After 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard — who was only starting for San Francisco because No. 1 signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo is out for the season with an ACL tear — was injured during the team’s Week 8 loss to the Cardinals, the 49ers turned to Nick Mullens to replace him for their Thursday night bout against the Raiders.
All Mullens did was turn in one of the best NFL debuts in league history. The 2017 UDFA out of Southern Miss was 16 of 22 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions as the 49ers trounced their Bay Area rivals 34-3. Most have assumed that performance would allow Mullens to retain control of the starting job moving forward, and that is apparently the correct assumption.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Mullens is expected to remain the 49ers’ starting quarterback when their season resumes next Monday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has not yet made an official announcement, as he wants to talk to his players first, but Rapoport says it would be a major surprise if Mullens did not get the nod.
Even after the win, the 49ers are 2-7, and whatever playoff hopes they had went out the window when Garoppolo went down. And since the team has seen Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick, produce one win and mediocre statistics during his ten games as a starter over the last two seasons, it makes sense to at least give Mullens a shot.
Mullens, who was summoned from the practice squad to serve as Beathard’s backup in September, is Southern Mississippi’s career passing leader in every major category. His collegiate numbers considerably outshine those of fellow Golden Eagles alum Brett Favre, but it’s probably a bit too early to begin comparing their professional careers.
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