Goodness gracious, just how bad are the Oakland Raiders? But more than that, how great did San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens look in his NFL debut Thursday night?
Historically great, in fact. That’s how great.
Thursday night, the 49ers went improved to 2-7 on their season with a convincing 34-3 beatdown of the Raiders. Mullens shined the brightest, completing 72.7% of his passes (16-of-22) for 262 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Not a perfect passer rating, but close — 151.9 to be exact. Though, he didn’t come into Thursday’s contest entirely well-rested.
“I slept good except I woke up about every hour,” Mullens told ESPN’s Nick Wagoner with a laugh following the game. “But those hours were great. I slept pretty good.”
Statistically speaking, it was one of the best performances by a quarterback making their debut in league history. For starters, Mullens led the Niners to touchdowns on his opening two drives. He also posted the highest passer rating by a QB making their first start since the merger (1970).
But what did coach Kyle Shanahan think of the performance?
“You never know until you see someone. He didn’t surprise us in terms of, the game’s not too big for Nick,” he told reporters following the game.
Here’s a couple of other feats Mullens accomplished Thursday night:
- He’s now 1 of only 4 QBs to throw for 3 or more TDs in their first game over the past 25 years.
- A 250-plus yard, three-TD, no interception debut performance? Only Fran Tarkenton and Jim Kelly have done it since 1950.
- No other Niners QB had thrown for three touchdowns in his first game.
So yes, the Raiders (1-7) are truly bad and should feel awful. But Thursday night was a special one for Mullens, an undrafted quarterback out of Southern Mississippi.
Will we get to see more of it?