Week 7 of the 2020 regular season has arrived and it will see the New England Patriots go up against a rather unfamiliar opponent: the team will host the San Francisco 49ers, a matchup we see only every four years. The two clubs are both entering the contest after not having lived up to expectations so far this season, with the home team 2-3 after back-to-back losses and the visiting reigning NFC champions heading into today with a 3-3 record.
With all that said, let’s get this party started!
Patriots (2-4) 33 : 6 49ers (4-3)
The Patriots started the game on defense after winning the coin toss and quickly saw the 49ers drive down the field for the game’s first touchdown: Jimmy Garoppolo, who escaped a near-sack on a third down early during the series, led his unit on a nine-play, 75-yard series that ended with a 3-yard scoring run by Jeff Wilson. [Patriots 0 : 7 49ers]
New England’s opening offensive drive saw Cam Newton and company pick up a first down on a pass from to N’Keal Harry, but the series eventually stalled before even reaching midfield. Jake Bailey had to come onto the field to punt the football away after only five plays and 20 yards gained by the offense.
San Francisco started its next series on the 12-yard line, and the Patriots defense had some positive plays during the series: defensive tackles Nick Thurman and Lawrence Guy had a tackle for loss and a sack, respectively, before a Devin McCourty interception ended the drive on Jimmy Garoppolo’s first incomplete pass of the day:
New England was able to take advantage of McCourty’s pick, at least somewhat. The team — aided by a low-hit call against the 49ers — moved into field goal range before failing to pick up a 3rd-and-5. An incomplete pass intended to Harry that left the wide receiver headed for the blue medical tent on the sideline, ended the series for the Patriots.
While the Patriots could have attempted to pick up the five yards necessary on the first play of the second quarter, they decided to send out Nick Folk to attempt a 40-yard field goal. The veteran was successful and put the home team on the board. [Patriots 3 : 7 49ers]
Even after New England’s score, momentum stayed with the 49ers: behind a potent running game that easily moved the ball against the Patriots defense, San Francisco drove into scoring range for a second time. The team was unable to add another touchdown, however, and eventually had to settle for a field goal of its own. Ex-Patriot Robbie Gould hit the 41-yard kick and New England’s deficit was back to seven points. [Patriots 3 : 10 49ers]
Things got worse for the team before they got any better: on the very next play from scrimmage, Cam Newton threw an interception to linebacker Fred Warner that set the 49ers up on the New England 38-yard line.
After the Patriots turned their own takeaway into a field goal, the 49ers did them one better by scoring a touchdown: with running game once again powering the team’s offense, it scored on a 4-yard run from Kyle Juszczyk. The ensuing extra point was not made, however, as New England special teams ace Justin Bethel got a hand on the ball to deflect it just enough to have it hit the upright. [Patriots 3 : 16 49ers]
The Patriots continued to play some bad football after the touchdown. Gunner Olszewski and Jakob Johnson both had fumbles the football on the ensuing possession that were recovered by the offense, before Cam Newton threw a bad pass on third down to end the series. Down 13 points and will all the momentum on the 49ers’ side, New England therefore went three-and-out.
San Francisco continued to run the football at will against the Patriots’ defense, meanwhile, and drove 84 yards in just seven plays to add to its lead: Jeff Wilson found the end zone for his second touchdown of the day, this time from 16 yards out. [Patriots 3 : 23 49ers]
Down 20 points with under a minute left in the first half, New England’s offense turned into the Cam Newton and Jakobi Meyers show — for better or worse. A 23-yard connection between the two was called back because of a holding penalty on Joe Thuney, before they hit a 20-yarder to set up a new set of downs. On the very next play, however, Newton threw wide off the second-year receiver and the ball was picked off by cornerback Emmanuel Moseley.
To make matters worse, Moseley was able to return the football 51 yards to the Patriots’ 45-yard line. Not quite in field goal territory, Jimmy Garoppolo went for the home run on the final play of the quarter but J.C. Jackson was able to get in front of his intended target for the interception as time expired.
Despite his struggles in the first half, Cam Newton returned as the Patriots’ quarterback and the offense finally started to show some signs of life. Big plays by Damien Harris and Jakobi Meyers helped the unit move into field goal range, but the drive eventually stalled after three consecutive bad plays. New England still came away with points, though, courtesy of a Nick Folk 41-yard field goal. [Patriots 6 : 23 49ers]
San Francisco replied with another score of its own, though, to further add to its lead. After a 35-yard pass on 3rd-and-4 set the 49ers up in a goal-to-go situation, Jeff Wilson scored his third touchdown of the day to make it a 24-point game. [Patriots 6 : 30 49ers]
New England again moved the ball somewhat efficiently on its next drive, but it once more ended in disaster: Newton was unable to connect with Julian Edelman, and the pass popped into the air before being intercepted by cornerback Jamar Taylor — a pick that again set up a San Francisco score.
Starting at their own 45-yard line after Newton’s pick, the 49ers went on a long series that took over six minutes off the clock and ended with three more points being put on the board. [Patriots 6 : 33 49ers]
After Newton’s third interception of the day, he did not get another chance and instead was benched in favor of backup Jarrett Stidham. The second-year quarterback failed to fare any better, though, and on just his third pass attempt of the afternoon threw an interception as well — this one on a ball that went behind Julian Edelman and was picked off by Jamar Taylor.
The 49ers were unable to take advantage of this takeaway and eventually were forced to punt, but the game was already decided at this point in time.