EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers didn’t need quarterback Jimmy Garopollo and a slew of missing starters on the dreaded MetLife Stadium turf.
They controlled the ball on offense, took it away from the winless New York Giants on defense and had another easy day on the East Coast.
Nick Mullens threw for 343 yards and a touchdown to lead the 49ers to their second win at MetLife in as many weeks with a 36-9 victory over the error-prone and winless Giants on Sunday.
Jerick McKinnon, Brandon Aiyuk and Jeff Wilson scored on runs on a near flawless day for the Niners (2-1), who stayed in West Virginia to prep for the game. Robbie Gould added three field goals for San Francisco, which last week beat the Jets 31-13 here and denied Giants coach Joe Judge a chance for his first win this week.
The Niners had Garoppolo (ankle), defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas (knees) and running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman hurt against the Jets. They complained about the new turf after the game, saying it was “sticky” and led to injuries.
The NFL, the players association, the Jets and Giants and Field Turf, who installed the surface, re-examined the field and said it meet all standards.
The Niners’ play on Sunday made it a non-issue as Mullens hit 25 for 36 passes and finished with a rating of 108.9. San Francisco outgained New York 420-231, held the ball for 39:44 and forced three turnovers without giving the ball up.
Mullens led San Francisco to scores on seven of its first eight possessions. It would have been all eight if not for a snap-hold problem that caused Gould to miss a 55-yarder. He connected from 52, 32 and 26 yards. The Niners’ ninth possession coincided with the end of the game.
New York, which came into the game as the NFL’s lowest-scoring offense, got three field goals from Graham Gano, the second of which tied the game at 6-all midway through the second quarter.
A 10-yard touchdown run by McKinnon with 1:13 left in the half and a 26-yard field goal by Gould pushed the lead to 16-6 at the half. The field goal was set up by a interception by linebacker Fred Warner at the New York 32.
Jones finished 17 of 32 for 179 yards, but the second half was all San Francisco.
Mullens was making his first start since replacing an injured Garappolo for eight games in the 2018 season. He was 8 of 11 for 71 yards in relief last week.
49ers: Were also without TE George Kittle, CB Ahkello Witherspoon and LB Dre Greenlaw for the game. They lost Emmanuel Moseley to a (head injury) and TE Jordan Reed (ankle) Sunday. Mosley was hurt making a tackle on a Jones’ run early in the second quarter. Reed, who caught two TDs last week filling in for the injured Kittle, was hurt late in the first trying to make a catch in the end zone. He returned briefly in the second quarter.
Both teams stood on the sideline for the national anthem. Half the Giants knelt and half stood. The 49ers had two rows of players. Half stood on the sideline. Half stood in front of their bench, about 10 yards behind them.
San Francisco returns home after a week on the East coast and faces Philadelphia Eagles in a Sunday night game.