For a year-and-a-half, Nick Mullens was stuck on eight NFL starts.
And he earned his way into some good company with his performances to close out the 2018 season.
Mullens’ average of 285 yards passing per game during that half-season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback ranked behind only Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton for passing yards through a quarterback's first eight games.
Now, with his ninth NFL start in the books, Mullens is moving up the list.
Mullens lit up the New York Giants on Sunday, when he filled in for Jimmy Garoppolo, who was out with a high-ankle sprain. Mullens completed 25 of 36 pass attempts for 343 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in the 49ers' 36-9 victory.
Mullens now ranks third all-time in passing yards through nine NFL games behind only Mahomes and Luck.
“He made all the plays that were there and made a number of plays that weren’t there,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Mullens’ effort.
The 49ers return to practice Wednesday to begin preparations to face the Philadelphia Eagles on "Sunday Night Football." Shanahan said Garoppolo will be evaluated before any determination is made whether he has recovered sufficiently to return to practice.
Here are the top five quarterbacks in passing yards through nine NFL starts (since 1950):
1, Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City, 2,810 2, Andrew Luck, Indianapolis, 2,631 3. Nick Mullens, 49ers, 2,620 4, Billy Volek, Tennessee, 2,591 5, Kirk Cousins, Washington, 2,536