Be­ware of the QB kicker

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Passer rat­ing of Nick Mul­lens in his pro de­but Thurs­day night for the San Fran­cisco 49ers — the high­est by any NFL player in his first game since the 1970 merger, ac­cord­ing to ESPN. The Nin­ers crushed their Bay Area ri­vals, the Oak­land Raiders, 34-3, thanks in large part to the three-TD pass­ing per­for­mance of Mul­lens. An un­drafted sec­ond-year player, Mul­lens played in place of in­jured C.J. Beathard, who be­came starter in Septem­ber when Jimmy Garop­polo tore an ACL.

JOHNNY HEKKER

The Los An­ge­les Rams present nu­mer­ous dif­fi­cul­ties to any NFL team — on of­fence, de­fence … even spe­cial teams. Rams place­kicker Greg Zuer­lein is among the best and most ac­cu­rate in the league (9-of-10 on field goals, per­fect on ex­tra points). And punter Johnny Hekker is as good as any, land­ing 11 of his 22 punts in­side the 20 this year. But Hekker is a dual threat — on punt fakes.

“A lot of backup quar­ter­backs haven’t had as many (pass) at­tempts as he has,” Saints head coach Sean Pay­ton said Fri­day.

True enough. Hekker has thrown two passes this sea­son off fake punts, and com­pleted one, for 12 yards. Los An­ge­les Charg­ers backup Geno Smith and In­di­anapo­lis Colts backup Ja­coby Bris­sett have thrown one pass apiece in 2018.

In his seven-year NFL ca­reer, all with the Rams, Hekker has thrown 17 passes and com­pleted 10, for 149 yards, one touch­down and no in­ter­cep­tions.

That’s a passer rat­ing of 107.2, which blows “There are a lot of stats that the Steel­ers are ac­tu­ally bet­ter with­out him. That might be why he’s rid­ing a jet ski down in Mi­ami right now.”

— Ravens de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, on the con­tin­u­ing ab­sence of hold­out Pitts­burgh RB Le’Veon Bell, and the stand­out play of his re­place­ment, James Con­ner. Be­lea­guered Buf­falo Bills quar­ter­back Nathan Peter­man, aka the In­ter­cep­tion Ma­chine, has never made it into the fourth quar­ter of any of his three NFL starts (two times be­cause he was pulled, once be­cause he got hurt). On the other hand, he has never played be­fore the fourth quar­ter in any of his four re­lief ap­pear­ances. He’ll start Buf­falo’s home game Sun­day against the Chicago Bears.

DON (WINK) MARTIN­DALE,

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