Third-string QB Beathard throws 3 TDs, 49ers stun Cardinals

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San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson (30) celebrates his touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals with quarterback C.J. Beathard (3) during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The San Francisco 49ers limped into Saturday's game with no more playoff hopes and a group that included third-string quarterback C.J. Beathard, unheralded running back Jeff Wilson and several defensive backups.

Then they went out and pushed around the Arizona Cardinals anyway.

Beathard threw three touchdown passes, Wilson ran for 183 yards, and San Francisco dealt a brutal blow to Arizona's playoff hopes by beating them 20-12.

For the 49ers, the win was all about pride for a team that went to the Super Bowl last year, but has endured a 2020 that's fallen well short of expectations.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan wasn't surprised by the gritty performance.

“We’re not proud of our record, we’d like to be better, but that doesn’t tell the story of who we are," Shanahan said.

Because of the loss, the Cardinals (8-7) no longer control their own destiny in the playoff race. If the Chicago Bears win their final two games, they will reach the playoffs because of a tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Beathard was making his first start since 2018 and was 1-9 as a starting quarterback before he was pressed into action against the Cardinals because of injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens.