Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Shanahan impressed with Nick Mullens’ resilience in 49ers’ win over Rams

Nov 29, 2020 at 8:25 PM--


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens wasn't exactly at his best against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, but he fought through adversity to do what needed to be done for his team to come away from L.A. with a 23-20 win, which seemed to be more than enough for head coach Kyle Shanahan to be satisfied with his performance.

Mullens finished the game 24 of 35 for 252 yards and one interception while facing a consistent challenge from a Rams defense led by elite lineman Aaron Donald. Mullens had a few moments to forget during the game, one of which came on an ugly overthrow of wide-open tight end Jordan Reed on a third-down play in the first half and another on his interception, which came on a pass that was deflected by Donald. But Mullens kept his composure throughout the game and was able to help rally the 49ers in the end, which Shanahan clearly appreciated based on his postgame comments.

"Today he overthrew Jordan Reed on a double-move but the corner was bailing in three deep," Shanahan told reporters after the game. "He didn't have enough time to really see it. We were trying to take a shot, and I think right when he threw it he got hit. But that was overthrown. If he could see it, I'd love to progress and check it down or put it on Jordan more. But he let it rip a couple times today. He let one go down the middle for a big throw. I thought he hit Juice on the sidelines for a big throw on the second-to-last drive.

"I was real impressed with Nick today. It's not an easy position at all going against that defense, if you watch how they play versus a lot of people. I know it was very tough today, that whole defense, the whole scheme, especially 99 (Aaron Donald). Nick's tough, keeps battling and kept coming back. That pick that he had was just unfortunate on the tip but he never went into a shell and just held onto the ball. He kept letting it rip and made enough plays for us to win the game."

Four of Mullens' completions came on the game-winning drive, which ended with a 42-yard field goal from Robbie Gould at the end of regulation. The drive showed resilience from both Mullens and the 49ers as a team after falling behind early in the fourth quarter.

"(I was) definitely faced with adversity during the game, would have liked to make a couple more plays and take advantage of some opportunities," Mullens said after the win. "But the biggest thing on the last drive, I was just trying to stay in the moment. That's really kind of what I've been telling myself -- just stay in the moment. You're really only as good as your next play. Just keeping that mentality and not really worrying about what happened previously, just play the next play and it led to success."

The up-and-down performance from Mullens mirrored what the 49ers showed throughout the game, especially in the second half. The 49ers controlled the game defensively through most of the first three quarters, but 17 quick points from the Rams at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth quarter resulted in a clear momentum shift in the opposite direction and caused the 49ers to fall behind 20-17 after holding a 17-3 lead. But the 49ers were able to persevere down the stretch and come away with a much-needed win that kept their playoff hopes alive, thanks in part to Mullens and the offense doing just enough to get the job done.

"It was crazy," Mullens said. "I feel like anything that can happen in the game happened. It just shows the grit, the determination of this team. Was it perfect? Heck no, it wasn't perfect at all. But the defense played incredible. The offense, I guess you could say we delivered when we had to."





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