Shanahan to 'Consider' Nick Mullens as 49ers' Starter When C.J. Beathard Healthy

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said he'll "consider" keeping Nick Mullens as the Niners' starting quarterback after his three-touchdown performance in place of the injured C.J. Beathard in Thursday night's 34-3 blowout win over the Oakland Raiders

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area noted Shanahan wasn't prepared to announce any long-term plans immediately after the victory, though.

"Yeah, definitely we'll consider [making Mullens the starter]," he said. "Definitely not thinking about that right now, but our whole team played very well. Nick definitely did."

Mullens completed 16 of his 22 attempts for 262 yards with the three scores and no interceptions in an impressive first NFL start.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Nick Mullens threw 3 TDs in his NFL debut, leading the 49ers to a season-high 34 points in 34-3 victory over Raiders. He became the first player in 49ers history to throw 3 TDs in his debut His 151.9 passer rating is the highest by any player in his NFL debut since 1970 merger.

The win snapped the 49ers' six-game losing streak, including five since Beathard, who missed Thursday's contest because of wrist and thumb injuries, took the offensive reins after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending torn ACL.

Rich Eisen @richeisen

Do not adjust your sets: Nick Mullens now has as many TD passes as the entire Buffalo Bills team in 2018.

Shanahan didn't want to pin the recent issues entirely on Beathard, per Maiocco:

"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."

Beathard has connected on 60.4 percent of his throws with eight touchdowns and seven picks across six games in 2018. He didn't throw for three or more scores in any of his starts. Pro Football Focus grades him as the league's 26th-best quarterback.

It's too soon to tell whether Mullens, who went undrafted out of Southern Miss in 2017, could be the real deal or the Niners simply found lightning in a bottle against a bad Raiders team.

That said, Shanahan likely has little choice but to give Mullens another start when San Francisco takes on the New York Giants in Week 10, even if Beathard is healthy.