That was, well, something. The San Francisco 49ers thoroughly pummeled the Oakland Raiders in Week 9, beating them 34-3 on Thursday Night Football. San Francisco improves to 2-7 with the win, while Oakland drops to 1-7.
The 49ers did most everything right, but the story of the game is an obvious one. Quarterback Nick Mullens was a revelation in his debut. It was against an atrocious Raiders defense, but that shouldn’t take away from an amazing performance. Mullens completed 16 of 22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He likely would have had a fourth touchdown if Richie James had not dropped a pass over the middle in which he was wide open and had an angle for the end zone. But hey, nothing’s perfect!
There was one bit of bad news. Running back and special teams ace Raheem Mostert suffered a gruesome arm injury that looked like a fracture. He screamed and the replay showed what seemed like a break. He walked off the field and went to the locker room after an air cast was placed on his arm. He was quickly ruled out, and is probably done for the year.
But other than Mostert’s injury, this game could not have gone much better. The 49ers defense got off to a slow start, as Derek Carr and company marched down the field on their opening drive. However, the defense stiffened up on the drive and a holding penalty helped leave the Raiders with a field goal. That was basically the peak of the Raiders performance on Thursday.
Mullens was a machine on his first two drives. The 49ers drove 75 yards on six plays and took a 7-3 lead on a 24-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Pierre Garçon. On the next drive, they moved 66 yards on 13 plays and capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne. The 49ers added a field goal before the half, and then opened the second half with a 3-play, 68-yard drive. The key on that drive was Mullens finding George Kittle for a 71-yard gain. It was a fantastic pass and an amazing one-handed catch to set up Kittle’s eventual 5-yard touchdown.
Mullens deserves plenty of credit, but the defense dominated most of the evening. The 49ers entered the game with 16 sacks, and racked up seven sacks in Week 9. DeForest Buckner got the first sack of the evening, but Cassius Marsh and Dekoda Watson were the standouts. Marsh had 2.5 sacks, and Watson had 1.5 in his return from the injured reserve list.
Up next: vs. New York Giants
The 49ers get ten days before their next game, another prime time affair. The 49ers host the New York Giants on Monday Night Football in Week 10. I suspect the coaching staff will give the players the rest of the week off to recover from the short week. The team will likely return to meet next Monday and begin preparations for MNF against the team with the current top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Nobody is as bad as the Raiders, but the Giants could give them a run for their money. Where it gets most interesting is what the 49ers have planned for the quarterback position for Week 10. Does Nick Mullens get a chance