Thoughts & Reactions: New England Patriots Rout 49ers at Levi Stadium

November 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots running back James White (28) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi
November 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots running back James White (28) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi /

The New England Patriots withstood a sloppy first half to roll past the San Francisco 49ers 30-17 Sunday afternoon at Levi Stadium.

 Tom Brady’s return to the Bay Area didn’t disappoint.  In the homecoming, Brady went 24-of-40 for 280 yards and 4 touchdown passes to lead the New England Patriots over the 49ers in the steady-flowing rain.

Without Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan, Brady turned to Julian Edelman early and often.  The Bay Area native caught eight passes for 77 yards and the first touchdown of the game.  There were times, however, that it seemed Brady was trying to force the ball to Edelman way too much.  Eventually he was able to connect with rookie Malcolm Mitchell, who had his biggest game in the NFL with four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.

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The Patriots also turned to the running game and running backs early.  LeGarrette Blount was able to rip a long 44-yard run to help set up the team’s second score of the game, which ended in a 9-yard screen pass to running back James White.  The touchdown put the Patriots up 13-3 at the time.

In the second-half of the game, Brady was able to put the 49ers away more with his footwork in the pocket.  He scrambled for a nice four-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola to increase the score to 20-10 and later hit a streaking Mitchell for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.  The touchdown pass to Mitchell also showcased Brady’s footwork in the pocket.

With the victory, the Patriots are now 8-2 and now travel to MetLife Stadium for an AFC East matchup with the New York Jets.


Running backs:  It was great to see Dion Lewis back in action.  The shifty running back looked almost as explosive as he looked prior to his injury.  He caught passes out of the backfield and rushed the ball five times for 23 yards.

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James White continued his reliability in the passing game.  He caught a pass for a touchdown and combined with Dion Lewis, the duo present quite a matchup problem for opposing defenses when they are both on the field.

In the power running game, LeGarrette Blount had another 100-yard game.  He exploded for an impressive 44-yard dash early in the first half to set the tone against a 49ers defense that has struggled all season long.  

Defense:  The Patriots defense did get to Colin Kaepernick recording five sacks on the day.  The 49ers offense was able to move the ball a bit in the first half, but the Patriots defense made adjustments and tightened up in the secondary during the second half.  Both Eric Rowe and Logan Ryan played well in that second half.

It was good to see Kyle Van Noy record a sack in his debut with the Patriots.  There were a few times on passing downs that he created some pressure on the quarterback.

Overall, the defense wasn’t dominant by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a game they can build on.

Player/coaches reactions

Julian Edelman on fan support out West via WEEI:

"“It’s pretty crazy.  Every time we come out West it seems like we have a lot of fans out here. It’s pretty amazing to see. It’s exciting being in your hometown area, seeing some of the greats that you watched growing up here, Eddie D [Eddie Debartolo] day. It was a fun experience.”"

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Danny Amendola on San Francisco 49ers via

"“They’re a good football team. They were flying around. They were ready to play today.  We came out in the second half, made some adjustments, and started moving the ball. Just started connecting a little bit more. We’re happy we played well enough to win the game.”"

Tom Brady on playing his hometown team via

"“It was very cool. It doesn’t get any better than that. To have the first chance to ever do that was very special.  I felt it in pregame warmup and it carried right to the last play of the game. It was pretty great.“They have a great organization, they always have. They inspired a lot kids here in the Bay Area in my time growing up, and I was one of them.”"

Next: New England Patriots Talk: Initial Reactions To Win Over 49ers

The New England Patriots will next play the New York Jets in an AFC East matchup.