It is never about how you start, but how you finish in the NFL.
And boy did the San Francisco 49ers finish exceedingly strong against the New York Giants. For a while in the first half, it looked as if scoring two touchdowns for the 49ers was going to take a miracle.
However, once Nick Mullens found his groove and the defense continued to hold firm, the game was essentially over with by the end of the third quarter.
It was an impressive victory for the 49ers who beat down the Giants with their "B-team". Winning a game like that with so many key players inactive revealed a lot about the 49ers.
Here are five takeaways from the 49ers' 36-9 week 3 win against the Giants.
Nick Mullens is a starting-caliber quarterback
I do not think it is a knee-jerk reaction to draw the conclusion that Nick Mullens is a starting-caliber quarterback. There are definitely a few teams in the league where he can instantly start on and proved that on Sunday.
Yes, he played superb against a lowly Giants team. But that would be a cop out and an outright lazy take on his performance. Give credit where credit is due. This was Mullens' first start since the end of the 2018 season. He showed just how much of a leap he has taken since his last start. Not to mention he was without so many talented players on offense.
Mullens had himself a fantastic game. He proved that he can handle the reigns as the starter while Jimmy Garoppolo is on the mend. That is why I am sure the 49ers will announce him as the starter against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4. Allow Garoppolo to rest and recover because the offense is in steady hands with Mullens.
MetLife Turf Field was certainly in poor conditions
The NFL conducted an investigation into the conditions of the newly installed turf field at MetLife Stadium given the massive wave of injuries sustained in the 49ers' Week 2 matchup with the New York Jets. As expected, the league found nothing of substance to deem the field as cause for the injuries. It is not like they were going to openly admit fault regardless of what they found.
But after seeing Jordan Reed get injured when he almost caught a touchdown pass at the back of the end zone, that was enough reassurance that the field dictated the injuries. If you go back to that play, you will notice how his foot gets stuck while the rest of his body is moving forward due to his momentum. That injury essentially caused Reed to be ruled out for the rest of the game. At least the 49ers were able to escape without more players being injured because it certainly could have been doom and gloom like Week 2.
Fred Warner is poised for All Pro honors this season
I have been pounding both of my fists on the table since the NFL offseason started that linebacker Fred Warner will earn an All Pro honor in 2020. Through three weeks of the season, he is already looking like the most impressive linebacker in football, especially when it comes to his pass coverage skills.
According to Pro Football Focus, Warner is only allowing a 31.3 passer rating into his coverage which is the lowest of any linebacker with at least 60 coverage snaps.
The guy is just an absolute baller. He is all over the place in both facets of the defense. With Nick Bosa gone for the season, it is clear that Warner, and not Richard Sherman, is the 49ers' second-best defensive player. Warner just makes a heavier impact for the 49ers than Sherman. It is only a matter of time before he finally starts getting the national recognition that he deserves because has been one of the top linebackers in the game since last season.
Jason Verrett may have found himself
Cornerback Jason Verrett has been getting propped up by the 49ers' coaching staff since the start of training camp. While some pundits believe he had an amazing camp, I personally didn't see that. He wasn't bad for the entirety of camp, but he certainly didn't look like a starting caliber corner. He looked like a player who was still finding himself. It just looked like he was thinking a bit too much and that likely may be because of his concern of getting injured. Surely he is feeling a bit scarred since he is always bitten by the injury bug.
However, Verrett may have found himself on Sunday against the Giants.
It is just one game against poor team, but this is something that he can build off of going into Sunday night's Week 4 matchup with the Eagles. I have always remained adamant that if Verrett ever found his health and confidence again that he would be the 49ers' best corner next to Sherman. He has a chance to prove it in the short-term with Emmanuel Moseley's status uncertain.
49ers are the deepest team in football
Week 2 was a straight up nightmare for the 49ers by losing Bosa for the season and so many other players in the short term. It truly was nothing but dread, especially with the margin for error so minimal thanks to the strength of the NFC West. But the 49ers showed that they are the deepest team in football in the last two weeks.
Once again, I know they played two subpar teams and you figure that it is an easy win to chalk up right?
How many teams are capable of losing so many stars and other key depth players, yet still manage to keep the motor running on all cylinders? The 49ers proved their depth last season when half of their starters were on the shelf at some point. I will always compare the 49ers losing both of their offensive tackles to every team in the league. That alone is enough to derail at least half of the teams, yet they not only stayed afloat - they dominated.
San Francisco's depth is once again proving how impeccable it is. Injuries of this magnitude are supposed to ruin Super Bowl hopes for contending teams, but the 49ers keep firing back. This could possibly make them that much more dangerous down the line since their depth players will be battle hardened come playoff time.