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Patriots Ups & Downs: Cam Newton Benched, Offense Nonexistent In Loss To 49ers

By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Well that was UGLY. There is nothing to feel good about the Patriots following a 33-6 drubbing by the 49ers in Week 7. Nothing.

Cam Newton and the offense stunk. The defense pretty much stunk. It was 60 minutes of stink at Gillette Stadium. And the Patriots don't look like a team that is getting better at the moment. It's now been over a month since they played a decent football game, let alone a good one.

"When you lose 33-6, you can't say, 'We're close,'" Devin McCourty said after Sunday's "embarrassing" loss. "We're 2-4 and can't say, 'We're right there.' We have to put our heads down and work."

The Pats just got dealt their biggest home loss under Bill Belichick. They've now lost three straight. They are 2-4 with four of their six games taking place at Gillette. That is not going to get it done in the NFL.

These parts are usually reserved for Four Ups and Four Downs, but we'd be kidding a lot of people if we put down four positives from Sunday's loss. So here's a smattering of Downs with a few quick Ups from an otherwise bad day of football in Foxboro.

Offense Brutal Again

The Patriots had the ball for just 7:30 in the first half and the 49ers took a 23-3 lead into halftime. The game was basically over at that point, because the offense never gave them a chance to win.

And even when the Patriots did have the ball, nothing good came of it. Newton threw two picks in the first half, and his first one was especially brutal. After the Patriots defense held the 49ers to a field goal, Newton answered with his fifth interception of the season. He went looking for Jakobi Meyers but instead found Fred Warner, and the 49ers added six points to the scoreboard off that pick.

Newton was picked off again late in the second quarter when he went deep -- way too deep -- for Meyers, and his errant throw fell into the arms of Emmanuel Moseley.

He was picked for a third and final time in the third quarter, when he threw a pass behind Julian Edelman that got tipped and came down in Jamar Taylor's arms. The Newton-Edelman connection has not been there since Jules had his career game against the Seahawks in Week 2.

Newton was benched after that pass, finishing his day 9-for-15 for 98 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. His passing was off throughout the game, and he's now up to three straight poor performances as QB of the New England Patriots. The offense hasn't looked very good since Week 2.

"I have put this team in a rut with my performances here," Newton said after the game. "Just start over Monday and see how it goes."

Bill Belichick said that Newton will be back under center next week in Buffalo. But you have to wonder if he'll have a short leash if the offense struggles again.

Run D Nonexistent

The 49ers ran all over the Patriots, picking up 197 yards on the ground on 37 carries -- good for a 5.3 average. There was nothing the Patriots defense could do against San Francisco's ground attack.

Jeff Wilson ran for three touchdowns, including a 16-yard score in the second quarter when he ran into the end zone untouched. Wilson left after his third score of the day, picking up 112 yards on just 17 attempts.

The Patriots surrendered 127 rushing yards in the first half, with San Francisco averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

Harry Hurt

The Patriots are already thin at receiver, so losing anyone at the position will further strain their depth at the position.

Their depth at the position was strained on the final play of the first quarter, when N'Keal Harry suffered a head injury and did not return. Harry was popped by safety Tarvarius Moore while trying to bring in a Newton pass over the middle on a third-and-6. Harry dropped the pass after taking a shot to the head and fell to the ground. He was clearly dazed when he got up and ordered to the blue medical tent on the sideline. He made his way to the New England locker room, and that was his afternoon.

Get ready for those cries for a receiver at the trade deadline to get a lot louder.

Opening Drive Touchdown

The 49ers scored on their first drive and never looked back. It was the first opening drive touchdown the Patriots have allowed this season.

But San Fran made it look easy, mounting a nine-play, 75-yard march to the end zone, capped off with a three-yard rushing score by Wilson.

What hurts even more is that the Pats could have forced a three-and-out, but Ja'Whaun Bentley couldn't wrap up Jimmy Garoppolo when the QB kept it on a third-and-3 at San Francisco 32-yard line. A few plays later, Garoppolo hit Deebo Samuel in the backfield and the wide receiver turned it into a 23-yard gain to the New England 34. George Kittle had a 15-yard reception on the next play, and Samuel had a 14-yard reception down to the New England 3-yard line before Wilson found the end zone.

Garoppolo went 4-for-4 for 59 yards the opening drive, and the 49ers were off an running.

Another Scoreless 1st Quarter

The Patriots weren't good offensively throughout the game, but they're not doing themselves any favors by putting up goose eggs in the first quarter. Though they kicked a field goal to start the second quarter, the Patriots once again failed to put points on the board in the first 15 minutes of the game.

New England has yet to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter this season. The team has just seven points in their six first quarters in 2020, and those came off a Devin McCourty pick-six against Seattle.

The Patriots had just 32 yards of offense in the first quarter on Sunday.


McCourty's Pick

Devin McCourty picked off his second pass of the season late in the first quarter. Garoppolo went way too high for Kittle over the middle, and McCourty was there for the easy interception.

Garoppolo had been a perfect 9-for-9 before McCourty's pick.

That interception was nice, but McCourty's words were much more powerful after the game.

"You don't want to ever come out and get embarrassed like we did today. There's no excuses," said McCourty. "It's just embarrassing. We have to go out and play to keep jobs. I know Coach Belichick, the Krafts, they're not fielding a team for us to go out and play like that."

Jakobi Meyers Catches Some Passes

Meyers caught four of the six passes that went his way for 60 yards. He was one of the lone bright spots on offense for the Patriots.

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