The 49ers have a quarterback controversy. It's just not the one we expected.
Nick Mullens started his third straight game in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday night, and he struggled mightily against the Philadelphia Eagles. Mullens completed 18-of-26 pass attempts for 200 yards, but committed three very costly turnovers, the last of which prompted coach Kyle Shanahan to bench him in favor of C.J. Beathard.
After Mullens threw a terrible interception that was returned for a touchdown, Beathard came in and provided the 49ers with a boost. He completed 9-of-10 passes on a 75-yard touchdown drive that got San Francisco back within a single score of Philadelphia.
The 49ers then forced the Eagles into a 3-and-out and had a chance to win the game on the final possession, but a hail mary into the end zone fell incomplete as time expired, finalizing a 25-20 loss.
Shanahan was very clear in the week leading up to the game against the Eagles that the 49ers remain Jimmy Garoppolo's team and that he is the unquestioned starter when he returns from his injury. It appeared Mullens had a stranglehold on the backup job, but that might no longer be the case.
The 49ers know who their starter is, but that doesn't mean they won't have a QB controversy leading into what is now a very important game against the Miami Dolphins next week. Hopefully Garoppolo is able to return and eliminate that possibility.