The 49ers pounded their way past the New England Patriots and back into the NFC playoff race with their 33-6 victory in Foxborough. The 49ers picked up right where they left off last week, driving 75-yards for a touchdown on the opening drive. San Francisco’s offense scored on four of its six possessions in the first half, and the defense held New England to only three points in a dominating effort on that side of the ball as well.
The win didn’t come without a cost though. In a scene that has become all too familiar for the 49ers this season, they lost Jeff Wilson Jr. to an ankle injury after a second half touchdown run and Deebo Samuel to a hamstring injury early in the fourth quarter. The injury to Samuel is the most concerning as he has been the engine of the 49ers offense the last two weeks.
Let’s take a look at the answers to the 5 burning questions that I asked on Friday.
1. Will the 49ers be able to offset the loss of Raheem Mostert? YES. The 49ers turned to Jeff Wilson Jr and he delivered with a terrific performance, carrying the ball for 112 yards and three rushing touchdowns before injuring his ankle. The 49ers also lined Deebo Samuel up in the backfield a few times, and Jamycal Hasty once again showed the ability to flash with 56 yards on only nine carries. Kyle Juszczyk also scored a touchdown and gained 18 yards on four carries.
Outside of the running game, the 49ers rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk got over 100 yards for the first time in his career and George Kittle hauled in five passes for 55 yards as well.
2. Will it be a good homecoming for Jimmy Garoppolo? YES. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but Garoppolo was able to make some good throws downfield and finished the day with 277 yards while completing 80% of his passes. If Garoppolo can keep doing what he did against New England, minus the bad interception on the second 49ers possession, San Francisco may be able to fight its way back into the playoffs.
3. Can the 49ers offensive line repeat? YES. For the second week in a row the 49ers offensive line played really well. They kept Jimmy Garoppolo clean, allowing only one sack, while opening holes for a run game that put up 197 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per attempt. This was the first time in 2020 that we have seen the 49ers physically dominate an opponent the way they did last season.
4. Can the 49ers defense contain Cam Newton? YES. The 49ers defense did a terrific job of forcing Newton to play from the pocket, resulting in three interceptions, while not allowing him to make plays in the run game. Newton was so bad that he was replaced early in the fourth quarter by Jarret Stidham.
5. Can Kyle Shanahan reverse the trend against Bill Belichick? YES. The 33 points scored by the 49ers was only one shy of the high that Shanahan’s offense in Houston put up on Belichick back in 2009. The 49ers offense dominated from the start, and punted only one time in the game.
5b. Is the 49ers offense from Sunday night against Los Angeles sustainable? YES. Kyle Shanahan put together a masterful performance for the second week in a row. The wide receiver runs and screens were still present like last week, but they were spread throughout the game and we even saw Deebo Samuel line up in the backfield a few times. As good as the opening drive was, Shanahan did a masterful job of managing the offense after Garoppolo threw an interception on the 49ers second possession. When the 49ers got the ball back Shanahan began to go with his best personnel groups, 22 and 21 personnel for 18 of their next 21 plays over three possessions that resulted in 17 49ers points.
Prediction Time: 49ers 17 Patriots 20 … You’re Welcome