For the Patriots, beating the San Francisco 49ers just wasn’t in the cards. From offense to special teams to coaching, they came up short in every category. Tom Brady was uncharacteristic, matching his season high throwing two interceptions. The last time he did that was against Seattle where they also lost. He completed just over 55% of his passes which is a season low. It seemed like somebody turned off the lights in New England and now it’s time for them to find the switch and turn it back on.
Bill Belichick knows nothing went right on Sunday night. There were too many mistakes in every area of the game. (FILE:USPresswire)
During his Monday morning conference call with the media Bill Belichick echoed his post game thoughts in regards to the team’s overall performance. “I think there were times when we played competitively in the game. We did enough things to make it a competitive game in the end but we had too many things that werenâ€™t good enough. There were things that were done well and there were things that werenâ€™t done well.” He acknowledged that there were bad plays all around, on offense, defense, and special teams. He knows the heart of his team and that was evident during the second half comeback. “I thought we competed, we fought, we hung in there until the end. But we just didnâ€™t perform well enough in any area.” No matter what question he was asked he always circled back to the fact that overall this team did not perform at its top level. There were too many mistakes and they added up to be insurmountable on a rainy night in Foxboro.
A big problem for the Patriots was their inability to execute when it counted. They were just 2-15 on third downs – just 13%. And Brady threw the ball 65 times which is a season high and far from the balance we’ve seen from the Patriots lately. It’s never a good sign to see a quarterback forced to throw the ball that many times and that opens up the door for mistakes and golden opportunities for the opposing team. The 49ers defense was on point on Sunday night making Brady’s job incredibly difficult. Wes Welker was kept at bay with only five receptions on nine targets for 59 yards. Brandon Lloyd on the other hand was the benefactor of Brady’s big throwing night and had himself his best night of the season with 10 receptions for 190 yards but came up short with no touchdowns.
When it came to the running game, well that was stuffed. The Pats rushed for only 95 yards. Any other time this season where the run game has been held down, they have lost. It’s a coincidence I’m sure Belichick is well aware of. Both Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley fumbled the ball and that opened up a potentially dangerous situation offensively. As expected, Belichick did not make any direct comment on the situation stating only that the team works to “try to do everything in the best way, [with] the best technique that we can.” And that is in regards to tackling, blocking, coverage, throwing, whatever it is they are doing. They try to coach correctly and reinforce good techniques. I highly doubt we will see either of these running backs make similar mistakes for the rest of the season.
While this game was out of reach for the Patriots, the 49ers showed how tough they are. Frank Gore is a solid back and Jim Harbaugh is at the top of his coaching game. He has one of the best defenses and rushing offenses in the league and he did not lay down under the pressure of a Sunday night game in Foxboro in December. Now all that’s left for the Patriots to do is pick themselves up, correct their many mistakes and playing winning football.