SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Arizona Cardinals hit San Francisco quarterback C.J. Beathard one time too many for the 49ers' sake.
A hard hit by former San Francisco safety Antoine Bethea on Beathard while he slid on a scramble during the fourth quarter on Sunday led to a scuffle and ejections for Arizona's Frostee Rucker and Haason Reddick, and 49ers running back Carlos Hyde.
The play in question happened with 3:36 remaining in Arizona's 20-10 victory when Beathard scrambled for 10 yards after being flushed out of the pocket. Beathard gave himself up with a slide but was hit hard by Bethea, who was penalized for unnecessary roughness.
"I was playing football," Bethea said. "He was coming to me. He slid late and I tackled him and the rest is history."
The Niners took exception, with guard Laken Tomlinson immediately coming to his quarterback's defence by shoving Bethea, and then a scuffle broke out between the teams.
"That's awesome," Beathard said. "They had my back, and I knew they would. Guys like Carlos, he got ejected. But it shows that he got my back. And I really appreciate that. And all the other guys that went at it as well."
A few punches appeared to be thrown during the skirmish and Rucker, Reddick and Hyde were all ejected.
"I didn't see Carlos throw a punch, I don't know exactly what he did," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "I did see him get punched, punches thrown at him. I did see him get knocked over a couple of times. I really loved how he went to our quarterback's, went and got out quarterback's back. And I thought our quarterback had a couple of helmets to the head when he was in the pocket a few plays before, and then he ended up scrambling and sliding and got one again. I think our players had had enough."
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he's not concerned about any ramifications beyond this game, saying it was just the normal stuff that happens during a physical contest.
"It's not college," he said "You don't get kicked out of the game next week."
The hit was one of many Beathard took on the day while playing behind a patchwork line missing left tackle Joe Staley. He was sacked five times and hit 16 overall on his 51 pass attempts, but got up each time, making sure San Francisco didn't need to put the newly acquired Jimmy Garoppolo in the game before he was ready.
"I'm not afraid of getting hit," Beathard said. "That won't affect me. Never has. I'm tough and I've been able to take things. Obviously if I'm injured, I'm not going to force myself in there. But as of now, I haven't been injured."
An injury to Beathard was the only way Garoppolo was going to play against the Cardinals. San Francisco acquired him on Tuesday from New England for a second-round pick in hopes he will be the quarterback of the future.
But Shanahan is waiting to play him until he knows the offence better and the offensive line is healthier.
"I'd love to get Jimmy in eventually, but a lot of stuff is going to go into that factor," Shanahan said. "Hopefully we can get healthy and hopefully we can give Jimmy a chance to pick this stuff up as he goes."
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