Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
Disclaimer: The 49ers played the Raiders tonight, that skews everything
Mullens made his first pro start after spending a season and a half on the 49ers’ practice squad. Mullens proceeded to exceed expectations handily. The 49ers scored on five of their first six possessions and looked the best they have since last year. Mullens showed an aptitude to process the play quickly and get the ball out on time to his receivers. Along with the ability to quickly process the play, Mullens showed the ability to deliver the ball from various arm angles with accuracy. He finished with an impressive line of 16-of-22 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. But most importantly he didn’t take a sack and was able to keep the offense on track and moving fluidly. Mullens should absolutely get the start when the 49ers take on the Giants on Monday Night Football.
The front seven came to play on Thursday night. It was their best performance of the season as they constantly harassed Derek Carr and AJ McCarron. The defense finished with seven sacks and nine quarterback hits. Robert Saleh was masterful at bringing pressure either through stunts for additional pressure from linebackers and defensive backs. Dekoda Watson was particularly impressive in his first action since being promoted from the practice squad, totalling 1.5 sacks, one tackle for a loss, and three quarterback hits. Watson has always had plus-level athletic ability, but it was a question of if he would be able to add technique to become a legitimate option as a pass rusher.
The issues with C.J. Beathard were consistent from week to week; slow to process the offense and holding onto the ball for too long. Mullens was the exact opposite of that. Beathard has had more time in the offense then Jimmy Garoppolo, but has shown almost no signs of growing as a quarterback from last season. Beathard is Kyle Shanahan’s guy, he wanted him in last year’s draft and got him; will Shanahan stick with him next week? Mullens played well enough to earn a second start; after tonight’s performance Beathard may be the back-up to the back-up.
Mitchell should have been pulled weeks ago. D.J. Jones is a comparable talent at nose tackle and costs a fraction of the price. The most memorable play that Mitchell had tonight was lining up at fullback during a goal line play in the second quarter. If we’re being 100% honest Jones shouldn’t be receiving that much playing time at the 1-technique either, the best line up for the defense is Buckner at the 1-technique and Solomon Thomas next to him at the 3-technique. Was tonight Saleh’s wake-up call that the team has better options then Mitchell on the line? Hopefully
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