Being a backup quarterback in the NFL isn’t the sexiest gig in the league, but we saw how important it is to have a capable one in the San Francisco 49ers 36-9 win over the New York Giants.
With Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined with an ankle injury, Nick Mullens made his first start in nearly two years and led the team to victory. The 25-year-old undrafted free agent managed the game well, but it wasn’t smooth from the start.
The Niners’ offense struggled to finish drives in the first half. Mullens missed throws to Brandon Aiyuk and Jordan Reed that could have resulted in six points. The lone touchdown came on a 10-yard run by Jerick McKinnon, while kicker Robbie Gould hit three field goals to give the 49ers a 16-6 lead at the break.
It looked like the Giants were going to be able to stay in the game, but Mullens and the offense came on in the second half to put the game out of reach. The quarterback was nearly flawless after the break. Mullens completed his first six passes of the third quarter and went 11-of-12 for 156 yards and a score during the second half.
Mullens finished the game 25-of-36 for 343 yards and a touchdown. He was able to spread the ball around with 10 different 49ers players finishing with at least one reception.
Mullens became the first San Francisco quarterback since Joe Montana to throw for at least 220 yards over his first nine starts.
We don’t know if Garoppolo will be ready to go on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but if he isn’t, head coach Kyle Shanahan and the of the Niners know they’re still in very capable hands.