Former Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick who went 1-4 as a starter last season, will be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers moving forward after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending injury.
An MRI confirmed Garoppolo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Sunday, the team announced Monday.
Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters following Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that the team feared Garoppolo had torn his ACL.
Garoppolo was carted to the locker room after his left knee buckled on a third-and-20 scramble with the 49ers down 14 late in the fourth quarter. He could have stepped out of bounds but instead cut upfield, planting his left leg just before taking a big hit from Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson.
Garoppolo was 20 of 30 for 251 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs when he went down. He also rushed three times for 23 yards. He finishes the 2018 season 53 of 89 for 718 yards, five touchdowns and three picks.
The 49ers made Garoppolo the highest-paid player in the NFL, at the time, when they signed him to a five-year, $137.5 million deal during the offseason. The contract included $74.1 million guaranteed.
In 26 career games (10 starts) with the 49ers and New England Patriots, Garoppolo has thrown for 2,968 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. This is the second time he’ll miss games due to injury — he sprained the AC joint in his shoulder in his second career start in 2016 and missed two games.
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Beathard completed 123 of 224 passes (54.9 percent) last season for 1,430 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.
Beathard led Iowa to a 20-7 record in two seasons as a starter, including a 12-0 regular season, Big Ten West Divsiion title and Rose Bowl appearance in 2015.
As a junior, he completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,809 yards and 17 TDs with five interceptions. In 2017, his numbers dipped to 55.6 percent, 1,929 yards, 17 TDs and 10 interceptions. Beathard’s pass efficiency fell from 139.52 to 122.32.
The 49ers (1-2) visit the Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) this Sunday at 3:25 p.m. They make one more trip to the Midwest for a regular-season game this year, Oct. 15 at Green Bay for Monday Night Football.