The San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants revealed Tuesday that they’re sticking with Mullens and Manning as their starting quarterbacks for Monday Night. That may come as no surprise to most, but I think the game itself might be a bit more entertaining than expected.
Mullens was sharp Thursday night and looked comfortable in Kyle Shanahan’s offense; against the Oakland Raiders Mullens was 16 of 22 for 262 yards, with 3 touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 151.9. Can he continue to have the same success through out the rest of the season, or was this just a fluke?
Facing the lowly Giants at Levi Stadium is the perfect opportunity for Mullens to prove he can keep up the pace in Shanahan’s system. Matt “Money” Smith said it best on NFL Fantasy Live when he recommended Mullens to fantasy owners this week… “if you have a passer that works in play-action, can plant that back foot and deliver a pass on time your going to be successful in his system”.
Indeed, if Mullens can do as Smith says, he will be successful in Shanahan’s offense. Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s all it was, just put in a competent passer and the 49ers are a contender. Wishful thinking of course, but it’s been done before when Jimmy Garrapolo came in last season and raised the level of play around him.
Sometimes all it takes is for somebody to come in and create a spark to light up the whole team. The 49ers were desperate for a win Thursday night, Nick Mullens was that spark and just like that the defense gets 7 sacks. So who knows, with another win and a bye, maybe Mullens and Shanahan can salvage the season, stranger things have happened.
No matter what, nothing can succeed if the 49ers defense can’t stop opponents from matching score for score. Robert Saleh did a great job preparing his defense against the Raiders, his defense went after Derek Carr relentlessly. Notching sacks on the day were DeForest Buckner (1), Solomon Thomas (1), Cassius Marsh (2.5), Ronald Blair (1), and Dekoda Watson (1.5).
Injuries have been an ongoing theme this season and unfortunately another promising player is added to IR. Running back Raheem Mostert is out for the season after suffering a broken right forearm in the third quarter of Thursday’s game. Before the injury, Mostert was the game’s leading rusher with seven carries for 86 yards. His longest run of the day was for a 52-yard touchdown.
Several 49ers players have been dealing with injuries and will welcome the extra healing time between games. The 49ers will have a bye week after Monday nights’ game. If Nick Mullens can have a repeat performance against the Giants and get a win, perhaps the team can rally behind him and use the time to get there mojo back.
There is still a lot of football games left to play this season and regardless of the record, Shanahan will keep his team playing to win. It’s under these types of circumstances that bring out the best in men. Keep the Faith, great things are in store for this young team and it starts this Monday night against the New York Giants.