Despite his stunning performance in Thursday night’s romp over the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers are not comitting to giving quarterback Nick Mullens another start.
Mullens made a splashy NFL debut by throwing for three 262 yards and three touchdowns to guide the 49ers to a 34-3 mauling of their Bay Area rival.
Although he never set foot on the field since he was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi in 2017, Mullens finished 16 of 22 without an interception and posted a stellar 151.9 passer rating.
“It’s everything I dreamed of. It’s only one game, though,” said Mullens in a postgame interview on FOX Sports. “I’ve been in the organization for two years, just trying to learn as much as I could, prepare like I’m the starter every week. This week was my week. Just take advantage of opportunities when they come. And they came.”
Still, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan was not ready to anoint Mullens the start for the team’s next game, which also will be in prime time on Monday Night Football against the visiting New York Giants on Nov. 12.
“Yeah, definitely we’ll consider it,” Shanahan told reporters after the game of Mullens possibly getting a second straight start. “Definitely not thinking about that right now, but our whole team played very well. Nick definitely did.”
Mullens received his opportunity to start due to an injury to backup quarterback C.J. Beathard, who injured the wrist and thumb on his throwing hand in Sunday’s 18-15 loss at Arizona.
Beathard lost all five of his starts since taking over for injured starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who was lost for the season due to a torn anterior cruciate.
Shanahan told reporters he was not placing the blame on Beathard, a third-round draft pick in 2017 out of Iowa who has eight touchdowns versus seven interceptions.
“I don’t put all those struggles on just C.J.,” Shanahan said. “I think people make a huge mistake just saying, ‘If you win, it’s the quarterback. If you lose, it’s the quarterback.’ There are 11 guys on offense. There are 53 guys on our team. I thought our team had probably our best game of the year so far.
“That’s nothing against C.J. I think C.J. would have played well tonight, too, if he played.”
Mullens put San Francisco ahead to stay with a 24-yard scoring strike to Pierre Garcon in the first quarter and added a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne in the second quarter as the 49ers built a 17-3 halftime edge.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder tossed his third scoring pass — a 5-yarder to tight end George Kittle — less than 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter to turn the game into a rout. The TD pass followed a 71-yard connection to Kittle.
“I think I’m here for a reason,” Mullens said, “and it was my opportunity to prove that I can play.”
Mullen was signed, cut and then re-signed to San Francisco’s practice squad in each of his first two seasons. He was such an unknown that his Twitter account was unverified leading into Thursday’s matchup.
“We were keeping our secret weapon ready to go,” said Shanahan after Mullens became the first player in franchise history to thrown multiple scoring passes in his NFL debut.