NFL

Nick Mullens Just Joined Joe Montana in an Exclusive Club for the San Francisco 49ers

With Jimmy Garoppolo still out of action due to injury, Nick Mullens led the San Francisco 49ers to a second consecutive win on Sunday in his first start since December 2018.

With a fantastic performance in the Niners’ 36-9 over the New York Giants, Mullens joined the legendary Joe Montana in a very exclusive club for the franchise.

Nick Mullens went undrafted out of Southern Mississippi

After Southern Miss began the 2013 season with an 0-6 record, then-Golden Eagles head coach Todd Monken gave Nick Mullens a shot at quarterback as a true freshman. In just his second game, the Little Rock native became the first true freshman quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in a game, a feat not even accomplished by the university’s most famous quarterback, Bret Favre.

Over the next four years, Nick Mullens enjoyed a solid career. In 2015 as a junior, he set single-season school records for passing yards (4,476) and touchdown passes (38) while completing 63.5% of his passes. The following season, he set a career high in yards for a single game with 591 in a 44-28 win over Rice and ended his tenure in Hattiesburg with 11,994 yards and 87 touchdown passes, both school records.

But despite the big numbers, Mullens was not taken in the 2017 NFL draft but signed with the San Francisco 49ers shortly after the draft.

He made eight starts for the 49ers in 2018 after Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL

Nick Mullens 49ers
Nick Mullens | Mike Stobe/Getty Images

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After spending his entire rookie season on the practice squad, Nick Mullens began the 2018 season but was promoted to the main roster in late September after Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

After serving as the backup to C.J. Beathard for five games, Mullens became the starting quarterback in Week 9 as Beathard was suffering from a wrist injury. Mullens remained the starter for the remainder of the season and played decent football. The 49ers went just 3-5 in his eight starts but he put up solid numbers. His 2,277 passing yards in those games were actually the fourth-most in a player’s first eight career games. Only Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, and Cam Newton threw for more.

Nick Mullens threw 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 64.2% of his passes, earning a 90.8 quarterback rating. He returned to his backup role in 2019 as Garoppolo returned to the lineup and started every game on the way to the Super Bowl.

With his performance on Sunday, Nick Mullens joined Joe Montana in an exclusive club for the 49ers

When Garoppolo left last week’s game at halftime with a high ankle sprain, Nick Mullens came in and completed eight of 11 passes for 71 yards and an interception as the 49ers rolled over the New York Jets, 31-13.

Back in MetLife Stadium on Sunday against the Giants, Mullens was fantastic in the Niners’ 36-9 romp, completing 25 of 36 passes for 343 yards and a touchdown. With the performance, Mullens became the first 49ers quarterback since Joe Montana to throw for 220 or more yards in nine straight starts, a feat Montana accomplished over a nine-game stretch from 1985-1986.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has said that when Jimmy Garoppolo is ready to return, he’ll be the starter. But Nick Mullens is certainly giving him something to think about. The Niners will host the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday night.

All stats courtesy of Sports Reference