SANTA CLARA -- 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan came out of Monday’s game believing Nick Mullens took a step forward in his development, so he'll remain the team's starting quarterback.
Mullens' stat line wasn't nearly as impressive as in his Week 9 debut against the Raiders, but his performance in the 49ers’ 27-23 loss to the New York Giants went beyond the stat line.
“Nick Mullens is our starter until I say different,” Shanahan said Tuesday.
Mullens completed 27 of 39 passes for 250 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions for a 73.7 passer rating. His TD was an 11-yard pass to Matt Breida, who was the last option in Mullens’ progression.
“What I liked about Nick is that he never seemed rattled throughout the whole game, continued playing,” Shanahan said. “He was great after the game, and he was great just watching the film with him.”
Shanahan gave Mullens an earful Monday night because of what he believed at the time was an lost opportunity for a big play against the Giants. Shanahan ended up with even more respect for Mullens after taking a closer look at the play Tuesday.
“There was one that I thought live he should’ve gotten to a deeper guy from my view on the sidelines,” Shanahan said. “I got on him for it because I wanted a bigger pass. I thought he was there, and it was open.
“He sits there, listens and takes it. When I watched the film, if he would've gone for what I wanted, I think it would've been a sack. And it would've been second-and-15. So that stuff, I like.”
Through two games, Mullens has yet to be sacked while attempting 61 passes. Jimmy Garoppolo was sacked 13 times in 89 pass attempts this season, and C.J. Beathard was dropped 18 times in 169 pass attempts.
“He’s got a feel for that in the pocket,” Shanahan said of Mullens. “I always want to be aggressive and go down the field and get bigger plays, but not at the expense of risking a sack. I think he’s done a good job with that.”