Week 15 rolls on as the NFL’s playoff track gets tighter and faster. For a couple NFL Regional Combine pioneers, they have the opportunity to do the steering.
MULLENS VS. PLAYOFF DREAMS
In San Francisco, quarterback Nick Mullens is behind the wheel for the 49ers. Clearly, the 49ers have no chance to reach the playoffs. Still, this gritty squad has embraced their new role of being a spoiler during the remaining stretch of the season.
Mullens led the way for the 49ers as they practically ended the Denver Broncos’ season in their Week 14 showdown. The NFL Regional Combine standout from the 2017 trials completed 20 of 33 pass attempts (60.6 percent) for 332 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the Broncos, managing a 102.1 passer rating.
Mullens received high praise from his head coach Kyle Shanahan following that brilliant performance.
“Nick has shown that he can play quarterback in this league,” voiced Shanahan. “He did a very good job in this game playing within himself, playing in a tight pocket. He made some really good throws with people around him.”
Against the dangerous Seattle Seahawks in Week 13, Mullens had a career-high 414 passing yards, but lost 43-16. Entering the fourth quarter of that match up, the 49ers were down just 12 points and were driving. A pick-six and a score later, the once competitive showdown turned into a blow out.
There were some plays left on the field for the 49ers, which the Mullens recognizes.
“We lost, we didn’t score touchdowns. So, there’s a lot of things running through your head and that was the biggest thing that was on my heart at that point,” said Mullens during a press conference. “I just wish we could have scored more points. Obviously, you get the fumble call, which we all know how we feel about that.
“Then I think we had the ball twice in the red zone and didn’t come up,” he added. “Obviously, the interception, which sucks. So, there’s some different things where you just really wish you could have capitalized.”
In the last matchup, the Seahawks introduced themselves to Mullens. And Mullens displayed what he can do, catching Seattle’s head coach Pete Carroll’s attention knows that also the 49ers’ field general will not back down.
“He was really good against us. He hung in the pocket well, completed a bunch of passes, was real accurate with the football,” said Carroll. “Handled the stuff that we threw at him, he did a very good job against us. The last two weeks he’s thrown for almost 800 yards. He’s been on fire.”
Overall, Mullens has been on fire at Levi’s Stadium as he has thrown for 844 yards (281.3 per outing) with a 103.3 passer rating. Mullens is looking for his third game of passing for 300-plus yards and two touchdowns.
For the Seahawks, the plan is simple – win and they are in. In regards to Mullens and the 49ers, win and next season will be interesting.
When Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers last faced the Chicago Bears, his season was in question after sustaining a knee injury caused by Bears defensive tackle Roy Robertson-Harris.
In Week One, Robertson-Harris bullied his way up the middle against the Packers offensive line, and when Rodgers saw Robertson-Harris closing in on him, Rodgers tried to go down to avoid a devastating blow. Robertson-Harris crashed into Rodgers causing a knee injury.
Rodgers survived the injury, but the future Hall of Fame signal caller has been hampered this campaign because of Robertson-Harris’ hit.
Will Robertson-Harris get his hands on Rodgers again? No one wants to witness a player get injured, however, dueling against a quarterback to make a play is always exciting.
MORE FROM MOORE
Kenny Moore II/Google Images
Cornerback Kenny Moore II has played remarkable this season and the Indianapolis Colts will need him to continue as the Dallas Cowboys come to town.
Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is hot and has been nearly unstoppable. Nevertheless, Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley may cause the most problems as one of the most effective slot pass catchers in the game.
Moore may keep Beasley in check, but Cooper will bring more of a challenge. Still, Moore and the Colts’ secondary will have a tall task, but it’s something they should be able to handle.