49ers

49ers takeaways: What we learned from 34-3 dismantling of Raiders

49ers

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SANTA CLARA -- Nick Mullens' NFL debut was a memorable one.

The quarterback delivered in a big way, as the 49ers ended their six-game losing streak with a 34-3 win over the Raiders on Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium.

Mullens, an undrafted second-year pro from Southern Miss, got the call because 49ers starter C.J. Beathard was less than 100 percent with right wrist and thumb injuries.

Mullens put together a strong showing against Jon Gruden’s beleaguered Raiders. Mullens completed 16 of 22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns, and he was not intercepted. His passer rating was 151.9.

Here are three quick takeaways from the 49ers’ win over the Raiders:

Mullens’ blazing start

The entire playbook was open to Mullens, who has been with the 49ers since signing in the spring of 2017.

The offense rolled smoothly, as Mullens converted the team's first four third-down opportunities and threw touchdown passes to cap his first two drives.

Mullens found wide receiver Pierre Garçon all alone for a 24-yard TD pass after the Raiders kicked a field goal on their opening drive. Then, Mullens and Kendrick Bourne hooked up for a 4-yard score on the next possession.

Mullens became just the second 49ers quarterback since at least 2000 to throw TD passes on each of the first two drives of a game. Colin Kaepernick also threw TD passes on his first drives of the 2014 season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Through the first half, Mullens completed 12 of 17 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and a passer rating of 141.1. The 49ers led 17-3 at halftime.

Pass rush emerges

The 49ers entered Thursday with one of the most anemic pass rushes in the NFL. But against the Raiders, they generated consistent pressure on quarterback Derek Carr.

The 49ers recorded 16 sacks in their first eight games of the season, but they pressured Carr in the first half for four sacks and finished with eight for the night.

Cassius Marsh recorded 2½ sacks. Dekoda Watson, who made his season debut after spending the first eight weeks on injured reserve, was credited with 1½ sacks. DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas and Ronald Blair had one sack apiece.

Carr was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter after completing 16 of 22 passes for 171 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions.

Closing it out

In six of the 49ers’ first eight games, they either held the lead or had been within one score in the fourth. Their only victory, however, came in Week 2, when they nearly let a 17-point lead get away against the Detroit Lions.

So, yes, closing has been an issue for Shanahan’s team.

That wasn't the case this time. Although the 49ers were playing on a short week after a tough loss to the Arizona Cardinals, they looked well-rested and fast against the Raiders.

The 49ers blew the game open at the start of the third quarter with back-to-back touchdown drives. Tight end George Kittle had a 71-yard reception of a risky Mullens pass in traffic. Two plays later, Mullens hit Kittle for a 5-yard TD pass. Kittle finished with four catches for 108 yards.

Running back Raheem Mostert scored on a zig-zagging 52-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He later exited the game with a season-ending broken forearm. Mostert gained 86 yards on seven carries.