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Sunday night wrap-up: 49ers hang onto wild one

San Francisco 49ers v New England Patriots Getty Images

Benching a quarterback who rarely turned the ball over and usually won was a tough call.

And at times during the 49ers’ 41-34 win over the Patriots, it looked like it was going to backfire.

But for all the discussion about the transition from veteran Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick under center, the man taking snaps almost doesn’t matter with the way the 49ers play defense.

The league’s top-ranked defense bludgeoned the league’s top-ranked offense for the first 35 minutes or so, making the Patriots look like they were the ones on the road in adverse conditions. They pressured Tom Brady. They forced turnovers. They made Wes Welker disappear.

That’s not defense. That’s magic.

The Patriots entered the game averaging 36.3 points and 425.7 yards per game, and they showed why while erasing a four-touchdown deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

But the 49ers showed some resilience, taking that shot and answering, stopping Tom Brady at a point where it almost seemed fated to become another chapter in his legacy.

The shots they were doling out all night had a cumulative toll on the Patriots, who looked gassed at the end. The 49ers improved to 10-3-1 and clinched a playoff berth, and they proved they can come up with a stop, which will be helpful when they’re playing people not named Tom Brady.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Kaepernick does some amazing things. That’s why 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made the change.

But he might also do things that shorten the season.

Like many young quarterbacks, he will lock onto his first read, and he will throw interceptions. That’s fine, when he’s playing with a lead. But at some point in the next month (actually next week), he’ll see defenses which make him pay for it more than occasionally.

And Frank Gore’s not always going to be there to pick up his fumbled snaps and carry them for touchdowns. He needs to play a cleaner game if the 49ers want to make good this potential.

Kaepernick can make big plays, but there were some troubling signs in the midst of the win.

2. Take away the simple fact the 49ers changed quarterbacks in mid-stream. They are a nightmare to prepare for because of the way they’re constantly changing personnel.

From the modified pistol formation they which caters to Kaepernick’s skills to empty backfields to traditional two-tight end, one-back sets, they present a constant challenge.

It’s hard to match up when you don’t know where people are going to be, and having tight ends as varied as Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker makes it that much harder.

3. Devin McCourty looks completely at home playing safety.

If the Patriots had a few more players in their secondary as good at their jobs, they would be much better off. Since converting from cornerback, he’s made plays, and they badly needed someone in the middle of the defense who could.

4. You know what else the Patriots could use? A running back with better hands.

Stevan Ridley is talented enough, but you wonder how many more chances he’ll get when turns it over twice in a significant game.

There’s a reason the Patriots have been a home for wayward veterans like Kevin Faulk and others over the years. Trust is important to coach Bill Belichick, and Ridley just burned a good share of his tonight.

5. At different points in the last few weeks, the Packers and 49ers have taken turns looking like they might be the best team in the league.

But both teams have a quiet problem that could loom large in the postseason, with kickers they can’t trust enough.

The Packers keep propping up Mason Crosby, but it’s telling some of the kicks the 49ers don’t let David Akers try any more.

He’s been shaky on all but the short ones all year, and you can easily see it changing play-calling in a close game.

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94 Responses to “Sunday night wrap-up: 49ers hang onto wild one”
  1. buffalose says: Dec 17, 2012 12:15 AM

    So the balk didnt hit his foot? 1st down. “Over there” ha

  2. ch1ggs says: Dec 17, 2012 12:15 AM

    Niners could have hung 55-60 on the Pats had they not screwed up so much in the 1st quarter.

    Pats defense is awwwwwwwful. Then again, the Pats offense made the Niners defense look terrible.

  3. buffalose says: Dec 17, 2012 12:15 AM

    *ball

  4. dd2189 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:15 AM

    Congrats to 49er fans well deserved win coming from a pats fan. I’m glad the patriots lost its a reality check so they can fix some stuff going in to the play offs.

  5. oaktown49er says: Dec 17, 2012 12:16 AM

    That was an amazing game. I couldn’t believe how many point the Niners left on the field early (and still scored 41!). Kaep made some huge throws. The D-line looked good but I hope J. Smith is ok. Aldon made a lot of plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet. The Pats are a great team, seriously awesome, and I never felt comfortable. How are they 1-3 against the NFC West? L. James did a great job staying in bounds late. Now please tell me the Niners can win more than 2 in a row. Freddie P. Soft you are not welcome in SF. Magic # is 1 to win the West!

  6. rayray5227 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:18 AM

    Hate him or love him, Brady is pretty amazing. The Kobe of the NFL. The guy has a natural killer instinct and fire to win. That being said, the 49er defense is absolutely terrifying.

  7. explosionsauce says: Dec 17, 2012 12:18 AM

    I think a big part of all the fumbling was the cold wet weather. I’m not reading into it too much. Kaepernick did stellar with what little passes they (coaching staff) allowed him to make. LaMichael James cannot be denied anymore.

  8. richwizl says: Dec 17, 2012 12:18 AM

    It was a great game; I never thought so many points would be scored on such a sloppy night. 49ers just made a couple more plays than my guys to secure the win late. Congrats to them; hope we meet again, soon.

  9. blacknole08 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:18 AM

    I think this game was more telling for Colin Kaepernick than Brady. The kid can flat out play, and went into NE in December and put up great numbers through the first 3 quarters.

    But you are right — how will Colin respond when his team is not winning? He left a TON of plays on the field and fumbled some snaps.

  10. transam7816 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:19 AM

    With 2 timeouts and a little over 2 minutes left, pats decide to go for it on 4th and 3 on their side of the field. They don’t convert and SF makes it a 2 possession game. By not punting it, belichick cost them the game. Horrible call coach

  11. jtchernak says: Dec 17, 2012 12:19 AM

    My trust in Ridley is gone and wildness gained a lot of it. Maybe bolden deserves a chance at it just hold on to

  12. traviskraft24 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:19 AM

    Fine and dandy, great game and great win… But man am I worried, Kaep has got to clean up those mishandles and Ted Ginn needs to be required to call fair catch. Also where has Vernon been? You can’t tell me it’s his fault, they rarely target the guy anymore. I swear Bruce Miller gets more passes thrown his way.. smh at play calling.

  13. dirtydrew says: Dec 17, 2012 12:20 AM

    Huge win for the Niners. No more question about the qb position. Kap is the man.

  14. polegojim says: Dec 17, 2012 12:21 AM

    Never seen so many drops/deflections from Pats.

    Brady was not sharp early either, lots of balls behind and high… but to give up a TD on TWO plays after THAT effort… WOW.

    Just proves… can’t mail it in. Show up at the top of your game every week… or lose.

    Get it out of the way BEFORE the playoffs.

  15. kattykathy says: Dec 17, 2012 12:22 AM

    The best team in the league is Seattle

  16. Brinke says: Dec 17, 2012 12:22 AM

    We will see Hoodie Man again. In February @ the SB.

  17. fasteddy415 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:23 AM

    I wanna hear what them wanna be qb evaluators have to say now about CP7 (Including Niner Fans)…oh and them arm chair qb’s predicting a Pats blow out. Please feel free to speak! NINERS!!!

  18. ampatsisahypocrite says: Dec 17, 2012 12:23 AM

    This time the Patriots didn’t get to play the Texans. Aw, too bad.

    Although the refs did do their best to keep them in the game with that absolutely HORRIBLE phantom pass interference call in the end zone. Seriously, I haven’t seen such a dive like this since Brazil in the last World Cup.

    New England was exposed tonight like a pervert in a bus station. Yeah, some “elite” team they are, media who try to shove them down our throat each week.

    The NFL is wide open this year. (Flacco has been exposed for the fraud he is, besides New England.) Should be a fun playoffs.

  19. thehighhat says: Dec 17, 2012 12:24 AM

    San Francisco and Seattle feasted on the weak AFC Least.

    NFC Worst no more! You mad bro?

  20. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Dec 17, 2012 12:25 AM

    Niners have traveled well under Harbaugh. Huge win tonight. Wore out the living room carpet

  21. unionjack1776 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:25 AM

    Looks like Ernie Adams wasn’t able to bail out his team this time though he tried up in his secret magical stadium booth.

  22. bestcoast7 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:25 AM

    LMAO where’s all the haters now? talkin all that good good all week…what are you gonna use for an excuse now? SF went across the country and smacked that flag football offense in the mouth.

    Next.

  23. mumakata says: Dec 17, 2012 12:25 AM

    Great game. It dumped the pats into the three seed in the AFC and we all know the pats can’t win without a bye. Payton Manning deserves to be MVP.

  24. mrpolarbear99 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:25 AM

    AFC East Destruction Tour complete.

  25. Josh says: Dec 17, 2012 12:26 AM

    That was the most exhausting game I have watched since the last Super Bowl. Patriots came out flat. Hope it was just the effective of a short week after a big game on Monday night. 49ers D is nasty, but certainly not immortal. Brady needed to play better from the start. That pick on 1st down was a killer. Throw it away and live to fight two more downs. Bring on the cake schedule and a home Wild Card game. Then off to Denver or Houston.

  26. pftcensorssuck says: Dec 17, 2012 12:26 AM

    Great game!

    Hats off to the Niners, who simply played better tonight, though everyone has to admire Brady coming back 28 straight points and the defense holding San Fran scoreless during that period.

    San Francisco showed a heck of a lot more tonight than Houston did last week.

  27. kash71 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:26 AM

    I suggest any team playing the 49ners in the playoffs, hire Jeff Fisher as a consultant…

  28. supremekingz says: Dec 17, 2012 12:27 AM

    All I know is, I better not see the Pats ranked #1 come Tuesday afternoon

  29. sixjak says: Dec 17, 2012 12:27 AM

    This was a gut wrenching game to watch in the 2nd half. Hats if to the Pats for making it a very entertaining game.

  30. bennyb82 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:27 AM

    Was I the only one annoyed with NBC cutting to the president giving a speech for the shooting victims? A moment of silence was enough. I understand the president wanting to show he cares…but the constant footage given to a tragedy is just going to motivate another person to do the same thing. While 99.9999 percent of the population is thinking how awful it would be to gain fame for killing, there are probably people out there who get turned on by this…and as long as the media can gain more viewers by publicizing this stuff, it will not stop. Sad

  31. enochmh2 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:28 AM

    Patriots do not simply get blown out! Belichick,hate him or love you have to admire the way he makes in game adjustments. 34 points on the niners,wow

  32. m1kehawk says: Dec 17, 2012 12:28 AM

    NINERRRRRRRRRSSSSS!!!!!!!!

  33. redandgoldhitman52 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:29 AM

    tom brady wishes he was a 49er

  34. theysone says: Dec 17, 2012 12:31 AM

    FOUR fumbled snaps by Kaepernick tonight.

    Someone needs extra practice on the center/QB exchange.

  35. jaytea24 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:31 AM

    Well done San Fran!!!

    -Broncos Fan

  36. jbaxt says: Dec 17, 2012 12:31 AM

    Well, Pioli definitely got the arrogance from New England, it just too bad he got nothing else. Down 7, 3 minutes left, you’re on your own 20, 4th and 2 and you go for it? Why? Punt, stop them, tie it up. By going for it, if you fail, like you did, you’re forcing a 2 possession deficit.

  37. joestemme says: Dec 17, 2012 12:32 AM

    Fun game to watch, but, why oh why did the 49ers go to a modified version of a Prevent Defense in the THIRD QUARTER?? You’ve held your opponent to three measly points and then you change your strategy with 20-25 minutes left in the game?

  38. tedmurph says: Dec 17, 2012 12:34 AM

    Pats got out-coached, out-physicalled and out played tonight. Shouldn’t have been that close. Disappointing. But, they’re still in the mix, despite probably not getting a bye. If I were Jacksonville, I’d find a way to collectively call in sick next week. It could get ugly. Time to make Bolden or Vereen the featured back, can’t trust Ridley anymore.

  39. redwoodking says: Dec 17, 2012 12:38 AM

    The 49ers announced themselves as serious SB contenders. All the minor things aside, they still play defense and can run the ball. As Kap gains experience, they will become vastly more dangerous. Nice to see Roman open up the play book finally.

  40. ninerhatersgetready4ring6 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:40 AM

    Wow no comments ? Where are all the haters that said the Niners were not gonna have a chance and Brady would do this and that. Remember people, a good defense always beats a good offense a majority of the time.
    This game should not have been close. The Niners should have put up 60 pts on that defense. Brady threw the ball 65 times with only one TD thrown , unbelievable. Hernandez got alligator arms on half his plays.
    Time to give the respect they deserve to go into Foxboro and dominate for three quarters is impressive. Let’s face it the defense got tired after a near NFL Record 92 offensive plays by NE. Great win HATERS TIME TO OWN UP……..

  41. sanfranfanyouknowit says: Dec 17, 2012 12:42 AM

    6. as long as the refs are that biased NE should be headed to another super bowl. good game to watch but frustrating. I mean you see CK7 get his helmet spun around and they flag the offense for illegal use of hands to the face. Come on Hockulee, we expect better from one of the best refs in the league.

  42. sacaypaga says: Dec 17, 2012 12:42 AM

    Patriots got that ass whipped.

  43. tschwilly876 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:42 AM

    Congrats to the 49ers. Hard fought game. Catch you in February down in the bayou….time to bench ridley…3rd down Danny deserves more snaps…go pats…see you in Jacksonville next sunday at noon. Gronk will be back terminator style.

  44. newtons2ndlaw says: Dec 17, 2012 12:44 AM

    Hey PhilPhan, Kaepernick >>>>>>>>> Tannehill
    LMAO.

  45. norcalmafia says: Dec 17, 2012 12:44 AM

    Uh..sorry but Kap outplayed Brady tonight hands down and Crabtree is a boss.

  46. 49ersgiants4life says: Dec 17, 2012 12:47 AM

    The one positive that I see out of huge negative is the patriots put up the most points without Justin smith on the field the heart and soul of the defense I hope he isn’t out any significant amount of time because he is such a huge piece of the d

  47. timj997 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:48 AM

    Tom Brady dropped back: 65
    Offensive holding calls against New England: 0

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

  48. oaktown49er says: Dec 17, 2012 12:50 AM

    The Niners rarely sent more than 4 rushers. The Pats are good at breaking down schemes but the Niner don’t have a weak link in the D so they play many teams straight up. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady both wanted to play for the Niners, glad they didn’t pass on another QB who wanted to go to SF.

  49. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Dec 17, 2012 12:52 AM

    Congrats to the San Fran 49ers and Colin Kaepernick, who appears to be the real deal. And let’s give credit where credit is due. New England got out-muscled in the first half. Still, I applaud the Patriots’ impressive comeback effort tonight and have every expectation that the team will “go to school” on this experience. The lesson here is that New England doesn’t need a “bye” week or home field advantage to win another AFC championship. It needs a DEFENSE that plays MORE PHYSICAL, as in “smash mouth” football. That’s the ticket to Super Bowl XLVII.

  50. ninerdynasty says: Dec 17, 2012 12:53 AM

    Akers needs to get cut before the season ends… If balkee is not making calls right now to find a replacement.. he is playing with fire.. When a fan and the coach itsekf gets nervous about kicking a field goal from the 15 yard line.. that tells u something..a change needs to be made ASAP!

  51. brokentreehousemusic says: Dec 17, 2012 12:55 AM

    Not to nitpick, but if there’s one adjective that doesn’t describe Kevin Faulk it’s “wayward.” He was with the Patriots from the day he was drafted out of LSU in 1999 until his official retirement this year.

  52. gwylie1 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:58 AM

    Go niners

  53. sportsguybayarea says: Dec 17, 2012 12:58 AM

    Wait, 41-34?!?! How?? The niners weren’t suppose to score more than 25! Plus no team can beat the patriots at New England in December! Brady is playing lights out and the offense is rolling!…yeah everyone got caught up with offense as always and forgot that defense is also part of the game. Credit to Brady and the patriots for making a great comeback but all the credit the niners for making key stops in the second half while Brady was doing his thing. Good game by keapernick and great game by the best defense in the NFL. Next stop, Seattle

  54. goldrush36 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:59 AM

    So where’s the idiot that said the 49ers couldn’t score 40+ in their wildest dreams? Mind you it was all offensively. Even better where’s the dozens of idiots that predicted an unbelievable blowout for the pats?

  55. holahey123 says: Dec 17, 2012 1:00 AM

    Good game, Patriots. I knew the game was far from being over in the late 3rd quarter. And please, Pats fans, stop the “Gronk wasn’t on the field” reason for the loss.

  56. capecotton says: Dec 17, 2012 1:03 AM

    It’s probably true about running backs with good hands and lets not forget that it was Woodhead who fumbled last week (into the arms of the underappreciated Brandon Lloyd). I’m thinking that when all is said and done, big undrafted Brandon Boldin is going to be on the top of this depth chart, if he can show that he’s not a fumbler. I wish he had been activated for tonight’s game. But, since you mentioned Faulk, Faulk also had some fumbling problems early in his career, and worked them out eventually, much like Tiki Barber did in NY. So, there’s hope for them yet.

    Another thing that hasn’t been mentioned. You think that Brady didn’t miss Gronkowsky tonight? After all, you lauded the 49ers TE tandem. That tandem was pretty much modelled on the Patriot tandem, IMO.

  57. ampatsisahypocrite says: Dec 17, 2012 1:11 AM

    31-3 and you’ve been dominated, owned and destroyed.

    Any kind of points from there are of the garbage-time variety. Only because you let up and go into prevent.

    That’s the bottom line.

  58. stephenpaulfreese says: Dec 17, 2012 1:20 AM

    This game is a defining moment for the 49 era faithful. Kap is in only his 5 th start in the NFL and is showing the intangibles for future greatness. Smith is good but Kap has the “potential” for greatness, if not just to be a very very good QB. Hence the change from Smith to Kap by 49er coach and QB guru. The 49er QB legacy seems to be close to being back on track again. This is no guarantee that this year is the year for a championship, as Manning, Brady, and a few other will decide that, but the juggernaut is functioning again and in the next few years it will be epic battles with the great young QB’s in the NFL, NFC west and Kap will only improve so as a real “fan” who remember Y.A Tittle and Brody back in the old yard, Kesar Stadium, the niners are going to be perennially back in the hunt. All any fan really wants. Brady deserves all of the props and should go down as the second greatest QB of all time in the modern era. He still may win one or two more championships. He still may lead NE to the title this year too. Montana though, will be overwhelmingly considered the number one QB of all time or at least in the modern era though. Why? Performances in Championships. Not fair as some of the top ten greats did not play on great teams, but that is the way it is. Montana never turned the ball over in four super bowl appearances while winning all four. (He did have three picks in the “The catch”, the memorable 1981 NFC Championship) that catapulted him to stardom) For NE fans though, I would still take Tom today over Manning today as the greatest QB of this era.

  59. CKL says: Dec 17, 2012 1:25 AM

    First congrats to the 9ers. To me, they are the NFL’s best team. I don’t know who all of you fans are who think we Pats fans thought it would be some blowout, but none I know of did. Also NO ONE is blaming the loss on not having Gronk. Would he have helped, especially vs this defense? Yes, but so what? Injuries are part of the game and all teams have to deal with them. I am glad the Pats showed some fight and battled back. It concerns me that they likely have no shot at the #2 seed since they never have even gotten to the SB under BB unless they were one or two, but you never know.

    Also lol at the two loser Steelers fans trolling the thread. Seriously pathetic stuff.

  60. sschmiggles says: Dec 17, 2012 1:25 AM

    Are people joking? The pats made so many amateur mitsakes in the first half, that was the worst half they played all season. Yeah the niners could’ve scored morevbutbso could the Pats.

    This isn’t a woulda coulda shoulda league. In the end the 49ers won a close game. Thats all there is to it.

    I think both teams are better than they played tonight, as little sense as that makes

  61. doublezero74 says: Dec 17, 2012 1:42 AM

    Great win 49ers. It took a miracle but congrats nonetheless. How many fumbles wound back in the miners hands tonight? Four ? Five? Muffed punts? The patriots got beat tonight but they’re still a better team than that lucky pile of trash from the Bay Area. See you in NO I hope

  62. tigerlilac says: Dec 17, 2012 1:50 AM

    I watched the game tonight on a cruise ship. It was a great venue to see just how much fans hate the Patriots. Huge cheers for any SF big play or Pat’s screw up. They were rowdy in the first half and then went silent in the second half until the huge SF kickoff return with the game tied. As a Pat’s fan, it was great. The envy and fear of the Patriots warms my heart (most of the crowd were not SF fans). I never enjoyed a Pat’s loss more. Great game to watch and kudos to SF.

  63. thrillheaux says: Dec 17, 2012 1:51 AM

    “Stevan Ridley is talented enough, but you wonder how many more chances he’ll get when turns it over twice in a significant game.”

    He only turned it over once. The announcers just kept saying he turned it over twice because they forgot that he was down on his first “fumble” (which was reversed.)

  64. rainponcho87 says: Dec 17, 2012 1:55 AM

    This 49ers fan didn’t like the soft, kill-the-clock defense beginning in the 3RD QUARTER! That is a crazy strategy and it almost cost them the game. The offense is good with Kap leading the way. Play your normal D and let the kid throw the ball.

  65. jtbaudendistel says: Dec 17, 2012 2:01 AM

    Niners 35. Seattle 21

  66. baymac408 says: Dec 17, 2012 2:08 AM

    That’s how we get it in!! We left points out there.. And Tom was Tom… But we still played 49ers hard nose grind out football!! Shout out to Crabtree!! And Kaep!! That’s how we do it!!! GO NINERS!!!

  67. bratbeach says: Dec 17, 2012 2:10 AM

    First, great game by the Niners! They came to play and their d-line is so fierce! Also, I don’t have a horse in the Smith-Kaepernick (sp?) race but it seemed like some people were unfairly against him just because he took the position from the injured QB. It’s not his fault the coach gave him the start, so I think it’s good for him to maybe silence some of the people who seem to think he “unfairly” got the starting spot.

    Second, lol at these comments mocking the Pats or saying they suck etc. Yes, they were ROCKED in the first half but came back hardcore in the second and tied it. A game that should’ve been over in the second, was still up for grabs late in the 4th. In what world is putting up 34 on the top defense and coming back from 28 down in the second half being “exposed”? I get that some people just hate the Patriots but hating a team doesn’t have to equate to making idiotic statements.

    Disappointing for the Pats that they blew a shot at a bye though. Denver isn’t gonna lose to Cleveland or KC so looks like they’ll be playing in Foxboro wildcard weekend.

  68. deflatedfootball says: Dec 17, 2012 2:13 AM

    The Pats are 1-3 against the NFC West and have only blown out the Rams who the Niners lost to on the road and tied at home.

    Kaepernick was solid, but other than that, this game was sloppy and was either teams to win or lose. Maybe all of these Niners trolls in here gloating about winning the Super Bowl should step back and be grateful that they dodged a bullet and that the Patriots still employee Kyle Arrington.

    Fun game to watch either way, even in defeat.

  69. mrlynch33 says: Dec 17, 2012 2:33 AM

    Niners fan from RI. I went to the game and the one thought I had leaving the stadium was……I can’t believe the best offense in the NFL would drop so many passes. Great comeback but the Miners left a TON of points on the field in the first half.

  70. mrlynch33 says: Dec 17, 2012 2:36 AM

    How many passes did Hernandez drop? On the other hand…Brandon Lloyd looked good tonight. Better start using him and Woodhead more.

  71. ynot1381 says: Dec 17, 2012 2:47 AM

    The hyperbole after regular season games each week is silly. 49ers made it tough and their strong start was enough.

    No one should feel comfortable with any lead against New England, but the 49ers are the best defensive team in the league.

    Great game. Hopefully, we see a rematch.

  72. mostovnik says: Dec 17, 2012 3:05 AM

    Holy Cow, what a game!
    Colin Kaepernick is MONEY.
    I have to admit I didn’t give my niners much of a chance because of their reliance on running the ball over a pass-heavy offense. But tonight Kap threw for 4 touchdowns. Just what this offense needed.
    The defense was God-like. Going to a “prevent” strategy in the third quarter let N.E. back into the game (Brady is scary) but late in the fourth the S.F.
    defense shut the door like champions.
    Some mishandled snaps are nothing for the kid. Did you see those dropped touchdown passes he threw?
    Why won’t Vernon Davis dive for the ball when it’s within his reach? Stretch it out man!
    This was one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen.
    Seattle is going to be a bitch after this exhausting affair.

  73. patsfan22 says: Dec 17, 2012 3:33 AM

    Gronk’s absence wasn’t to blame for this loss. Pats didn’t show up for 3 quarters and you can’t do that against an elite team. It was a great comeback but they ran out of gas at the end (especially when injuries bring Kyle Arrington onto the field – he is awful).

    I’m sad the Patriots weren’t able to pull out what would have been the craziest comebacks of all time but to be quite honest SF made a ton of mistakes in the redzone and the game could have easily been 50-3 before Brady got going.

  74. forever9ers says: Dec 17, 2012 4:45 AM

    Kaepernick’s the man, no discussion.
    And any team that likes Alex Smith can pony up 3 first round picks for him.

  75. justwannawinna says: Dec 17, 2012 5:25 AM

    Pats showed they are by far the best offense in football when they answered a 4 td lead, the 49ers really had things rolling defense to shut the Pats attack for that long. But then again the Pats just needed a better defense so stop that offense enough to let their offense keep up. If this is a superbowl prelude then the Pats may win next time, knowing Gronk is on the field with more adjustments. And good point about Colin he seems to be getting lucky that he has such good players around him. It might be safer for the 49ers to start getting Smith back on the field.

  76. otistaylor89 says: Dec 17, 2012 6:21 AM

    As a Pats fan, 49ers are scary and talented. Of course not having your 2nd best offensive player hurts and the Pats aren’t going anywhere without Gronk.

  77. indianbob says: Dec 17, 2012 7:33 AM

    Niners need a new FG Kicker!

  78. patsfan13 says: Dec 17, 2012 7:40 AM

    It was heart breaking to give up that long return, and then a TD pass one play later, after evening the score. Pretty much a back breaker. Kudos to the Niners.

  79. bucckevin says: Dec 17, 2012 8:44 AM

    Pats should fare much better in a rematch with Gronk in the game. I love Hernandez but you could see a huge difference between the two. Hernandez is a nice compliment player and Gronk is a difference maker.

  80. gisellichek says: Dec 17, 2012 8:55 AM

    May I say… The Pats lost for the reason every team looses in this league… Turnovers… and the difference in this game was when SF lost ball … they landed on it (I think 5 times they put it on the turf) … When the Pats lost the ball … SF landed on it … you cannot win in this league turning the ball over 5 times… PEROID.

    What The Pats showed everyone is they can and still have a chance to win… There is no team in this league that can do what the Pats did in the 4th quarter.

    I still like our chances… hopefully we get a rematch in February. I promise the outcome will be different.

    So to Niner Nation… Great win!

  81. EJ says: Dec 17, 2012 8:57 AM

    That game was just a measurement for Brady and Belichick. They know that they have the AFC locked down, so they just need to prepare to play either San Francisco or a surprise team like the Packers, Atlanta, or even Seattle.

  82. richwizl says: Dec 17, 2012 9:03 AM

    I read these discussions last week and, frankly, did not see a bunch of Patriots fans predicting a blowout; most said they expected a close game and did not act like haters. Those of you who say The Pats are fakers, a weak team etc. are delusional. You can make all the excuses you want re your Defense getting tired or whatever, but we all know you were soiling your undies when the pats tied the game and we all know you’ll be praying you don’t have to face them again in the SB, when we’ll have Gronkowski back. Hope to see you in New Orleans.

  83. blabidibla says: Dec 17, 2012 9:34 AM

    I have been a huge Kaepernick detractor, but the kid proved me wrong last night. I never believed he could beat the Pats in their house. He made soem great throws last night. Still making a few rookie mistakes, but I’m beginning to believe in the kid.

  84. harrisonhits2 says: Dec 17, 2012 9:49 AM

    “There’s a reason the Patriots have been a home for wayward veterans like Kevin Faulk and others over the years.”

    Wayward veterans ? Do you have a clue as to what you’re talking about ?

    Falk was drafted by the Pats and spent his entire career in New England. Nothing “wayward” about him.

  85. pats1977 says: Dec 17, 2012 9:52 AM

    I don’t understand why they don’t teach fumble machine Ridley to cover the ball with both hands as he makes contacts.

    Why did the coaches let him back in the game after the 1st fumble when Woodhead not only was having a better game against the 49rs defense, but he was the only back they put out there that didn’t fumble.

    I knew the weather would affect the outcome of the game. The Pats offense is predicated on precise rout running and timing. I’m tired of seeing this defense. It always seem to find a way to play the crappiest when the game is on the line. Arrington is our worst corner, and Patricia put him in man to man coverage with no safety help on top, wow. Great call Patricia!!!

  86. charliedamon says: Dec 17, 2012 9:54 AM

    Nice game to get up for and steal, Niners. Now go back to losing to, or tying, the Rams. Can you handle the pressure of the playoffs without fumbling it away this time? We shall see.

  87. dayumyou says: Dec 17, 2012 9:54 AM

    Great Game….I give MEGA props to the Pats fans who NEVER left the game even when it was 31 to 3 on a cold, dark, wet night….as a Steelers fan I totally get the hate that Brady generates but he is one of the best in the league!!!!

  88. indyshepherd says: Dec 17, 2012 11:05 AM

    The Pats now have to go through the Texans and Broncos on their respective home turfs. That’s a pretty tall order. I guess the Pats won’t have a cakewalk to the SB like we originally thought.

  89. 88ibis says: Dec 17, 2012 11:59 AM

    Did anyone else notice this:

    During the moment of silence all of the players and fans were looking very somber while the flares were being fired. A few players looked pretty shook up. Then they cut to Tom Brady. Tom places a finger over his left nostril and blows a snot ball out of his right nostril.

    Really Tom? You’re the father of three young children, and you can’t just sniffle for a few seconds until the tribute was over?

    Classy.

  90. nicepak381 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:50 PM

    I have zero concerns about Ridley; the first “fumble” was a dead play and the second came due to a helmet hit on the ball while he was carrying it correctly; that ball comes out no matter what. Vereen fumbled for no reason. If the Pats are “reasonably” healthy going into the playoffs, I believe they will beat everybody, regardless of where they play.

  91. 49erlifer says: Dec 17, 2012 1:18 PM

    Last season was a fluke remember the haters said we would be 6-10 this year.

  92. pats1977 says: Dec 17, 2012 2:45 PM

    ampatsisahypocrite says: Dec 17, 2012 1:11 AM

    31-3 and you’ve been dominated, owned and destroyed.

    Any kind of points from there are of the garbage-time variety. Only because you let up and go into prevent.

    That’s the bottom line.

    ——————————————————
    What game of the year do you think teams will watch to prepare against the 49rs? You niners fans should be worried facing a high scoring offense with an elite QB in the post-season after last night’s game. The Pats were not playing like they are capable to at the beginning of the game. And when they were, they put 31 second half points against the so-called best defense in the league. With what that offense did the Texans’ defense the week before, be my guess and not give them credit for the comeback. Don’t count on a bad weather to help you force 4 turnovers in the post season against the Packers.

    I guess the Pats’ defense was not as bad as everyone said they were last year when most teams were playing the Pats from behind.

  93. eastcoastniner says: Dec 17, 2012 3:36 PM

    Something has to be done about Ted Ginn….he is going to “Kyle Williams” us in the post-season. Akers too….need to bring in some FA’s.

  94. mazblast says: Dec 17, 2012 7:11 PM

    timj997 says:

    Tom Brady dropped back: 65
    Offensive holding calls against New England: 0

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
    ————————————-
    The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person runs the league like David Stern runs the NBA.

    –Rule change proposals where there’s been no demand.

    –Blatant preferential treatment by the referees for those teams owned by The Great One’s buddies.

    –Fines and punishment for those who dare question His Almightiness and/or do things that don’t add to The Bottom Line. Bigger fines and punishments for players and/or teams that aren’t on He Himself’s A-List.

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