Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
“[CB Emmanuel] Moseley had a shoulder, didn’t return. [RB Raheem] Mostert broke his arm, didn’t return, obviously. And, [TE George] Kittle, chest.”
Mostert out for the season?
“They didn’t tell me, but I would assume so with a broken arm.”
Where have you been hiding this quarterback?
“We’ve just been keeping our secret weapon ready to go. He did an awesome job today. The guys played real well around him. There’s a lot on his plate coming in and being his first time in a real NFL game, non-preseason, started off real well, was very poised. Got the guys in and out of the huddle and did a helluva job.”
Did QB Nick Mullens, did he surprise you at all?
“You never know until you see someone. He didn’t surprise us in terms of, the game’s not too big for Nick. He’s very poised. He is always locked in. The guys, they respect him. He earned a lot of respect in the preseason, them watching him play. Both years, last year and this year. The way he handles himself in practice each week. He didn’t really know for sure whether he was going to start today, until today, and just the way he handled the two days of long walk-troughs and stuff. He’s a machine in there and I was happy for him.”
What do you mean a machine?
“Just how locked in he is, just his detail and how he prepares for a game each week. There was no difference in him knowing the game plan this week than last year when he didn’t have a chance of playing. That’s what I mean by a machine. He’s always working. He’s always studying. He’s always acting like he’s going to be the starter and today he got his opportunity and it paid off.”
You called a pass on the first play. Was the idea to be aggressive from the outset and just let him air it out?
“No, I didn’t plan on running it every down all game. We liked the pass and we liked starting out that way and we have confidence in Nick. That’s why he’s here and he did a very good job. But, no, that was nothing different.”
Winning the final Battle of the Bay, how does the eternal bragging rights that you guys are going to get feel, for your team?
“I’m not sure about that right now. I grew up a huge Niners fan. I also grew up a Raiders hater from growing up mainly in the AFC West also, and also having a history with them. It feels good definitely. It feels good to win and I’m definitely happy for our fans.”
Piggybacking off of that, how do you feel about how the Niners are about to become the Bay Area’s only NFL franchise?
“I feel like it’s kind of always been like that too. I don’t mean it in that way, but they’ve been here the longest and they’ve never left.”
What was the process today, getting to make the decision on Mullens and how close was QB C.J. Beathard?
“The main thing was whether C.J. could just be the backup or not. Kind of yesterday we had a pretty good idea that we were going to go with Nick. We just wanted to make sure that C.J. could be out there and at least be healthy enough to be the backup. So, we had to go through that this morning with him. Once we confirmed that we were good to go.”
Sorry you can’t enjoy this longer before you get this question.
“It’s alright. I expect it from you. Just joking.”
Will you consider Nick to remain the starter for the Giants game?
“Yeah, definitely we’ll consider it. Definitely not thinking about that right now, but our whole team played very well. Nick definitely did. I thought our guys upfront played well. I thought the entire offense did. I thought the defense played their tail off. I thought the pass rush was there. I thought we tackled well. I thought our punter and kicker did well. It was a very good all-around win. I was real happy for our guys. We’ve been through a lot here and we’re not done. We’re trying to get our way out of this. It’s good to get a win today and hopefully it can lead to some others.”
Did Nick have the full breadth offense at his disposal?
“Yeah, Nick knows the offense as well as anyone. He’s been here since day one.”
How much, obviously, does that help with everybody else sort of being on the same page the fact that you don’t have to make those kinds of changes for a guy in his situation?
“It’s huge. It’s always tough. You go through a lot of work with guys in the offseason and OTAs and training camp. You try to build a foundation of your verbiage and how to use guys. It takes a lot of work for everyone, That’s why it’s a huge challenge during the year to change quarterbacks and sometimes when you go through some unfortunate situations, bringing in someone who hasn’t been in, you have to limit it, which helps that guy have a chance, but it makes it a lot tougher on everyone else. Just the fact that Nick has been here for the entire time, you don’t have to limit anything offensively with the play calls and everything and I think it makes everyone else’s job a lot easier.”
Considering how well Nick played tonight and the struggles C.J. had the past few weeks, why not make the switch sooner?
“Because I don’t put all those struggles on just C.J. 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.”
It looked like Nick was doing really well on the play action fakes, especially on third down. Was there one throw that really stood out to you or a move that he did? I know he had a long pass to WR Richie James Jr., Kittle made the one hander and the three touchdown passes. Do any of those stand out?
“Yeah, the one to Kittle was very impressive. He got to the number two guy in his read, and from what I saw, it didn’t look like he had a very good window. He did a good job getting around someone and then Kittle made a helluva play catching that. I thought one down on the redzone was an RPO play, just getting it to [TE Ross] Dwelley. That was his first catch. I thought that was a helluva throw. Just the way he hung in there and was very efficient and ran the offense very well.”
Will you make sure all your quarterbacks watch the YouTube video Nick Mullens did to learn how to take snaps from a center?
“Yeah, I think we need to show that more. Obviously, it’s helped him.”
Why was the pass rush able to get going tonight?
“I’m not sure exactly. It looked like we got after them from the times I saw. I’ll watch on the film to see if there’s anything different. I thought Saleh did a good job mixing up his calls. I thought we did a good job mixing up our stunts. I thought our guys won the one-on-one battles. It’s not just the rush, I think our guys held up in coverage well and when people aren’t open right away and you make that quarterback take a couple of hitches, it’s just tying both those guys together up front and in back. I think they had an all-around good game.”
How much do you think having a lead contributes to that?
“I think having a lead is huge. The more you can have a lead, the more one dimensional you can make people. It seems like they were fairly balanced with it, but that’s something that the better you can do on offense, always the more that helps the defense. And, the better the defense can do, the more that helps the offense. It’s a huge team win. I think when all three facets were playing well, it’s not a coincidence that helps all three facets.”
Is there anything in particular that’s been clicking for DL Cassius Marsh lately?
“Cassius goes hard every play. He’s done it all year. He’s done it his whole career. I’ve played against him a number of times and since he’s been here, Cassius has a motor that never stops. When you have a motor like that and you’re always working, it’s usually a matter of time before something good happens.”
When you think of year two George Kittle, impressing you?
“Everything. He impressed me a lot last year. I think he’s only gotten better. You only get better or worse and he’s a guy who’s gotten a lot better after playing at a pretty high-level last year. George, I think people underestimate or don’t talk enough about how good he is for us in the run game. He’s a very good run blocker. He’s a very physical player. I think everyone is starting to see how good he is in the pass game. What’s been the most impressive is, when you get the ball in his hands you guys can just see that he has a certain attitude to him that he’s trying to score every time he touches the ball, whether he’s 80 yards away or two yards away.”
You’ve talked about Mullens’ poise, but even so, did you feel the need to talk to him at all and say, ‘Hey be yourself,’ or just give him a special message because it was his first game?
“I try not to make too big a deal about that type of stuff. I don’t think I have some magical words that’s going to take someone’s nerves away. I think I can pretend like that and go sit there and over talk to him, but Nick is prepared for this moment. I just tell him to go out there, be yourself, you deserve this moment. Go out there, play your hardest and see what happens, because Nick has prepared a long time for this, he deserved this and I was happy he got the results.”
49ers QB Nick Mullens
You got verified tonight – mid-game. What’s that like, man? How’s that feel?
“I guess pretty cool. It’s cool.”
When did you find out about that? Right in the locker room afterwards, or what?
“Yeah. I think somebody told me after the game. I was really excited about a lot more things than that.”
You prepare, obviously, like you’re going to be a starter every week. But, was it different this week preparing?
“The feeling, obviously, knowing that you’re going to start puts some more emphasis on it I guess you guys could say. But, you know, my preparation stayed pretty consistent. Studied the plan. Always going to be ready when my name is called, and it was called. I just tried to do the best that I could. The team did the best that we could. We played great, sound football all three phases of the game.”
Was it difficult? You didn’t really have practices. It was your first week going in as a starter, but you didn’t have those real practice time reps. How did you kind of replicate that? Did you do extra work?
“You just study your progressions, really. Just know where to go with the football based on the look that you get. That was the biggest thing. I knew as long as I could just stick to my progressions, then I would have a chance. It definitely helped that the O-Line protected their butts off tonight. They did a great job, definitely.”
What’s it like getting the phone call from Brett Favre after the game?
“It was pretty cool. Definitely an honor. It’s cool to see Southern Miss alumni stay in-tune with the program and support each other. So, I’m definitely appreciative of that, and definitely have the most respect for Brett.”
What’d he say to you?
“He just told me how proud of me he was. He sent me a message before the game. He said, ‘No pressure. Just be yourself,’ and that’s what I tried to do before the game and during the game. So, just tried to stay calm out there and lead the offense. Obviously, we got some veterans on the O-Line, so it was just a very collective effort.”
How’d you sleep last night?
“I slept good, except I woke up about every hour. But, those hour periods were great. No, I slept pretty good. No, the Marriott – spent plenty of nights there.”
When did you have an idea? I assume it was yesterday that you had a good idea that you were going to start.
“Yeah, I had an idea. I found out yesterday, and I was just ready to go. Very excited, and the opportunity was in front of me.”
When did you feel like you truly settled in? Did it feel like after that first touchdown drive, or were you pretty confident at the beginning of the game?
“I don’t know if I did. I was on edge until the clock hit zero, to be honest. I was just ready to win. Ready to just keep going. The O-Line, we worked together with the skill guys. I thought we just worked well as a unit in the huddle. We were all banded together and just ready to go. We were excited. We were ready to attack. I thought we did that well tonight.”
What was your most challenging throw? Was it the one to TE George Kittle that he made one-handed?
“Yeah, probably. Yeah, you could say that. I just tried to leave it a little inside for him. I still haven’t seen his catch, but they said it was sick. So, I can’t wait to see it. But, yeah, I just tried to leave it inside and he made a great play like he has all year.”
Because you were undrafted, you hadn’t taken a snap in a regular season game before tonight, I think the expectations publicly were very modest. Did you view this as like, ‘Now, I can finally show people what I can do?’
“To an extent. I keep some of it in the back of my mind, but not all of it. I think I’m here for a reason and this was my opportunity to prove that I can play. Talked about that a couple times since I’ve been here. So, a little bit. But, the biggest thing is just attack your job and worry about what matters. What mattered most tonight was the team and how we played.”
Before you came out here, you were sitting in your locker and head coach Kyle Shanahan came over and said something. What did he say?
“We were talking about Kittle’s catch, actually. That was a pretty cool play. Other than that, he was just proud of me and obviously, I’m very appreciative that he put me in great situations and put the whole offense in great situations to succeed.”
George shared that you would blast your headphones to simulate crowd noise.
“Yeah. I don’t know how he found that out because I only do that at my house. But, yeah, it’s a good way to prepare.”
Where do you get crowd noise?
Do you just search for crowd noise?
CB Richard Sherman said he told you to give the pre-game speech. What were your thoughts when he asked you to do that? How did that process go?
“I was ready to go, to be honest. Yeah, I love doing that stuff. I’m pretty, I guess, I don’t know what guys would describe me as, chill in the locker room I guess. On game day, I love to compete and that’s what it’s all about. So, yeah, I was ready to go. The whole team was. We brought great energy, played with great energy on offense, defense and special teams.”
What was the message you wanted to get across to your teammates?
“It was a four-round fight. The whole week we talked about finishing, finding a way to finish. You know, tonight, we did. It’s a four-round fight. Even in the fourth quarter, foot on the gas. It was the last round of the fight. Let’s finish this thing. So, that was kind of the emphasis for us tonight.”
Obviously, the team needs to have confidence in their quarterback. Did you feel that confidence form your teammates in you?
“Yeah, I believe so. I just appreciated that they listened in the huddle. I’m probably pretty annoying sometimes, to be honest. But, appreciate that they listened, respected me and gave me a chance to lead the offense. Everybody worked well tonight. I think we said we distributed the ball well, we ran the ball well and they blocked their butts off up front. So, I thought everybody worked well together.”
You’re happy they listened to you because you’re annoying? Is that what you said?
“Yeah. I’m always talking through the game, just trying to encourage guys, trying to keep them up. I’m sure sometimes, I don’t know if they’re listening to me or not. But, I’m talking.”
Back to the Apple music crowd noise, is that something you did in college, as well?
“Not really, because in college you didn’t have to worry about the play calls as much. So, in the NFL, play calls, I should be able to hear those and repeat those. The crowd noise, it’s a good way to simulate the game to prepare.”
How does it feel to be the last winning quarterback of the Battle of the Bay?
“Yeah, that’s an incredible honor. I grew up watching the Niners, even from Alabama. It’s an incredible honor. I knew it was a big game for the people around this area, and I’m glad I can represent the Niners the right way. Glad we got a win, for sure.”
49ers RB Matt Breida
From the opening kickoff you guys just took it to them and dominated this game from start to finish.
“We wanted to come out and prove to everyone on national television that we are not a joke. It doesn’t matter what our record says, we are going to play hard every game.”
What were the adjustments you guys made going into this game? Everything clicked, it just seemed you had different energy from past weeks.
“We just eliminated turnovers and penalties and just playing better football. We emphasized this week that everyone do their own job. Just do your job and things will get done. I believe that is what we did tonight.”
Are you surprised by the performance of San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens?
“No. No. I tried to tell you guys earlier in the week that he is just a baller. He comes to work every day and he is just in his book. If you guys come in and see him, he is at his locker in his book every week and now it is finally paying off for him.”
Why is he so prepared for this moment and seize like he did?
“Because he is Nick Mullens. That is what he does. He is ready for big moments anytime. He is going to be a great quarterback in this league when he gets his shot.”
Did you expect him to be as flawless as he was?
“Yes. I have seen it all week in practice making all the right reads and making the correct passes. It showed today in the game.”
What kind of confidence was he exuding leading up to this game with you guys?
“So much confidence even in the huddle telling the guys ‘Hey watch out for this blitz.’ or ‘watch out for this play, we are going to check this.’ He had got a lot of confidence and I think that is what is makes him a great quarterback.”
49ers DL DeForest Buckner
It seemed like from the outset you guys were determined to go after Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr?
”Definitely, this week as a D line we knew we had to get after it. I am just happy the way everybody played and responded to the task at hand. The sacks were spread around today.”
Even though it was a short week, you guys looked energized and you guys looked fast. Did it feel that way?
“Most definitely. [Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] did a really good job of taking care of the team physically. He challenged us mentally all week. We had some long days. The guys stepped to the plate and took advantage of that week. We knew it was going to be a short week but we didn’t want to make any excuses being sore because the Raiders had the same short week we had.”
What was clicking as far as the pass rush today?
“I think guys were just going out there and feeding off each other. I think everyone was just energized. We came out with a lot of energy today. We had [LB] Dekoda [Watson] back and he had some action today. It was fun just seeing him out there playing. He has been wanting to get out there all year. [LB Ronald Blair III] Ronnie had a couple, [DL] Cassius [Marsh] had a couple. Everyone was just feeding off each other and having fun out there.”
49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk
What do you make of 49ers QB Nick Mullens tonight and how he approached the game?
“He was phenomenal. From the first snap he took command of the huddle. I can’t tell you how many times that he told us to quiet down. It was impressive. He studied his butt off all week and he was prepared and ready to go. He went out there and executed and killed it.”
He didn’t have any real reps, you guys just did walk-throughs all week right?
“Yes, walk-throughs all week. The dude is a gamer. We saw it all in the preseason. When he gets an opportunity he goes out there and makes the most of it. He did a good job of that today.”
What was he like in the pregame speech? We saw him get that duty today, what was the message?
“He always preaches focus and to do your job and be ready. It’s funny because you can just see him flip that switch and become serious, when he is in charge. The guys respond well to it and he did an awesome job with that.”
49ers TE George Kittle
Can you take us through the long catch there, how you pulled that off?
“I closed my eyes, 100-percent.”
“Yep. I just kind of stuck an arm out there and it fell in my hand.”
You still managed to run after the catch though.
“Trust me, as soon as I kept running, I was like, ‘I cannot believe I’m still up right now.’ It’s crazy.”
You knew you were going to make it into the end zone?
“I looked up at the screen and I think it was [Raiders CB Gareon Conley] 21 following me and I was like, ‘he’s faster than me so I just have to protect the ball.’ [Head coach Kyle] Coach Shanahan rewarded me like two plays later so that’s pretty fun.”
Were you surprised at all by 49ers QB Nick Mullens’ performance?
“Not at all. He’s a guy that he is more prepared than coach Shanahan, I swear, for our games. It doesn’t matter if he’s second string, third string, he is a guy that prepares every week like he is the starter and the guy. That’s completely on him. That’s not anyone telling him he should study more, but that’s just him being 100-percent prepared.”
How does he go about preparing?
“My favorite story that I’ve heard so far is that when we have away games, he puts on his headphones super loud, crowd noise, and then he calls the plays out loud so he gets used to calling them with noise all around him. That’s the best thing I’ve seen so far.”
This is during the week?
“Yeah, that’s what he does. He does that. I know coach Shanahan will record the calls for him and he’ll listen to them and he’ll re-call them out. I’m pretty sure last year he was a guy that took the script after the game and he’d go out on the field after the game and run the plays by himself. That’s just Nick Mullens in a nut shell.”
Last Battle of the Bay. How does it feel to get those across town bragging rights against the Raiders?
“It’s my first one and the last one so it’s pretty awesome because I’m 1-0.”
How big was it for you guys to get this win? You guys have lost six straight, you have been in some close, though losses. You guys were able to get a start to finish, convincing win.
“It’s fun. Football is easier when you’re having fun.”
How much does it help to have the full breadth of the offense at your disposal when you have the third string quarterback in there?
“He just hops in like nothing happened. You couldn’t tell there was a difference if he was first string or third string. He just played like a baller.”
We saw him giving a pregame speech there to you guys. What’s his message in there and how fiery is he in that situation?
“He’s so fiery, it is awesome. He’s kind of a quiet guy, keeps to himself, but he rose to the occasion tonight and he did all week during practice. Like I said, that’s all on him. He’s a fantastic player and a great guy and he put himself in this situation.”
This is another 100-yard game for you receiving. You’re on pace to eclipse 1,000 yards and be the first 49ers tight end to do so. What’s clicking for you this year?
“That’s on the whole team. Coach Shanahan puts me in positions to get open and he tells the quarterback to throw me the ball. He has the offensive line blocking for him the whole time which gives me time to run my route. That’s really, coach Shanahan gave me the opportunities and I just have to make the most of them.”
What was Nick like on the sidelines?
“Cool, calm and confident.”
Did he say anything to you specifically after the touchdown?
“No, the dude doesn’t change. It’s unreal, absolutely unreal. He’s just a gunslinger.”
49ers DL Cassius Marsh
It was obviously a big night for you guys.
“Everybody played their butts off. Everybody on the defensive line was eating. Linebackers were running and the defensive backs were covering. The offense was honestly the biggest part. They got up and let the defensive line go eat. [San Francisco 49ers QB] Nick Mullens, that’s the story of the night for me. Nick Mullens killed it.”
Who is Nick Mullens?
“He’s the man. What do you mean? Every single time he steps on the field he does this stuff. It’s nothing new to us. I had nothing but faith that he would go out there and execute. You all can see what he did.”
Is there anything Nick Mullens did to impress you?
“Is there anything he didn’t do that didn’t impress me? He did everything tonight. He made good decisions, he kept the ball in our hands, no turnovers, executed and threw dimes. It was beautiful. Offense, defense and special teams, everybody did their thing tonight.”
Did you have a feeling that you guys were imposing your will from the opening kickoff and never let up?
“We finished today. That’s what coach was talking about all week, just finishing. We had a great first half, but we came out in the second half and finished the game. I think that was the biggest part for us, and the biggest accomplishment for us tonight was to come out and finish the game.”
Can you build off of this sort of performance?
“Absolutely. We take it one game at a time, but this is a great ‘W’ for us. We’re going to enjoy it and then come back and get ready for New York.”
What about the bragging rights for the last Battle of the Bay Area?
“It’s big time. It’s beautiful being a part of history. We won handsomely so the Raiders can’t say much from here on out, but it was a great game. Everybody is happy. We’re excited to get that ‘W.’”
What about yourself, personally? You led the charge with two-and-a-half sacks.
“I just go out there and play as hard as I can. I didn’t really think about it. We were all just racing to the quarterback. I know [San Francisco 49ers DL Ronald Blair III] Ronnie had two, [San Francisco 49ers DL DeForest Buckner] DeFo had one early. Everyone was getting there. [San Francisco 49ers LB] Dekoda [Watson] was wreaking havoc all night. The defensive line is always a group effort.”
49ers T Mike McGlinchey
How good was San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens tonight?
“Nick was awesome tonight. It was no surprise to any of us. He is a guy that comes into work every single day and takes a lot of pride in knowing his stuff and being one of the most prepared guys in our building. He has just been a guy that has been grinding and grinding quietly and waiting for his shot. He got it tonight and just ran with it, and I couldn’t be more proud of him and the way that he played.”
Anything about his play surprise you at all?
“No not at all. He played an awesome game tonight. He comes into practice every day, he comes into meetings every day, he is just a pro. He showed it tonight. It shows by how he was completing passes. He was anticipating throws. He knew where the ball was supposed to be and where it needed to be. It makes our job a lot easier protecting that way and he certainly lights up scoreboards a little bit better. It was just awesome, and nothing surprises us about that. Nick played his butt off and I just couldn’t be more excited for him.”
49ers G/C Weston Richburg
It seemed pretty seamless between you and San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens, was it?
“He did a great job. I was very happy with how he came in. He came in all week super prepared. It was a short week but he was ready to go, and it showed for him.”
Have you ever seen anything like that? A guy that was undrafted free agent, practice squad all last year and first start does this.
“No. It was really cool and he deserves that because he works really hard.”
Who is Nick Mullens?
“A young guy that works really hard. He came in this week ready to go out and play well and it paid off for him.”
He has some pedigree right being from Southern Mississippi?
“Yes. There is another guy from Southern Miss, that was a quarterback and Nick holds all of his records there, so, it shows because he is a good player.”
49ers CB Richard Sherman
You have gone against San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens in practice as a scout team quarterback, I’m guessing that you are not too surprised by that performance?
“No. I’m not surprised at all. It was cool that he didn’t change in the big lights under the circumstances. He gets out in practice and we will be in a walk through and obviously he is the scout team quarterback of the walk through and he will get upset when we pick the ball off. It’s like well this is a walk through and we are the starting defense so we are supposed to know the plays and pick the ball off. He is like, ‘I’m getting judged off these interceptions so no.’ He is trying to shred us in a walk-thru 7-on-7. He is a really competitive guy. He really cares and he is really about the details so obviously we are not surprised. We have seen him do it in practice. He plays with a lot of confidence even when he, is running other team’s plays. He is not like, ‘I’ll just throw it up and let the defense intercept it.’ He is like, ‘No I’m going to find the hole and drill it in and make you guys feel like these plays are unstoppable.”’
You guys had your best performance of the season on defense. How did it feel to have everything clicking?
“It felt great. [DB] Tyvis Powell deserves a lot of credit. Last week he came in after not practicing safety for four or five weeks and did an admirable job this week. Another short week, he only had a couple days to prepare, and played a great game outside of a dropped pick, missed opp. We will talk about that later. He did a great job. [DB] Jimmie Ward obviously has been asked to play a ton of positions this year. He played his best game of the season just playing sound discipline football. [San Francisco 49ers LBs] Elijah Lee and Malcom Smith came in for [San Francisco 49ers LB] Ruben [Foster] and played sound football. [LB] Mark Nzeocha played good. The D-line was hunting. [DE] Cassius [Marsh] was hunting. [DE] Ronnie [Ronald] Blair he gets limited reps and comes in and makes an impact. Obviously [DT DeForest Buckner] DeFo and Arik [Armstead] were making impacts. I didn’t get a chance to be a part of the pass rush this week. I am kind of upset about that but I was happy with the way we performed. [DB] Ahkello Witherspoon, obviously this is his fourth good game in a row and he stacked them. A lot is made when he is having a bad game but when he is locking guys down and not giving up a lot of catches and playing soundly there is not a lot of noise being made. Obviously, corner is one of those positions that gets under appreciated when you are playing great.”
49ers T Joe Staley
Everyone has talked about San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens’ preparation. Were you able to see that?
“Yes, for sure. He’s been working very, very hard for the last two years. Obviously, since he got here as an undrafted quarterback just trying to make the roster as a rookie, his work ethic has shown every single day since he’s been here. I knew, and everyone in this locker room knew, that he was ready for this moment because he prepared for it. Guys would feel differently if he acted different, but he’s been in here for the last two years, knew the offense, knew the gameplan and was ready to take advantage of it.”
What was Mullens like in the huddle?
“He was assertive. He was confident. He was exactly what you would want. He did well. I just reminded him during the game it’s just one play at a time. I think that first drive was really big for him just to get the momentum. We were moving the chains, we go down there and score on the first series. That was big for his confidence, and it went up from there.”
In terms of protection, what can you take from this game?
“We really did a good job. The last couple of weeks in particular have been a struggle for us up front as far as protecting the quarterback. I thought we did a good job today. We just have to try to keep that moving forward. We have a long weekend and we have a lot of guys banged up, especially up front. So, it will be nice to have this long weekend and get healthy.”
Was there anything about the play of Mullens that surprised you?
“Not really. I kind of knew him and his personality. It’s one of those feel-good stories of this guy that works hard consistently and doesn’t complain about the lack of opportunities that he’s had. He’s just always ready for his moment, and his moment came up today on national television. He came up in a big way.”
How much does it help to have a third-string quarterback that can run the full breadth of the offense?
“It’s huge. All three guys have been here for two years – well [49ers QB] Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t – but [49ers QB] C.J. Beathard and Nick have been here for two years and completely understand this offense. [Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan]’s offense is pretty complex, especially for quarterbacks. I think Nick will tell you it wasn’t flawless today. There were some communication issues and stuff that we can improve on, but overall it was an unbelievable job. I’m just really happy for him.”