It was a memorable night for Nick Mullens; for the Oakland Raiders though, not so much.
Announced as the starter in the stead of an injured C.J. Beathard just a few hours before kickoff, the former Southern Miss Golden Eagle – and former college teammate of Jalen Richard – had quite the NFL debut, effectively leading the 49ers offense as they took care of the Silver and Black 34-3.
Mullens started his night six of six, and he then carried the momentum of that hot start for 60 minutes, finishing his big night with three passing touchdowns.
The 49ers offensive attack was multifaceted too, as the group ran for north of 120 yards on the ground as well.
As far as the Raiders were concerned, after a promising opening drive where they ultimately had to settle three points, nothing else came easy for the Silver and Black’s offense at Levi’s Stadium Thursday night.
While Carr did connect on 16 of 22 passes, No. 4 just didn’t have any time to operate against the 49ers, and the stats bear that out – he was sacked four times in the first half, and when all was said and done, he had been taken down six times behind the line of scrimmage before ceding the quarterbacking responsibilities to AJ McCarron for the rest of the evening.
Regardless of who you are, being under that type of pressure all night is a huge challenge for any quarterback, and that proved to be the case for Carr.
While the Raiders did get a touch of good news Week 9 – All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele returned to action after missing the past few games – as we said earlier, Derek Carr was under duress for the entirety of the primetime affair.
And to be fair, the big fellas up front were forced into a handful of personnel changes as the night wore on, particularly after rookie left tackle Kolton Miller was ruled out with a knee injury in the third quarter.
After his departure, the Silver and Black had to get creative, moving Osemele outside to left tackle for a time, then inserting Jon Feliciano at left guard.
However, regardless of the personnel alignment, the results remained the same, as the offense couldn’t find a rhythm, and Mullens and the 49ers could seemingly do no wrong, rattling off a 34-0 run that spanned much of the 60-minute affair.
While the offensive and defensive units certainly had their fair share of issues, the Raiders special teams unit wasn’t immune from their own errors Thursday night. While Daniel Carlson provided the Raiders lone points of the evening, he also missed a kick in the fourth quarter as well.
There’s no way around it; Thursday was a tough one for the Silver and Black, and now sitting at 1-7, Head Coach Jon Gruden’s team will have to go back to the drawing board, as they embark on the second half of 2018.
The Silver and Black will be back in their Alameda, Calif., facility tomorrow before breaking for the weekend, and enjoying a few days off.
When they return to work, they’ll begin preparing in earnest for their Week 10 clash with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Philip Rivers and Co., beat the Raiders 26-10 at StubHub Center earlier this year, so Derek Carr and the Silver and Black will look to split the season series with their Southern California rivals next weekend.
Photos of the game action during the Raiders' Week 9 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium.