Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
When I heard Nick Mullens would be starting under center for the first time in his young career during this game, I instantly thought it would be a good thing for the 49ers. After so many losses in a row, this team sorely needed a fresh face to help get a win again, especially against a bad team.
Mullens may be a third-string quarterback, but he looked impressive in the pre-season and word from the locker room was that he was liked and respected. So, when the 23-year old former Southern Miss star took the field in Santa Clara tonight, I could sense an uptick in energy that would benefit the team.
The rookie didn’t disappoint and right from the first snap, he was very impressive. He led his first two drives down the field mistake-free and the 49ers picked up two touchdowns, plus a field goal right before halftime. All told, Mullens finished the first half 12-of-17, for 167 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
A terrible Raiders defense also aided Mullens and the Niners offense all night long. Oakland committed several penalties, left gaping holes and missed tackles the duration of the game. Its offense didn’t fare any better with a porous offensive line that allowed eight sacks and more penalties.
As good as Mullens was, so too was the 49ers pass rush which put Carr on his back so many times tonight. The rest of the San Francisco defense did their job all night as well and held the Raiders to three measly points.
In the end, tonight was the Nick Mullens show. He finished the game with a 151.9 passer rating, went 16-for-22, for 262 yards and had 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. The Raiders may have made it easy for him to do well tonight, but he was also prepared, poised and ready for his big debut. He gets an A+ as well as the rest of the team who ran all over Oakland tonight.
Carr marched his Raiders down the field methodically from the 25-yard line to about the 20, being aided by 49ers blown coverages to give them a good start. But, once in the red zone, a penalty and added pressure by the Niners forced a field goal. Overall, San Francisco left too many open men and let Oakland get dangerously close to a touchdown.
Mullens looked extremely impressive during his first drive down the field. He played mistake-free football, read the opposing defense well and went 3-for-3 for 41 yards and a threw a touchdown pass to Garcon.
The 49ers defense looked much improved the second time around including a sack on Carr by Buckner forcing a three and out.
Mullens continues his excellent play by getting the ball out of his hands quickly. Through a variety of plays downfield, the 49ers are able to get another touchdown, this time by Bourne from a perfect Mullens strike. Mullens is now 9-of-11, for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Once again, the Raiders offense started out well and was able to move the football on several nice gains until an offensive holding penalty and another Carr sack (by Blair) forced a punt.
Mullens and company are finally stopped. The Raiders defense stepped it up and forced a third-and-long, despite having another holding penalty.
The 49ers defense has done a good job so far in this game of stopping the Raiders from converting on third downs, until now. But, San Francisco stopped any further progress with a second third down sack on Carr by Watson and Marsh. Also, Armstead nearly intercepted a Carr pass, but failed yet again to get a takeaway.
After a big 53-yard catch by James to bring the 49ers into the red zone, he then dropped a pass that would have surely been a touchdown. Instead, San Francisco settles for a field goal.
After the half, it was another impressive drive by the 49ers under a poised Mullens. Kittle caught a one-handed pass and secured it for 72 yards and a touchdown on the next drive.
Carr was sacked for the fourth time tonight. This time, by Watson. It is clear that the Raiders offensive line is in disarray with a player being benched for three penalties tonight and another one injured. Raiders go three and out.
The 49ers get another touchdown on a Mostert 52-yard run behind a McGlinchey screen. To this point, Mullens is 15-of-20, 260 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Sloppy play by the Raiders offense and continued pressure by the 49ers defense causes a punt.
Struggles by the Niners offense running the football forces a punt. Unfortunately, running back Mostert is injured on a play and taken off the field. It looked to be a broken arm.
The Raiders offense gets going once again and is able to get a couple of big gains behind running back Martin and wide receiver Bryant. Carr is also able to help himself with a couple of run plays and slides. But, another sack by Marsh forces the Raiders into an attempted 45-yard field goal that hits the upright for no points.
A short possession characterized by Breida tripping himself, and a wide and incomplete dropped pass by Goodwin forces a fourth and out for the 49ers.
Carr is benched and in his place is backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. They attempt to go for it on a four-and-inches play and McCarron tries to push his way in, but fails to get over the line. Ouch.
Mullens and crew get a short field and initially get a field goal attempt, but a Raiders penalty brings the 49ers back to a first down. Unable to get a touchdown, the Niners bring Gould back out on the field for another field goal attempt, which goes through.
McCarron returns and has pressure put on him by the Niners defense once again. Punt and then the 49ers run the clock out.
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