Ryan L. Fox
It was the talk of the town going into this game. Nearly 3 years after he was traded away to the San Francisco 49ers, former Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo was making his return to Foxborough to play against the team that drafted him back in 2014.
Looking to bounce back after a horrendous 18-12 loss to the Broncos the previous week, the Patriots were eager to ruin the ‘homecoming’ and, at the same time, try to avoid going 2-4 for the first time since 2000.
From start to finish, it was an absolute ass-whooping of which Pats nation had not seen before. But instead of getting a much deserved chuckle and laugh at Jimmy G’s expense, it was quite the opposite.
The 49ers got the opening kickoff and proceeded to march down the field against the Patriots. Although the running was stymied, QB Jimmy Garoppolo connected multiple times with TE George Kittle and WR Deebo Samuel against the defense. The 49ers got down to the New England 3 as RB Jeff Wilson Jr. powered his way over the goalline. K Robbie Gould booted the PAT through to give the 49ers an early 7-0 lead with 9:55 left in the 1st quarter.
After forcing a punt, the 49ers were driving yet again. But a hold on Kittle on 3rd and short turned it to 3rd and long and on the ensuing play, Garoppolo overthrew his intended receiver (ironically enough it was Kittle) and into the waiting arms of Patriots FS Devin McCourty.
Patriots QB Cam Newton lead the offense down the field and into 49ers territory. But on 3rd and 6 from the San Francisco 22, WR N’Keal Harry dropped a Newton pass over the middle as that was the final play of the 1st quarter.
In the opening seconds of the 2nd quarter, K Nick Folk booted a 40-yard field goal just sneaking in the right side to make it 7-3.
On their next possession, the 49ers ended up driving down the field on the Patriots defense yet again. They got as far as the New England 20 but a costly holding penalty negated a big running play and ultimately caused the drive to stall out. The 49ers ended up settling for a 41-yard field goal by Gould to make it 10-3 with 9:00 left in the 2nd quarter.
After picking off a Newton pass, the 49ers offense came back onto the field in prime field position at the New England 38. Jimmy G orchestrated an offensive drive down as the 49ers got all the way to the New England 4. From there, FB Kyle Juszczyk bowled his way through the defense and over the goalline for the score. But on the PAT attempt, Patriots CB Justin Bethel got a hand up to deflect the football and change its trajectory to donk off the left upright. Nevertheless, it was 16-3 in favor of the 49ers with 6:23 left to play.
After forcing a Patriots punt, the 49ers offense continued their balance attack. They opened up the drive with two big passes before going to the ground for more big gains. The 49ers got down to the New England 16 where on 1st and 10, Wilson Jr. took the hand off and ran over the right side and into the endzone for the touchdown. This time, Gould’s PAT try was good as the 49ers lead grew to 23-3 with a little under a minute left in the quarter.
The 49ers had another chance to put up more points before the end of the half. CB Emmanuel Moseley picked off a Newton pass deep in 49ers territory and brought it back to the New England 45. But Garoppolo’s own deep heave was picked off at the New England 2 was picked off by Patriots CB J.C. Jackson to end the half.
The Patriots ended up getting the ball to start the 2nd half.
On their opening possession, the Patriots offense exploded. They got big runs by rookie RB Damien Harris as well as Newton finding both Harris and WR Jakobi Meyers on a couple of big passing plays. But the drive ultimately stalled out once the Patriots got passed the San Francisco 30. They ended up settling for a 41-yard field goal by Folk to make it 23-6 with 10:47 left in the 3rd quarter.
The 49ers responded to that field goal with a score of their own.
In Jimmy G fashion, he drove the team down the field on the Patriots defense. This included 2 big passes to WR Brandon Aiyuk, including a 35 yard bomb down to the New England 7. From there, Wilson got the toss and took it over the goalline for his 3rd touchdown of the game. Gould came in to boot the PAT through to make it 30-6 with 7:32 left in the 3rd quarter. But bad news for the 49ers as it appeared Wilson was rolled up on his ankle on his touchdown run and had to be taken out of the game.
The Patriots tried to muster up another scoring drive. But on 2nd and 7 from the San Francisco 34, Newton tried to find WR Julian Edelman over right middle for a quick pass. The ball ended up deflecting off Edelman’s hands and into the waiting arms of 49ers CB Jamar Taylor at the San Francisco 23, who brought it back to the San Francisco 31.
That interception ended up turning into points as Gould booted a 32-yard attempt through the uprights to make it 33-6 with a little under 13:30 left in the 4th quarter.
On the ensuing Patriots drive, there was a change at quarterback for the Patriots. Coming in was Jarrett Stidham in for Cam Newton as coach Bill Belichick looked for something to jump start the offense. Stidham did get the offense going as they got down to the San Francisco 22. But like the last drive, a pass intended to Edelman ended up getting picked off by Taylor.
After forcing the 49ers to punt for the first time in the game, the Patriots got the ball back at their own 10 with 3:06 left in the game. They ended up driving down the field all the way down to the San Francisco 27. On 2nd and 10 with 13 seconds left in the game, Stidham dropped back to pass and was sacked back at the San Francisco 34. Rather than call a time out, Belichick simply let the clock run out as that ended up being the final play of the game.
When the final gun was sound, many across New England just sat in their homes, at their jobs, or in their cars in disbelief. Disbelief that their team has fallen off so much this season. Unfortunately for the 2-4 Patriots, the 2020 season is not going to get any easier.
Notable Patriots Players Statistical Standouts
RB Damien Harris – 10 carries for 58 yards (5.8 yards per carry), 1 catch (on 1 target) for 12 yards
WR Jakobi Meyers - 4 catches (on 6 targets) for 60 yards
WR/KR Gunner Olszewski – 6 kickoff returns for 155 yards (25.8 yards per return)
DE Lawrence Guy – 4 tackles (2 solo, 2 assists), 1.0 sacks
FS Devin McCourty - 8 tackles (6 solo, 2 assists), 1 INT, and 1 pass defended
Is 2020 the End of a Dynasty
I know this has been thrown out there for what seems like few years now but after their game against the 49ers, you have to wonder if we really are seeing the end of the Belichick Era Patriots.
Now there are going to be people who are going to try and make excuses for the Patriots’ lackluster performance as of late. ‘Oh they got nobody on offense!’ ‘It’s an off year due to COVID-19, they don’t got everybody on their team!’ ‘They didn’t have enough time to practice in the last 2 weeks!’
Whatever excuse Pats media and fans will throw out there, they are either stupid or delusional.
As much as I can go into depth and detail of how this collapse was bound to happen sooner or later, you just have to look at the past few drafts.
Really since 2015, the Patriots drafting has been average or their picks have not panned out as they would hope. Yes, they have hit on at least a few picks over that course of time (i.e. RG Shaq Mason in 2015, Joe Thuney in 2016, DE Derek Rivers in 2017) but there have been soooooo many misses (DT Malcolm Brown in 2015, CB Cyrus Jones in 2016, CB Duke Dawson in 2018, N’Keal Harry in 2019 just to name a few).
Not to mention that they had glaring positions of need that had to be addressed almost immediately (looking right at you tight end and quarterback) but they either ignored it in free agency or just simply just drafted somebody in the very late rounds of the draft (paging TE Ryan Izzo). Heck even when the Patriots tried to bring people, in either free agency or trade, they end up falling flat on their face (Mohammed Sanu) or just become a giant train wreck (Antonio Brown).
Coupled with the fact that they let homegrown talent walk in free agency (DE Trey Flowers, QB Tom Brady) and replace them with simple JAGS, that just opens up the door for not only second guessing but as well as mediocrity.
Now let’s look at this year.
I hate to say it but the Patriots theoretically should be at least be 5-1. They should have beaten the Seahawks, Broncos, and even the 49ers. Heck, I could go as far as saying that they should be undefeated as they could have beaten the Chiefs.
But you have to look at why the Patriots lost each of those games. They lost to Seattle because the Seattle defense knew Cam Newton was going to try to rush the football in on the final play and blew that up. They lost to the Chiefs because of absolute garbage play at the quarterback position from both Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham. They lost to the Broncos because. And they lost the 49ers because the got punched in the mouth and then simply went through the motions for the rest of the game. In other words, they played with a lack of urgency.
This 3-game losing streak should sound the alarms for Patriots nation. I had to double-check to see when the last time the Patriots lost 3 consecutive games in a row. The last time that happened was in Week 4-6 of the 2002 season. That was a ‘Super Bowl Hangover’ year where they ended up finishing the year at 9-7 but didn’t make the playoffs.
I know that you can’t count a team out after just 7 weeks but the halfway point of the 2020 season is almost upon the Patriots. Two of the next three games are going to be against teams with .500+ records (the 5-2 Buffalo Bills in Week 8 and the 5-1 Baltimore Ravens in Week 10). Luckily the 0-7 New York Jets are sandwiched in between but that means that the Patriots could be looking at 3-6 going into late November, a position they have never been since 2000.
It’s not looking good for the Patriots in 2020 and it feels like that after 21 years of success and dominance, the Patriots empire has fallen into ruin.
Numbers Numbers Numbers!
32 - The number of games since the Patriots allowed an opponent to score a touchdown on their first possession of the game (last time was against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4 on October 2, 2016)
0 – The number of 1st quarter touchdowns scored by the Patriots offense this season
1 – The number of times the Patriots defense forced the 49ers to punt for the entire game
3 – The number of times the Patriots have trailed by 20+ points at halftime during the Belichick era
3 – The number of games the Patriots have lost the turnover differential stat (0-3 during that span)
19.8 – The QB rating of Patriots QB Cam Newton at halftime (4-for-8, 30 yards and 2 INT)
242 – The difference of yardage between both teams at halftime (301 by 49ers & 59 by Patriots)
226 – The difference of yardage between both teams for the entire game (467 by the 49ers & 241 by the Patriots)
27 – The largest scoring difference between the 49ers (33) and Patriots (6), the largest scoring differential for a Pats home game during the Belichick era
-28 – The scoring differential for the Patriots after 6 games played this year (115 points scored while allowing 143 points)
40:57 – The amount of time from the start of the game to when WR Julian Edelman got his first target of the game in the 3rd quarter (at around the 4:53 mark)
Fox Fist Bump
Ha, you’re joking? Like anybody on the Patriots deserved a Fox Fist bump. Oh god, they needed a fist bump to the head with the way they were playing. My god.
If anything, the Fox Fist Bump goes to none other than 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr.
With Raheem Mostert going on the IR today with a high ankle sprain, Wilson Jr. steeped in and was an absolutely beast.
He tore up the Patriots defense with his runs, fighting through the first level of contact for extra yards. He kept churning and squirming on some running plays while turning on the jets and nearly outrunning the defense on the other. Wilson Jr. finished the game with 17 carries for 112 yards rushing and 3 TDs (along with 2 catches for 8 yards). Unfortunately he couldn’t finish the game as he ended up injuring his ankle after he scored his 3rd touchdown.
If Wilson Jr. didn’t injure his ankle, I guarantee he would have had finished the game with another 40+ yards rushing and perhaps another touchdown.
Also, like to give a shout out to 49ers receiver coach Wes Welker. Just cause I know he loved sticking it to the guy who pretty much drove him out of Foxborough all those years ago.
The Meatball of the Game
The entire Patriots team gets a meatball.
Pardon my language, but the Patriots played like dog****! There is no sugarcoating it, no trying to find the positive, no nothing. Anybody who tries to pretzel themselves into finding the good or trying to make an excuse is a jackass.
They had time to practice this time around compared to last week when they host Denver. They got players back that helped booster them on the offensive line (C David Andrews and RG Shaq Mason). WE kept hearing from QB Cam Newton that ‘there were no more excuse’ and all that crap.
But the Patriots came and laid a giant, massive egg this Sunday. They were outplayed, outhit, outcoached, and outmatched. Hell, my old Smithfield Sentinels high school football team could have put up more points against the 49ers than the Patriots did.
It feels like that this team has no heart whatsoever and the players there are just collecting a paycheck. Kraft needs to tell GM Bill Belichick to just blow the whole team up and restart because the diehard, loyal Patriots who respect their opponents deserve better.
Play of the Game
The Patriots’ Performance in a Nutshell
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