The San Francisco 49ers got starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back this week after he missed two games due to injury, but he lasted just two quarters before head coach Kyle Shanahan opted to send him back to the bench. After the Miami Dolphins racked up 30 points as opposed to the 49ers' seven points in the first half, Garoppolo was benched in favor of C.J. Beathard in the third quarter. Shanahan told the Fox broadcast crew it was "to protect" Garoppolo, who was sacked three times in the first half.
According to ESPN's Nick Wagoner, Shanahan said after the game that he went to Beathard because he believed Garoppolo was still dealing with lingering effects of his ankle injury. With how the game was going and knowing that the 49ers would have to keep the ball in the air for the majority of the second half, Shanahan did not want to keep Garoppolo in the game.
Garoppolo struggled mightily in his return to action, as he completed 7 of 17 passes for 77 yards and two interceptions in the first half. He was inaccurate and also looked uncomfortable in the pocket, as the offense struggled to move the ball. While there's no doubt that Garoppolo struggled on Sunday afternoon, he wasn't the only reason that the 49ers found themselves quickly facing a double-digit deficit. The defense surprisingly struggled to contain Ryan Fitzpatrick, who passed for 350 yards and three touchdowns.
In the two games Garoppolo has played in this season, he has passed for 390 total yards and four touchdowns. He had yet to throw an interception this season, but as previously mentioned, threw two in the opening half against the Dolphins on Sunday. Beathard took several snaps during the 49ers' Week 4 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles after Nick Mullens struggled, and completed 14 of 19 passes for 138 yards. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers receive a spark with Beathard under center. While Shanahan says that this move was to protect Garoppolo, people will undoubtedly start to wonder about the 49ers' quarterback situation.