And we all thought the Denver game was ugly. This was much, much worse. The offense was abysmal with just 241 yards and a woeful 1-6 on third down, with the only conversion coming after the two-minute warning. Cam Newton threw three interceptions, Jarrett Stidham threw one more, and the passing offense is a house of horrors.
Newton, in particular, had an even rougher outing than he did against Denver. He’s staring down receivers, holding the ball too long, making terrible decisions, and has been woefully inaccurate. This week there wasn’t any built-in alibis for a lack of practice time.
The 49ers, who have a slew of starters missing with injuries, showed the depth that they’ve built and were the far better team, dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Patriots couldn’t do anything to stop them or to move the football against their beat-up defense. This one was over well before half time. The Niners had more first downs at the half than the Patriots had offensive plays. That is how truly ugly it was. The Patriots dropped their third straight game for the first time since 2002.
But the defense today was actually right on par with the offense. The 49ers running game absolutely gashed the Patriots from start to finish. In our keys to the game, we wrote that the Patriots had to be stout up front and set the edge, forcing the rushes back inside. They didn’t do a good job of setting the edge, and when they did, the 49ers running backs cut back inside and made many…too many defenders miss.
The Niners gained a whopping 197 yards on the ground on 37 attempts for a 5.3-yard average. The Niners didn’t punt until the fourth quarter. Jeff Wilson had a fantastic game gaining 112 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns, before leaving in the fourth quarter with an injury. Their running game opened up play-action passing and it was extremely effective. (More below).
Jimmy Garappolo was very efficient in the early going, hitting short passes near or behind the line of scrimmage with his receivers garnering huge yards-after-catch (YAC). But as the game wore on, Garappolo began pushing the ball down the field more. He finished 20-25 for 277 yards, 11.1 yards per attempt with no TDs and 2 INTs.
Garoppolo was 13-of-14 for 146 yards on play-action passes, the most play-action completions in a game of his career, and the most allowed by the Patriots since 2012.
Newton was 9-15 for 98 yards with 0 TDs and 3 INTs. Stidham was 6-10 for 64 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT. They were each sacked once for a combined loss of 15 yards Combined the Patriots QBs were a woeful 15-25 for 147 yards, with 0 TDs and 4 INTs.
Niners WR Brandon Ayiuk had six catches for 115 yards, Deebo Samuel had five catches for 65 yards while tight end George Kittle hauled in five catches for 55 yards.
After N’Keal Harry took a wicked helmet shot to the jaw, he was replaced by Jakobi Meyers who led all Patriots receivers with four catches for 60 yards. Damiere Byrd had a single catch for 16 yards, Julian Edelman was shut out until after the two-minute warning had one catch for 13. Edelman’s knee looks bad, his normally lightning-quick move off the line is missing, and he looks like a shadow of himself. Harry had one catch for six before leaving with a head injury. Rookie tight end Dalton Keane and Ryan Izzo each had one catch for eight yards.
Damien Harris ran hard and had 58 yards on 10 carries plus one catch for 12 yards. Rex Burkhead had four carries for 12 yards and 3 catches for 35 yards. James White was limited to just a single catch for 3 yards.
The Patriots are reeling right now. This is the worst home loss (27 points) ever in Bill Belichick’s tenure. The previous high was 25 points against Miami in the “Wildcat Game” in 2008. But that was soon after Brady was injured and involved the Fins using a fluky offense. This wasn’t that. This was utter domination.
The offense is in shambles and the defense gave up a whopping 467 yards and would have given up much more except Kyle Shanahan began emptying his bench in the fourth quarter. And they are 2-4 and heading to upstate New York to face the 5-2 Bills. Any hope of turning this season around will rest on that game.
With the trade deadline just two weeks away, it now appears doubtful that the team will be buyers then. They have far too many holes to fill with one or possibly two players. But Bill Belichick was adamant that Newton will be the starting QB in Buffalo next week. I would imagine, however, that his leash at this point will be much shorter.
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Season
Tags: Bill Belichick Brandon Aiyuk Cam Newton Damien Harris James White Jeff Wilson Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman Kyle Shanahan New England Patriots Rex Burkhead San Francisco 49ers Stephon Gilmore