San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens spoke to the media after Sunday’s game to discuss his performance and his teammates.
Q: Nick, just give us your general summation of how you felt managing the huddle and how the offense clicked today.
It felt really good. I felt really confident in my preparation. Coach Shanahan talks about the buildup. Wednesday you get the game plan. Thursday you get third downs and it all builds up to Sunday. By Sunday, you’re just as confident as can be. I just approached it with a relaxed mindset. I was ready to go out and execute and I thought we did a really good job as an offense and as a team.
Q: You guys did not punt today and didn’t have any turnovers with a lot of really long drives. You had the ball for a long time. What are the keys to just making drives like that continue to sustain when you have to piece it together the way you did without a bunch of big plays?
I think the biggest plays were to just to stay ahead of the chains and convert on third downs. I think early in the first half, we were moving the ball pretty good, but we kind of got some second and long situation and had to overcome a lot of stuff to keep it going. In the second half, those field goals turned to touchdowns which was huge. To create that rhythm, there was a lot of team football going on today out there. All 11 guys just working together as a unit.
Q: Coach Shanahan said that you don’t hesitate out there. When you see it, you let it rip. Can you explain that mentality and the urgency to take advantage of opportunities?
That’s what you have to live by. That kind of goes back to the whole preparation leads up to the game and then once Sunday hits; you play with a clear mind. You see it and react. I’m not the fastest, most athletic guy, but I think I can react pretty quickly. That’s what I think I’m doing pretty well at. It’s a lot of fun.
Q: Obviously you guys are missing some of your top pass catchers. Where does the confidence from guys like (Brandon) Aiyuk doing it for the first time today with Ross Dwelley, Jerick McKinnon. Just given that they don’t have that body of work recently.
We have really good football players. We are very well aware of that. Aiyuk coming in - he really stepped it up in the second half. He did a great job to get 100 all purpose. Dwelley is one of the most consistent guys in the building since he’s been here. He’s just proved it every single time he’s got the chance. He continued to do that today. Jet (Jerick) the same way. We have 53 guys who are ready to work and do their job and step up when their numbers are called. I think that’s what we did today.
Q: Kyle was talking about Monday and Tuesday where the vibe wasn’t great just because of all the injuries. He thought just the week of practice was so good that he really wasn’t surprised by this outcome today. Did you kind of get a similar sense of the ups and downs of the week?
I think so. I think we all know how it felt after that Jets win. When I played bad, I really didn’t feel any sort of excitement that I got there on the field. I knew I could do better. Obviously, with the injuries - the feeling that it does to a franchise, we’re well aware of that. That’s the painful part of the NFL. We try to keep going. Stuff happens during a long 17, 18 week season. We have to roll with it. I thought the guys did a great job stepping up throughout the week. So much information goes in and you just grind it out. Sunday comes and you let it rip. We did a great job of that today.
Q: What kind of offseason work did you put in with your pylon reconstruction game and why is that something that is so important to you?
It’s not. Y’all can take that joke and do what you want with it, but I told people last week, I think I told y’all earlier in the week, I was just messing around the first time. Today, the o-lineman grabbed it and said, ‘Hey, set it up.’ So I guess I said I’ll keep riding with it. It’s just fun. It’s fun to play with your teammates. The guys have the right mindset, you know, attack, attack, attack, and then have fun when you score. So that’s why I love this team.
Q: I think you threw to Jordan Reed three times early in the game. How big a part of the game plan was he entering the contest?
Pretty big, but we’re well aware of the weapons that we have with KB (Kendrick Bourne) and all the other guys and all the route runners that we have. He was a pretty big part and I thought in third and 10, when you need it down there close, he’s such an easy target. He’s so talented. I definitely hope he’s healthy. He’s a great player and we’re pumped to have him on our team.
Q: Kyle has joked that Jimmy Garoppolo plays a little better after he’s been hit in the game. You took some hits in that game. Is it the same mentality for you?
A: I don’t really think about it to be honest. I just prepare as hard as I can and go out and do my job as best to my ability as I can. But yes, it’s probably accurate. It’s a fairly generally accurate statement for all quarterbacks. You definitely want to settle in and get a rhythm going and that’s kind of how it works.