Did Brett Favre just compare 49ers Nick Mullens to Tom Brady?

Former third-string QB expected to make encore start Monday night against Giants

  • Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre reacts to a 46-yard touchdown pass to tight end Donald Lee during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Green Bay, Wis. on Dec. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

  • San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Nick Mullens (4) looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter of their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

  • Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Nick Mullens (4) calls a play during their game against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • San Francisco 49ers’ Pierre Garcon (15) hands the ball to San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Nick Mullens (4) after Mullens through a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots high fives Brian Hoyer #2 and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Nick Mullens (4) celebrates his touchdown pass with San Francisco 49ers’ Joe Staley (74) against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates a touchdown run by James White during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Nick Mullens (4) throws the ball before being sacked by Oakland Raiders’ Reggie Nelson (27) in the second quarter of their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes under pressure from Green Bay Packers nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Nick Mullens (4) before calling a play versus the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter of their game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group)

  • Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after the Patriots defeated the Packers 31-17 at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) congratulates San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) after their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-3. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

  • Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after defeating the Green Bay Packers 31-17 at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Nick Mullens (4) is congratulated by Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr (4), left, and Oakland Raiders quarterback AJ McCarron (2) after their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-3. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

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Nick Mullens’ triumphant debut still has people talking, specifically fellow Southern Miss product Brett Favre.

“I’m not surprised one bit. The kid is legit and can make all the throw,” Favre said Monday on SiriusXM NFL radio.

How legit is Mullens, who passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-3 rout Thursday night against the Raiders?

Favre went so far as to invoke a comparison to Tom Brady, if merely to illustrate how an unknown player can seize an opportunity and become great.

“If we think back a few years ago, a lot of years ago, I’m saying this jokingly, Tom Brady, no one had heard of him … he comes in and now we think of him as maybe the greatest if not the greatest player of all time,” Favre said. “He made the most of his opportunities. It can happen. It does happen. And it will happen.”

Mullens is expected to make an encore start next Monday night when the 49ers (2-7) host the New York Giants (1-7). Coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t expected to address the media until Thursday, when he might announce Mullens over C.J. Beathard; the 49ers resume practicing Tuesday.

Beathard went 0-5 upon replacing the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, and Beathard’s right-wrist injury led the 49ers to Mullens.

“Nick Mullens, he was just unbelievable,” 49ers legend Jerry Rice told 95.7 The Game. “I don’t like to compare people, but jsut to see his composure on the football field, it was almost like Jimmy G.”

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Great work today. One week till Pro Day 🏈

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Favre surprised Mullens by calling into the NFL Network’s postgame show and congratulated his fellow No. 4 on the air while Mullens sat on the set next to former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci. Favre also texted Mullens pregame with well wishes and advice (“No pressure. Just be yourself.”).

“It was pretty cool, definitely an honor,” Mullens said Thursday of Favre’s words. “It’s cool to see Southern Miss alumni stay in-tune with the program and support each other. So, I’m definitely appreciative of that, and definitely have the most respect for Brett.”

Mullens’ 151.9 passer rating was the NFL’s highest since the 1970 merger among quarterbacks debuting with at least 20 passes. It was the highest passer rating by a 49ers quarterback since Alex Smith’s final start in 2012 at Arizona (157.1)

“What a great debut for Nick Mullens,” Favre added. “You did nothing but enhance your longevity in this league.”

Mullens entered the league with the 49ers after going undrafted, and after working out with Favre ahead of that. Favre held several Southern Miss passing records until Austin Davis and then Mullens broke them. Mullens, from 2013-16, set school marks for most yards (11,994), touchdowns (87), attempts (1,546) and, in Favre-ian fashion, interceptions (46).

“We threw it a lot more than (Favre) did. He definitely deserves his credit,” Mullens said back in August, after sparking go-ahead drives in exhibition games.

Favre spent almost all of his 1991 rookie year on the Atlanta Falcons bench, and his career took off following a 1992 trade to the Green Bay Packers.

“We fail to realize or think about this being an opportunistic league and game,” Favre said Monday. “So many guys have lost their job because of injury. Fair or unfair, it is what it is. So many guys have won their jobs because of injury. In this case it’s injury.

“It’s about making the most of your opportunities. Sometimes you don’t get the reps. All of a sudden they say you have to go in, and fair or not, (practice) reps are not, you have to make the most of that opportunity.”

Rice was impressed, too.

“He was so intelligent and he was looking defenders off,” Rice added. “He knew exactly where he wanted to go with the football.”

 

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