The one position that has been stable for the Seahawks in 2017 is quarterback. Russell Wilson is playing at an MVP-type level and is looking to bounce back from an up-and-down game against the Falcons.
Wilson trails only New England's Tom Brady (3,146) for passing yards on the year at 2,801. Wilson has thrown for 21 touchdowns against just seven interceptions, and he has a 64.4 completion percentage.
Wilson's top target has been wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who is tied for 10th in the NFL with 56 receptions. Those catches have accounted for 673 yards and four touchdowns. Baldwin also has 10 catches of more than 20 yards on the season.
The odds indicate that Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham could have eight catches against the 49ers. In the past five games, Graham has three, four, five, six and seven catches. In the past six games, Graham has accounted for seven touchdowns after being shut out of the end zone in Seattle's first four games of the season.
The Seahawks' offense face a San Francisco defense that is has been banged up this season. The bye week seems to have healed some of those ills.
Defensive linemen Solomon Thomas and Tank Carradine and defensive end Aaron Lynch all hope to be full-time participants on the practice field this week leading into the Sunday game.
Thomas has missed two games with a sprained knee. Carradine would like to return from a seven-game absence caused by an ankle issue. Lynch has missed four games with a calf strain.
The 49ers need all hands on deck along the defensive front against a Seattle offense that is ninth in the NFL in points scored at 24.2 per game. The Seahawks are seventh in the NFL in yards gained at 367.6 per game, and the Wilson-fueled passing attack is averaging 263.4 yards per game.
While the quarterback position has been stable in Seattle, the signal-caller role is in flux in San Francisco.
Brian Hoyer started the last time the NFC West opponents met. He was later benched in favor of rookie C.J. Beathard. The rookie has been sporadic in his starts but did produce the lone win on the season.
General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan traded for Jimmy Garoppolo before the deadline, and indications out of the Bay Area point to Garoppolo playing sooner than later. However, Shanahan said Wednesday that Beathard would remain under center for the game against the Seahawks.
"We know what we like about Jimmy Garoppolo," Lynch said. "And that's only been strengthened by the time that's he's been here. We're just going to let these things play out. That's in Kyle's hands."
Beathard has completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 1,229 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. In the 31-21 victory over the Giants, he was 19 of 25 for 288 yards with two scoring passes and one interception.
Updated November 23, 2017