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Mullens said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told him of the decision on Tuesday, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic.
Beathard was sidelined in Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders due to a wrist injury, which allowed Mullens to get the start. Mullens proceeded to throw for 262 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-3 win.
Shanahan’s decision to hand the reins back to Mullens shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
The results haven’t been there for Beathard or the 49ers offense in his starts. He has a 1-9 record with more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (12). The team is averaging 20 points per game in his five starts this season.
The Giants, like Oakland, aren’t a juggernaut causing problems for opposing quarterbacks. Their defense ranks 24th in points allowed (26.6 per game) and 31st in sacks (10).
Mullens looked comfortable against the Raiders and never seemed to be out of his element, even on the few occasions when he faced pressure:
Jeff Deeney @PFF_Jeff
If Beathard starts tonight, you’ll have a battle between QBs who have the lowest (Carr 6.4 yards) and third lowest (Beathard 7.3 yards) average depth of target among quarterbacks. #49ers #Raiders #dinkanddunk
Being able to ease Mullens, who had never appeared in an NFL game prior to his start against the Raiders, in against bad teams will allow him to build confidence as the 49ers evaluate him as a potential backup to Jimmy Garoppolo in 2019.
Considering the 49ers are 2-7 and evaluating players who can contribute to their future, Mullens makes the most sense to start at this point. The team’s 34-point outburst was their highest single-game total of the season, and they cracked 400 total yards for the first time since Week 6.