After Nick Mullens pulled off a surprising performance in a blowout win over the Oakland Raiders, you’d assume the San Francisco 49ers have to give him another start.
Even if that’s the plan, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t saying. On Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after Mullens put together a memorable NFL debut in a 34-3 win over the Raiders, Shanahan told reporters he was not ready to announce that decision. The players have four days off, and he would announce his decision to them before letting the media know.
Part of the decision have to do with the health of C.J. Beathard. Beathard has a wrist injury and couldn’t grip a ball this week. That’s why Mullens started. And it might have cost Beathard his spot on the depth chart.
Mullens had never taken an NFL snap before Thursday night. He spent most of his first two NFL seasons on the practice squad. But he did break Brett Favre’s records at Southern Miss. And on Thursday, he looked pretty good.
Mullens threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He had a 151.9 rating. That’s the highest rating for any quarterback in his NFL debut since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger.
And you’re going to put him back on the bench after that?
Mullens might have just caught a break by playing a terrible Raiders defense that looked like it has already checked out on Jon Gruden. But the 49ers are likely going to want to see if maybe they unearthed an undrafted gem.
The 49ers’ next opponent is the New York Giants on “Monday Night Football,” which would give Mullens another advantageous matchup. We already know Mullens isn’t scared of the prime-time stage. After that, the 49ers face a terrible Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.
There’s a real chance for Mullens to string together a few good games, if Shanahan gives him the chance. It would be surprising if that’s not his decision next week. Mullens has certainly earned another look. It would make what looked like a miserable Giants-49ers Monday night matchup more entertaining, at least.
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