N.Y. Giants at San Francisco
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
SANTA CLARA – The San Francisco 49ers never expected to have a quarterback controversy this season. The New York Giants were hoping they wouldn’t, either. Yet, both teams have unsettled situations at the most important position in the game as Nick Mullens prepares to make his second career start when the 49ers host Eli Manning and the skidding Giants on Monday night.
New York has dropped five in a row and is tied for the worst record in football, but first-year coach Pat Shurmur is sticking with two-time Super Bowl champion Manning. “We got to get some wins,” Manning told reporters. “We got to get going, and everybody wants it. The team needs it, for the morale and for just the hard work and everything we put in.” Mullens was forced into the lineup due to injury but played brilliantly in his NFL debut to help San Francisco end a six-game slide in a 34-3 rout of Oakland on Nov. 1. “I think everyone saw the way he played. I don’t think it was too tough a decision,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. “Our team played really well, and he played well. It was gonna be hard not to give him that opportunity.”
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: 49ers -3.5. O/U: 44.5
ABOUT THE GIANTS (1-7): Despite the presence of an elite wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. and a star running back in rookie Saquon Barkley, Manning has failed to help New York generate more than 18 points in five of his eight games and has tossed only eight touchdown passes. Beckham, who leads the team with 61 catches, went into last week’s bye with back-to-back performances of at least eight catches and 136 yards, giving him five 100-yard efforts on the season. Barkley has nine receptions in each of his last three games and 58 on the season, but he has been limited to 38 and 43 yards rushing in the past two contests. A sign of the offensive woes: The Giants have allowed 20 points four times and lost each game.
ABOUT THE 49ERS (2-7): Injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL) and backup C.J. Beathard (concussion) opened the door for Mullens, and the undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi responded by throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns while posting a 151.9 passer rating. The victory over Oakland came at a cost as running back Raheem Mostert fractured his forearm after rushing for 86 yards on seven carries, including a 52-yard touchdown. Tight end George Kittle continues to be San Francisco’s best offensive threat with at least four receptions in all but one game, while the wide receivers have been spotty at best. The 49ers rank 12th in the league against the run, allowing 102.8 yards per game.
1. Manning has thrown for 1,022 yards and five TDs in his last three road games.
2. Kittle is second among NFL tight ends with 692 receiving yards.
3. Barkley has recorded at least 100 yards from scrimmage in seven of eight conte