SANTA CLARA, Calif. — New England Patriots fans were ready to freak out after their team produced a sleepy effort in the first half of their Week 11 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.
Then the Patriots rebounded for a 30-17 win with a strong second-half effort. It’s not exactly time to dispel all worries about the Patriots and, most notably, their defense, because the 49ers are, uh, not a good team, to put it nicely. But at least this effort will quell some of the panic that was settling in around New England.
QB TOM BRADY
Brady didn’t completely light up the stat sheet, but he played well and worked with what he had, which wasn’t tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Chris Hogan.
Brady went 24 of 40 for 283 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers. He never looked quite comfortable in the pocket but did a nice job of evading pressure behind his leaky offensive line. Brady does need to stop throwing deep to Julian Edelman, however. He was 0 of 6 on those attempts.
RB LEGARRETTE BLOUNT
Blount did his best Clock Killin’ Corey Dillon impression, with 19 carries for 124 yards. He picked up a season-high 44-yard run in the first half.
WR JULIAN EDELMAN
Edelman, a Bay Area native, had a nice homecoming, catching eight passes for 77 yards with his first touchdown of the season. He also carried the ball twice for 12 yards.
Edelman seemed particularly jacked up to be playing in front of his hometown crowd.
WR MALCOLM MITCHELL
Mitchell did a fantastic job filling in for Chris Hogan, catching four passes on four targets for 93 yards with a touchdown, the first of his career.
Brady hit Mitchell for two deep passes, including a 56-yard catch and run, in which the rookie wideout picked up 35 yards after the reception.
CB MALCOLM BUTLER
Butler recorded a sack and allowed a late 16-yard reception on four targets. It might have been a boring day for the Patriots’ No. 1 cornerback, but by not being targeted frequently, it means he was doing his job.
Five different Patriots recorded one sack apiece. The Patriots’ previous season high in sacks was just three.
The Patriots might have found a winning formula with Butler and Eric Rowe at cornerback with Logan Ryan in the slot.
Rowe was targeted four times and allowed one catch for 7 yards. Ryan was targeted five times and allowed a 19-yard catch with two pass breakups and a holding penalty.
LB KYLE VAN NOY
Van Noy recorded a sack in his Patriots debut, more than three weeks after being acquired from the Detroit Lions in a trade.
Van Noy mostly played linebacker but did a nice job bringing pressure when he was asked to rush the passer. He finished with three tackles.
Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images