The Patriots were throttled by the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night in Foxborough as they struggled on both sides of the ball in a 33-6 loss.
After finally having a full week of practice, the assumption was that the Patriots would play much better than they did the previous week against Denver.
It was quite the opposite.
On the opening drive of the game, the Patriots defense let former New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers march 75 yards down the field and take an early 7-0 lead.
In the following 49ers drive, safety Devin McCourty picked off Garoppolo giving New England some momentum, but the Patriots only got a field goal out of it.
After that, it was all downhill for the Patriots as quarterback Cam Newton was picked off on two of the next three drives and the 49ers offense started pouring it on. New England found themselves in a 23-3 hole at halftime and seemed like they were all out of answers.
As the struggles continued in the second half, another Newton pass was intercepted off the hands of Julian Edelman, leading to him being benched for second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham didn’t exactly light it up either, as he finished off the game completing six passes and throwing an interception that added to the team’s total four for the game, as the Patriots eventually lost 33-6. New England failed to score a touchdown the entire game as their only points came from two Nick Folk field goals.
The offense wasn’t the only thing that struggled this game. Despite picking off Garoppolo twice, the defense played arguably their worst game of the season allowing four rushing touchdowns, including three which came from 49ers running back Jeff Wilson.
After the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a press conference that Cam Newton will “absolutely” remain the team’s starting quarterback despite replacing him with Stidham late in the game. He added, “Just wanted to give Stid a little experience.”
“In no way, shape or form did I put this team in a position to compete, and that’s inexcusable, said Newton, who struggled in his second game back since being diagnosed with COVID-19, after the game. “This is the National Football League, where a lot is put on the quarterback. I have to deliver, and I haven’t done that. So here moving forward, I know what the issue is, and I just have to be better.”
Next up on the Patriots schedule is a match up with division rival Buffalo Bills, who currently sit in first place in the AFC East. A win gives New England a chance to stay alive in the race for the division and a chance for the playoffs, but with a loss their season will be put on life support.
Newton reiterated in a weekly press conference that he knows the Patriots don’t accept losing and that he needs to play better to keep his job.
“Losing is not acceptable in this locker room, in this county, in this state, in this area, in this region,” Newton said. “So Cameron Newton, you need to pick your [expletive] up. That’s what I learned.”
New England got some bad news on Thursday as the Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that wide receiver Julian Edelman would have to undergo a knee procedure.
“He’s my guy,” Newton said. “His presence was missed today. What he brings to this team, he’s more than just an unsung hero. He is everything the Patriots represent. Heart, tough, resilient, gritty.”
The Patriots wide receiver group will be extremely thin without Edelman on Sunday as N’keal Harry is also unlikely to play after suffering a concussion early in the last game against San Francisco. The only three receivers on the active roster now are Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski, all of whom were undrafted.
With the Patriots season all but on the line, it’s going to take a full team effort to take down the Buffalo Bills. But if we have learned anything over the past 20 years, never count out Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
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