The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to go with third-string quarterback Nick Mullens when they host the rival Oakland Raiders on Thursday night at Santa Clara, Calif., in a battle of two of the three remaining one-win teams.
The 49ers (1-7) and Raiders (1-6) are meeting for the first time since 2014, when Oakland made it three straight wins for the home team in the matchup with a 24-13 victory.
Both teams are coming off losses in games that appeared winnable on paper.
In a revenge matchup at Arizona, the 49ers not only blew a 12-point, fourth-quarter lead in an 18-15 defeat, but they appear to have lost quarterback C.J. Beathard in the process.
Beathard, who was making his fifth start of the season in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo's knee injury in Week 3, banged his right thumb and wrist on the helmet of an onrushing Cardinals defender while following through on a second-quarter pass.
He was able to finish the game, and X-rays taken later that day were negative, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan reported Tuesday that Beathard was unable to grip a football.
Beathard did not participate in the club's walkthrough practice, his right thumb and wrist wrapped in a soft cast.
Shanahan said Mullens, who has never taken an NFL snap, will be ready to go Thursday. Mullens played collegiately at Southern Miss.
"Nick works his tail off whether he was on practice squad all last year, some of this year, since he's been the (backup)," Shanahan said. "Nick's a very smart guy who works at it nonstop. He'll be able to go in there and execute the offense and knows what he's doing."
Whoever quarterbacks the 49ers will face a Raiders defense that allowed touchdown passes to three different tight ends -- a first in NFL history -- in a 42-28 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Despite being without receiver Amari Cooper, who had been traded, and running back Marshawn Lynch, who is injured, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr enjoyed his best game of the season, throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns while also diving in from 1 yard out.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden credited his offensive line for the improved offensive output.
"It all starts with pass protection and just balance," Gruden said. "We had some good runs from Doug Martin. I thought the run blocking was better collectively. ...
"Derek played well. He had time to see the defense, had time to get through the progressions. I thought we had four or five really good drives. Unfortunately, we didn't see the ball enough."
--Field Level Media
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)