The San Francisco 49ers lost another heartbreaker on Sunday against Washington. This game didn't go to overtime, but a questionable at best offensive pass interference call moved The 49ers out of field goal range, losing 26-24.
Frustration is starting to set in for fans. Seeing the 49ers lose the last five games by three points and seeing seemingly nothing go the Niners way will soon have fans foaming at the mouth. What positives are there to take from this game? Let's take a look.
3. The Rise of C.J. Beathard
Midway through the 2nd quarter, HC Kyle Shanahan did what a small yet vocal section of fans have wanted since week 1 against the Carolina Panthers: Shanahan benched QB Brian Hoyer and put in C.J. Beathard. Beathard seemed to be the spark the team needed, being down 17-0 when he went in and orchestrated drives that resulted in a TD pads to Aldrick Robinson, as well as getting the offense in the red zone and allowing RB Carlos Hyde to run for two touchdowns.
He was by no means perfect, favoring short and quick passes to negate the lack of talent on the offensive line, but he was the spark the team, and the fans, needed. Now to see how he works as a starter, and to see if he can continue with positive play after a team game plans for him.
2. Satisfactory Solly
DL Solomon Thomas is slowly but surely looking like the 3rd overall pick he was taken at. He finished the game in DC with 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 QB hit. This is the kind of play we wanted to see, and while he had a quiet game all things considered, it's important to remember that he had the late offseason thanks to the annoying rule forbidding players from joining teams until finals are done. He has a lot to improve on, namely finishing plays once he gets into the backfield (which he did often), but if he continues to improve his game, he and DL DeForest Buckner are going to make this line the scariest in the NFL.
If you read my "3 Keys to Beating Washington" article, the first Key I listed was "perseverance". As young of a team that they are, they need to be more mentally prepared for mistakes and unforeseen problems that arise than any other team they face. Losing the heart of a team like LB NaVorro Bowman would destroy the focus and mentality of any team, but to start the game and nearly instantly go down 17-0, then rally back to 26-24? The team should be proud of what they did, because not many teams pull something like that off. Yes it's a loss, and yes that penalty hurt, but they need to be happy with the play thus far.
What positives did you notice? Let us know on twitter and stay tuned to 49ersHUB for more great content!