2017 Grade: .360
2017 3rd Down: .339
Week 1 vs. Carolina: Brian Hoyer was my most disappointing quarterback from week one. Not because his accuracy was off-point, it was, but I expect that from a quarterback with limited talented to draw on. I was let down because of the number of mental gaffes — situations where Hoyer neglected an obviously open target. One of the play’s I referenced in my off-season praise pieces, was the layered roll-out drive concepts. He passed up a second level pass and checked it down. I expected more – both from Hoyer, and his teammates. If he doesn’t elevate the mental side of the game, and his skill players make plays like the one below, it’ll be another long year.
Week 2 at Seattle: This was not the Brian Hoyer I told you to get excited about this summer – far from it. Hoyer is rushing everything, yet somehow slow to process anything. He looks ill-prepared, and he was easily the NFL’s least accurate passer in week 2. He was supposed to be a calming veteran presence that could keep the 49ers in manageable down and distances, and play mistake-free football. So far, he has done anything but play smart, sound football. His season grade (and matching third down grade) of .188 is enough to start thinking about C.J. Beathard.
Week 3 at Los Angeles Rams: This was, far-and-away, Brian Hoyer’s best game with the 9ers. He threw the ball well in the face of pressure, opened up the vertical aspect of the offense, and dropped some absolute dimes (3-point play on the deep shot to Pierre Garcon.) You’ve probably already seen that play, as well as the interception to start the game, so these GIFs are lesser known plays. One, he misses an open option in the middle of the field (albeit a tight window) that would’ve extended the drive. On the positive GIF, he escapes pressure and makes a perfect throw to the boundary.
Week 4 at Arizona: San Francisco’s offense is broken beyond repair – and that’s a surprise given their coach. Communication breakdowns halt multiple drives per game, pass protection is shaky, drops are a problem, and the quarterback is playing terrible. Hoyer’s accuracy and timing have been as bad as the 49ers could’ve imagined, and his time to get it fixed, is running out. The strange thing about it is, he has made some sparkling throws just about every game. His teammates surely aren’t giving him a ton of help.
Week 5 at Indianapolis: Five or six throws occur every game that remind you why Brian Hoyer isn’t someone’s entrenched long term starter. Despite the deficiencies and general brain farts, he is gaining his footing in this Kyle Shanahan reunion. He will thread tight windows and throw with exceptional touch, and those glimmers make you understand why he’s been such a trusted backup for so long (GIF below.)