SF 49ers winners, losers from shocking win over Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard (3) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard (3) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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C.J. Beathard, SF 49ers
Quarterback C.J. Beathard #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers somehow managed to pull off a 20-12 win over the Cardinals in Week 16, and Niner Noise reveals the biggest winners and losers.

It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, but it did. The SF 49ers somehow managed to pull off a seemingly impossible “road” win over the playoff-hopeful Arizona Cardinals, largely negating quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkings, who both did so much damage to the Niners when Arizona pulled off its win over San Francisco way back in Week 1.

The victory, which now puts the SF 49ers at 6-9 with one game left in the regular season, didn’t always come easy. Kicker Robbie Gould missed two field goals and an extra point, and all one needs to do is look at the 20-12 Niners win to see how much that could have been a difference-maker.

Fortunately, running back Jeff Wilson Jr. on offense and the San Francisco defense put any concerns to rest with the victory and standout performances.

Gould wasn’t a winner in the game. That’s for sure. Fortunately, there were more winners than losers in this bout, although it’s important to recognize both sides on the win-loss player coin from Week 16.

Let’s start off with the good, though.

Good: SF 49ers Quarterback C.J. Beathard

Quarterback C.J. Beathard had just one win to his credit entering Week 16, and that stemmed from his rookie season way back in 2017.

Poor pocket presence, turning the ball over and not progressing at all from his first year relegated Beathard to third-string status, only getting the shot to start against Arizona because of injuries to the No. 2 option on the roster, Nick Mullens.

Yet Beathard was solid enough, going 13-of-22 for 182 yards with three touchdowns, netting an impressive 125.4 passer rating. Two of those touchdowns went to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who gets a hat-tip win for his performance in a contract year.

It would have been a pipe dream to think Beathard would outduel Murray, but that’s what happened. And it also bodes well for Beathard’s long-term future, as he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2021 and certainly upped his value a little bit with the win.

If anything, Beathard gained more points in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s long-term thinking with the roster, but that’s a decision for another time.