Brian Hoyer has struggled to make an impact in his first two games with the San Francisco 49ers, but things could change for the veteran quarterback this Thursday when they host the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium.

Time to Step Up

The 31-year old Hoyer hasn’t recorded a touchdown pass after two starts for the 49ers this season. After covering 193 yards on 24-for-35 with an interception in an awful loss to the Carolina Panthers 23-3 in Week 1, the 49ers starting quarterback continued to misfire on Week 2 as he recorded just 99 yards on 15-for-27 passing with another interception in a 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Two sub-par starts for Hoyer put him among the worst performing quarterbacks this season. Aside from a mediocre quarterback rating of 60.7, he also ranked 32nd in yards per pass attempts (4.71 yards). However, NFL analyst Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee believed the prospect of a breakout game for Hoyer is likely this week when the 49ers take on the Rams, who usually play man-to-man coverage on defense.

The Rams play more man-to-man defense, which ought to offer more opportunities for speedy Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson, and for Hoyer to boost his average,” said Barrows.

On a motivational standpoint, Hoyer has a lot to lose in this game. In an interview on the Murph & Mac Show, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was critical of the performance of his starting quarterback and at the same time expressed optimism Hoyer will pull it off.

“He’s done it before, he’s done it in practice,” Shanahan said on the show (h/t the Mercury News). “Haven’t gotten it in these first two games, but… Brian’s got to step up and we’ve got to step it up around him to help him.”

Another disappointing outing for Hoyer could prompt Shanahan to tap second-string quarterback C. J. Beathard for more playing time.

Beathard, a third-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, signed a four-year $3.1 million deal with the 49ers in the off-season. Although many NFL analysts believed the former Iowa Hawkeyes signal-caller is not ready yet, Hoyer’s ongoing struggle might be enough reason to gradually elevate the rookie to the starting lineup. Then, there's also the possibility of the 49ers calling the Washington Redskins for a trade for Kirk Cousins.

More plays for Sammy Watkins

During his media availability after Wednesday’s practice, Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur tackled several topics related to his job as the team’s top offensive tactician, including the need to give wide receiver Sammy Watkins more backfield plays.

“Yeah, I think you saw what happened in Week 1 when we were able to distribute the ball. When you’re not doing that, you’re going to be hindered a little bit offensively. That is always the goal, is to spread it out,’ LaFleur said on the possibility of giving more plays for Watkins, who only hauled seven receptions for 88 yards in two games.