Mullens has sterling debut in 49ers’ rout of the Raiders
Published 1:37 am Friday, November 2, 2018
By Josh Dubow
AP Pro Football Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Nick Mullens threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns for the most productive NFL debut since the merger, leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 34-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders in a lopsided Battle of the Bay on Thursday night.
George Kittle made an impressive one-handed catch on a 71-yard play that set up his touchdown from Mullens and Pierre Garcon caught his first TD pass in two seasons with the 49ers (2-7), who snapped a six-game losing streak and won for just the second time in two years without Jimmy Garpppolo at quarterback.
Mullens got the nod after C.J. Beathard injured his right wrist last week and made the most of his opportunity against a defense for the Raiders (1-7) that is one of the worst in the league.
The former undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi got rid of the ball quickly and took advantages of several breakdowns in coverage for big plays, including the 24-yard TD pass to a wide-open Garcon on the opening drive.
Mullens finished 16 for 22 and had a 151.9 passer rating, the highest for a quarterback with at least 15 attempts in an NFL debut since the 1970 merger. He threw TD passes to Garcon and Kendrick Bourne on the opening two drives and coasted from there to the most lopsided win in this series since San Francisco won the first meeting 38-7 in 1970.
Raheem Mostert added a 52-yard touchdown run and the Niners outgained the Raiders 405 to 248 for the game.
In what was perhaps the worst prime-time matchup in NFL history, only the Raiders played down to expectations. They provided little resistance on defense against an undrafted quarterback making his NFL debut, did nothing offensively after driving for as field goal on the opening drive and put together the most listless performance yet in coach Jon Gruden’s second stint as coach.
Oakland has now lost four games in a row, getting outscored by 85 points during the skid, and are just playing out the string in a season that began with optimism because of Gruden’s return.
Carr finished 16 for 22 for 171 yards and was sacked five times before being replaced by AJ McCarron in the fourth quarter. McCarron was sacked once.
Mullens performed so well that he even got his Twitter account verified during the game.
Carr was sacked four times in the first half for the first time in his career as the Raiders struggled to provide much protection against a 49ers defense that has not generated much pressure all year. Dekoda Watson had 1 1/2 sacks in his first game of the season after getting activated from IR earlier in the day.
Former Niners receiver Terrell Owens was presented his Hall of Fame ring at a halftime ceremony. Owens was voted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year but skipped the induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, to hold his own celebration at his college in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Owens said he was upset at the voters who made him wait three years for the honor, saying he believed they brought in off-field issues into their deliberations instead of focusing solely on what Owens did as a player.
“This is awesome,” Owens said before the game. “This is an opportunity to give something to the fans. Ever since I left in 2003 and went on and did some great things, but this is where it started my first eight years of my career.”
Raiders left tackle Kolton Miller left with a knee injury. … Mostert left after injuring his forearm in the third quarter.
Raiders: Host Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 11.
49ers: Host New York Giants on Nov. 12.
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