When the San Francisco 49ers take the field at MetLife Stadium for the second time in the span of a week this Sunday vs. the New York Giants, they’ll be doing so without their starting quarterback.
ESPN’s Nick Wagoner has reported that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has confirmed that Jimmy Garoppolo will miss the team’s Week 3 tilt against the G-Men with KNBR’s Brian Murphy. Shanahan also noted that backup Nick Mullens will draw the start in place of the injured Garoppolo, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in last week’s 31-13 victory over the Jets.
Graoppolo is far from the only notable player San Franciso will be missing come game-time this Sunday. Shanahan also confirmed with Murphy that running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman won’t play, while adding that a decision on injured superstar, George Kittle, will come at a later time.
The 49ers notably lost two pass-rushers in Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas this past weekend to season-ending injuries. San Francisco had already been stripped of electric playmaker Deebo Samuel and cornerback Richard Sherman earlier this year, each of whom was previously placed on injured reserve.
On the other side of the football, the Giants will be without arguably their two top skill players, as both running back Saquon Barkley and wideout Sterling Shepard were placed on injured reserve after sustaining varying degrees of injuries last Sunday. Shepard will miss the next three weeks, at the very least. Barkley will miss the remainder of the 2020 NFL season as he rehabs from a torn ACL. To soften the blow of losing Barkley, the Giants went out and signed two-time Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman earlier this week.
Nick Mullens vs. a Quietly Dominant Secondary
As we previously harped on, Mullens will be dealt a tough hand this Sunday, as he could potentially be without four of his top playmakers. With that said, Mullens operated the majority of the second half in Week 2 without most of those aforementioned injured players and still performed admirably. Mullens completed eight of his 11 passes against the Jets for 71 yards. He did, however, toss an interception.
This Sunday will mark the first time Mullens will start an NFL game since 2018, when he started eight games for a then 4-12 Niners team. On that season, Mullens threw for 2,277 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a completion percentage of 64.2%.
Mullens will have his hands full in Week 3 against a surprisingly stingy Giants secondary. Through the first two weeks of the season, New York checks in as the 4th-ranked total defense in football. The Giants have allowed the 2nd-fewest passing yards in the NFL over the first two weeks of play, thanks in large part to Pro Football Focus’ reigning Defensive Player of the Week, James Bradberry. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged just 188.5 passing yards per game vs. Big Blue this season.
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