What we learned in 49ers' blowout win over Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Many of the names and numbers are different for both teams.
But the 49ers left little doubt on Sunday their current version -- even with many of their significant players on injured reserve -- is far superior to the post-Tom Brady New England Patriots.
The 49ers got off to a strong start and did not let up in a 33-6 victory over the host Patriots at a fan-less Gillette Stadium.
San Francisco (4-3) kept pace in the NFC West and now will enter a pivotal Week 8 showdown against the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers might have to go to Seattle next week without wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and running back Jeff Wilson (ankle), both of whom left Sunday's game with injuries and did not return.
Meanwhile, the Patriots fell to 2-4 for the first time since coach Bill Belichick’s first season of 2000.
Here are three takeaways from the 49ers’ blowout victory:
Taking control right away
For the second game in a row, the 49ers seized control of the game on their first offensive drive.
Last week, the 49ers took the opening kickoff and shoved the ball down the throats of the Los Angeles Rams. On Sunday, they completely set the tone for their fun day in Foxboro, Mass., with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.
After that, the 49ers were never really threatened. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense befuddled Belichick’s defense en route to 301 yards in the first half to build a 23-3 lead.
Jimmy Garoppolo made a big play early when he broke a tackle in the backfield and rumbled for a 4-yard gain on a third-and-3 play. Garoppolo hit Samuel on passes of 23 and 14 yards, while tight end George Kittle had receptions of seven and 15 yards. The 49ers gained the momentum early and did not let up.
Garoppolo certainly was the better quarterback on this day, completing 19 of 24 pass attempts for 266 yards (though he did throw two interceptions). Meanwhile, Cam Newton was nine of 15 for 98 yards and three interceptions before getting benched in the second half.
Warner looks like an All-Pro
It is easier to list the returning 49ers defensive starters who remain available than to name those who are out of action. Here’s the entire list: Fred Warner, Arik Armstead, D.J. Jones and Emmanuel Moseley.
Warner certainly stands out for his playmaking ability, as well as his leadership skills.
He might be the top linebacker in the NFL when it comes to pass coverage, and Warner put those skills on display Sunday against the Patriots. He dissuaded Newton from throwing to slot receiver Julian Edelman on one third-down play, and later, showed great awareness to pick up Jakobi Meyers on a crossing route and step in front of Newton’s throw for his second interception of the season.
Warner got plenty of help from his teammates, too, as Emmanuel Moseley and Jamar Taylor also picked off Newton. While the 49ers rolled to a 20-point lead at halftime, the Patriots managed just 59 yards of total offense.
Wilson takes over running game
No Raheem Mostert.
No Tevin Coleman.
The 49ers listed Wilson as questionable for the game after he sat out the previous two games with a calf injury. He got the surprise start on Sunday, and he produced in a big way.Wilson posted a career-high in rushing yards ... in the first half alone.
Wilson, whose previous career-best was 90 yards against the Denver Broncos late in the 2018 season, had 92 yards and two touchdowns on 14 rushing attempts through the first 30 minutes of action. He finished with 117 yards and a career-best three touchdowns on 17 carries before leaving the game in the middle of the third quarter with a left ankle injury.
Wilson was taken from the 49ers sideline to the locker room in a cart. He was injured on a 7-yard scoring run that gave the 49ers a 30-6 lead.
Wilson’s injury is the latest for a depleted 49ers backfield. The 49ers on Saturday placed Mostert on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain. Mostert will miss at least three games. The 49ers are hopeful Coleman will return before too long from a knee injury.
Wilson got his third career start, as Shanahan gave him the nod over Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty. He rewarded Shanahan’s confidence with a hard-charging day of work. He did not do it alone, though, as the 49ers’ offensive line, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, Kittle and the wide receivers made major contributions as blockers in the run game.