Nick Mullens had a perfect NFL debut
If you hadn’t heard of Nick Mullens before last Thursday, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of him by now. The former Southern Miss Golden Eagle made his NFL debut for the San Fransisco 49ers on Thursday night against the Raiders, in a game where Mullens wasn’t given much of a chance. Mullens was signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2017 Draft, and had never attempted a pass in an NFL game heading into his first start. While Jimmy G is still the future of the 49ers, Mullens has definitely made a name for himself in his debut.
The Raiders are an awful team this year. Their defense can’t stop a nosebleed, Derek Carr seemingly forgot how to play football, and it doesn’t help that they’ve traded two of their best players in recent memory over the last few months. But don’t let that distract you from the fact that Mullens was beyond impressive in his first ever NFL appearance. The 23-year-old completed 16 of his 22 pass attempts for 262 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Now, while it might be a bit early to go out and buy yourself a Nick Mullens jersey, we know that we’ll get another chance to see him in action now that the 49ers have named him the starter for their Week 10 game against the New York Giants on Monday night. But if you do get a jersey for yourself or see somebody else wearing one, make sure to send it to us on Twitter at @benchlifesports or to the jersey critic himself, @twaind4.
The play of Mullens, along with some help from running backs Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert who combined for 130 rushing yards, propelled the 49ers to a 34-3 win against the Raiders. Unfortunately for San Fran, they’ll be without Mostert moving forward after breaking his left arm in the third quarter. Now, before you click that link, I’m warning you that it’s gross, but you also probably won’t be able to look away. Enjoy.
With the win, the 49ers improved to 2-7 while the Raiders fell to a miserable 1-7. It’s safe to say that the Bay Area isn’t exactly a hot spot for good football right now, but at least they still have the Warriors.
Luckily, for some football fans in Southern California, there is some good football to watch. The Rams and Chargers are both putting together impressive seasons. The Chargers have been overshadowed by the Chiefs in the AFC West, but are currently averaging 27.5 points per game while posting a 6-2 record. As good as they’ve been, they’re still not the best team in LA. Heading into Week 9, the Rams were undefeated and have been the most impressive team overall this season. They were up against their biggest test of the season, against another top NFC team in the Saints. After losing their first game of the year against the Bucs, New Orleans has gone on a roll and entered the week with a 7-1 record.
As expected, the game was a shootout from the very beginning. The Saints played a perfect first half, outscoring the Rams 35-17 through 30 minutes. New Orleans took advantage of a late second-quarter interception thanks to an amazing play by Alex Anzalone.
Despite the big lead at halftime, the Rams started the second half with 18 unanswered points to tie the game up. It seemed as though all the momentum was going in favour of Los Angeles. The Saints managed to take the lead back on a 54 yard field goal by Wil Lutz and were looking to ice the game with the ball once again. That’s when Brees found Michael Thomas down the sideline, and somewhere the 1972 Dolphins were celebrating just as much as Saints fans were.
Thomas finished the day with 211 yards and the touchdown shown above, earning him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honours. Meanwhile, Drew Brees finished the game with 346 yards and four touchdowns, while Alvin Kamara added 82 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. For the Rams, Goff finished with 391 yards, 3 touchdowns but that one costly interception, while Gurley had a good game by most standards, but less than what we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him with just 68 yards and a touchdown.
After that game, NFL fans were treated yet another superstar match up, this time between the GOAT, and another quarterback who’s also pretty good but not quite as good.
The Patriots and Packers have had kind of unusual seasons up to this point. In Green Bay, a healthy Aaron Rodgers was supposed to be a key factor in an NFC North title, but with a 3-3-1 record heading into the game last Sunday night, clearly the team has more issues. For the Patriots, they were 6-2 heading into the game, which many other fanbases would love to have, but in New England things haven’t felt the way they usually do. The Patriots got off to a slow start to the season, losing to the Jaguars and Lions, but have been undefeated since then. Despite that, those early season struggles seem to have fans discouraged about the rest of the season, but their Week 9 performance might have put some of that doubt to rest.
The Patriots were missing Sony Michel and Gronk due to injuries, while the Packers were playing their first game since trading Ty Montgomery and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. Despite missing two of their best offensive playmakers, the Patriots offense was able to slice up the Packers defense with ease. After a close first half in which the Patriots were up 17-10 at the break, the Packers added a touchdown in the third quarter to tie the game heading into the final 15 minutes. The turning point in the game came in the fourth quarter when Packers running back Aaron Jones fumbled. After that, the Patriots outscored Green Bay 14-0 on their way to a 31-17 win.
Tom Brady finished the game with 294 yards and a touchdown, and while he entered the game at 997 career rushing yards, a few kneel downs at the end of the game actually meant that Brady finished the game with -1 yards on the ground. Brady’s favourite targets were Josh Gordon with 130 yards and a touchdown, James White with 72 yards, and Julian Edelman with 71. Unlike last week, the Patriots running game actually performed well without Michel on the field. White had 31 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, but it was Cordarrelle Patterson who was the leading rusher for the Patriots with 61 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts. New England’s offense was dynamic all night long, and a few trick plays including a flea flicker and a double pass highlighted the creativity that Josh McDaniels had with his play calling.
For the Packers, Rodgers did just about all that he could but was held in check in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 259 yards and two touchdowns, finding Jimmy Graham and Davante Adams for one each. But it was Marquez Valdes-Scantling who was the leading receiver with 101 yards on just three receptions. Aaron Jones was playing well prior to his fumble and finished the game with 75 rushing yards, leading the Packers.
With the win, the Patriots moved to 7-2 and are beginning to pull away in the AFC East standings. While there are still some question marks about the team, specifically with the defense, New England has shown that they still deserve to be one of the favourites in the AFC. Things are a little bit different for Green Bay though, now sitting with a 3-4-1 record. They’re in third place in the NFC North, while the Bears are currently atop the standings with a 5-3 record. While they still have plenty of time to catch up, it’s getting to the point in the season where some of the minor problems should have been worked out by now. This either means that Mike McCarthy hasn’t been able to adjust, or that the problems with Green Bay are too big to fix mid-season. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers still isn’t 100% after injuring his knee in Week 1. Things aren’t exactly looking great, but it’s hard to ever count out Rodgers.
In case you missed it, check out the Week 9 recap here.