NE-SF grades: Patriots' backfield trio impresses in win over 49ers
New England Patriots 30, San Francisco 49ers 17
Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Patriots’ win over the 49ers.
Brady weathers storm in first half, takes off in second
Quarterback grade: Tom Brady, 69.7
QB Tom Brady has looked pretty mortal the past two weeks after shredding defenses for his first five games of the season. Against San Francisco, Brady struggled until about the 3:00 mark in the third quarter, but made the necessary adjustments against a 49ers defense that hasn’t really stopped anyone all season. The future Hall-of-Famer was on fire when under pressure, completing 70 percent of his passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, good for a passer rating of 152.1. Wet conditions hurt Brady’s deep ball, as he completed just one-of-six deep passes (throws traveling 20+ yards in air), but the one completed pass was an incredible scramble and throw to rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell for a 56-yard TD.
Top offensive grades:
RT Marcus Cannon, 82.9
LT Nate Solder, 82.7
WR Julian Edelman, 76.4
RG Shaq Mason, 76.1
RB LeGarrette Blount, 74.3
Backfield trio impressive splitting snaps and touches
Bruising RB LeGarrette Blount got the bulk of the touches and rumbled his way to 124 yards on 19 carries with 80 coming after contact. Dion Lewis made his first appearance of the year after coming back from injury and showed no signs of rust; he had eight touches (five rushes, three receptions) for 49 yards and forced three missed tackles. James White didn’t get any carries, but caught all six of his targets for 62 yards and a touchdown, good for a passer rating of 149.3 when targeted.
Top defensive grades:
CB Logan Ryan, 91.6
DI Alan Branch, 85
CB Eric Rowe, 82.9
LB Dont’a Hightower, 82.6
FS Devin McCourty, 78.6
Cornerback duo shuts down 49ers’ passing attack
The entire Patriots’ defense had an impressive afternoon, with no single player racking up the stat sheet; four different players notched a sack apiece, and LB Dont’a Hightower was the only player with more than three defensive stops. CB Logan Ryan was easily the best player on the field for New England, as he allowed just two catches for 7 yards on six targets, recording two pass defenses. Counterpart Eric Rowe had almost an equally impressive game, surrendering one catch for 7 yards on five targets; Rowe also broke up one pass.
Quarterback grade: Colin Kaepernick, 36.1
Kaepernick unable to generate enough through the air
QB Colin Kaepernick struggled for most the game, and outside of a couple of throws on the team’s final drive, failed to move the offense efficiently down the field. Missing on six of his eight passes beyond 20 yards, Kaepernick helped himself by scrambling for 31 yards to extend drives, but his lack of touch ultimately undid him, as he consistently missed his intended target. Under pressure on 17 of his 37 dropbacks, Kaepernick completed just five-of-10 pass attempts when facing pressure for 65 yards.
Top offensive grades:
LT Joe Staley, 77.2
TE Vance McDonald, 76.8
HB Carlos Hyde, 76.6
TE Garrett Celek, 71.3
WR Christopher Harper, 70
HB Carlos Hyde paves his own yards
Former Ohio State Buckeye Carlos Hyde impresses when he is able to stay healthy, and he showed his ability against New England, forcing five missed tackles on just 19 carries, averaging 3.47 yards per carry after contact. Hyde wasn’t helped in any way by his offensive line, as not a single player graded positively in run blocking, with C Daniel Kilgore faring the “best,” with a run-blocking grade of 47.6.
Top defensive grades:
DI DeForest Buckner, 79
ED Ahmad Brooks, 77.9
CB Jimmie Ward, 77.3
CB Tramine Brock, 76.5
ED Cornellius Carradine, 76
Few bright spots in a valiant effort
The most impressive part of this game was that it was 13-10 deep into the third quarter before Tom Brady started doing Tom Brady things—that’s when things unraveled. Rookie defensive lineman DeForest Buckner continues to improve, recording seven QB hurries. Outside of Buckner, the 49ers’ pass-rush recorded just one sack, one hit, and six hurries. CB Jimmie Ward minimized the impact of his six surrendered catches, as he allowed just 70 yards and recorded a pass defense.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Logan Ryan, CB, Patriots
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