SANTA CLARA — On an afternoon dedicated to former Hall of Fame owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Patriots fans invaded Levi’s Stadium and New England handed the 49ers their ninth straight loss, winning 30-17 on Sunday.
Mother nature was the great equalizer in the Bay Area on Sunday. Rain and the sloppy conditions leveled the playing field between one of the NFL’s best teams and one if its worst.
Rowdy Patriots fans were chanting “Brady! Brady!” most of the afternoon and they were rewarded with another dominant performance from football’s ageless wonder. Tom Brady served up four touchdown passes, threw for 280 yards and notched his 199th career win, tying him with Brett Favre for second of all-time.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brady spun out of DeForest Buckner’s grasp and tossed a 5-yard touchdown dart to Danny Amendola, all while falling to the turf. Later in the quarter, Brady — while being clobbered in the pocket — launched a 56-yard touchdown strike to Malcolm Mitchell to put the Patriots up 27-10.
Colin Kaepernick (16/30, 206 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) strung together a strong first half of football but another miserable second half. Kaepernick started the game going 8-for-9, for 116 yards and an 18-yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald. But the second half was a disaster and included a period of eight straight incompletions from the 49ers quarterback. McDonald led the team with 3 catches for 46 yards.
Although they are playing better, similar problems from the 49ers defense arose against New England. A LeGarrette Blount 44-yard scamper led to a Patriots touchdown. A third-down penalty from Rashard Robinson wiped out an Ahmad Brooks sack. Brooks later lined up offsides on a third-down, prolonging another Patriots touchdown drive. Blount became the eighth running back in nine games to rush for more than 100 yards against the 49ers defense this season.
San Francisco’s offensive line had issues protecting Kaepernick. The Patriots registered 5 sacks on the afternoon, a week after their front seven took heavy criticism in a loss against Seattle.
Carlos Hyde played a significant role in the 49ers’s success on offense, carrying the football 19 times for 86 yards. He’s one of few boxes the 49ers can check off heading into the 2017 season.
Phil Dawson booted his 400th career field goal in the first quarter, becoming the 10th kicker in NFL history to reach that milestone.
The 49ers will travel to Miami next Sunday to face the Dolphins.