SF 49ers throttle Patriots in Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to New England

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

The SF 49ers demolished the Patriots in Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to New England, but the Niners’ Jeff Wilson was the star of the show.

While National Tight End Day was the focus in Week 7, the SF 49ers‘ focus on Sunday against the New England Patriots was getting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a position where he could show off a bit in front of his former team.

Garoppolo was plenty good enough, although the Niners’ 33-6 lopsided win over head coach Bill Belichick and the Pats was about as complete a win San Francisco had all season thus far.

San Francisco’s opening drive worked to perfection with Garoppolo hitting wide receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle twice apiece, combining for 59 yards and culminating with a 3-yard touchdown run by the fill-in starting running back, Jeff Wilson, to go up 7-0.

That was the first opening-drive touchdown allowed by the Pats all season.

Yet Garoppolo’s first incompletion of the game sailed right into the hands of New England’s defensive back, Jason McCourty, which put an end to the thought Garoppolo would have a completely dominant game against his former squad.

Thankfully for San Francisco, coordinator Robert Saleh’s banged-up defense came to play. Despite being without starting safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward, who were out with injuries, the SF 49ers held the Patriots to a mere 59 first-half yards. Linebacker Fred Warner answered Garoppolo’s interception by picking off Pats quarterback Cam Newton in the second quarter:

Safety Tarvarius Moore, filling in for Ward, added six tackles and a pass broken up. Reserve nickel back Jamar Taylor also added two interceptions.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk rushed in a 4-yard touchdown to put San Francisco up 16-3 with just over six minutes left in the first half. That marked Juszczyk’s second rush touchdown of the season and the third of his career.

But Wilson was the star of the first half for the SF 49ers, as he finished the two quarters with 92 yards on 14 carries and the Niners’ third touchdown, his second of the game. In total, San Francisco had 301 total yards of offense in the first half, 127 of them coming on the ground.

By game’s end, the SF 49ers outgained the Patriots 467 yards to 241. Wilson had 112 rush yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns. He was a difference-maker in place of the injured starter, Raheem Mostert.

New England tacked on a field goal on its opening second-half drive. Yet the Niners answered with Wilson’s third touchdown, although he suffered a leg injury on the score and had to be carted to the locker room.

With the 33-6 lead, the SF 49ers continued to maintain their defensive dominance and forced yet another Newton interception. New England’s starter finished going 9-of-15 for 98 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions and a 39.7 passer rating before being benched in favor of his backup, Jarrett Stidham.

Jimmy Garoppolo OK enough in SF 49ers’ trip to Patriots

San Francisco’s ground game shouldered the load for Garoppolo and the offense in New England, although the Niners quarterback still did plenty enough to ensure his team would come away with a much-needed road win.

True, Garoppolo’s two interceptions weren’t a great stat line. But the one before halftime on a last-second Hail Mary play shouldn’t be held against him. And the overall line of 20-of-25 for 278 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions for a 79.7 passer rating is a bit misleading considering the final outcome.

And for those thinking Garoppolo couldn’t throw deep, his 35-yard dime to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to set up Wilson’s third touchdown said otherwise.

Aiyuk had his first 100-plus-yard receiving game in the NFL, too.

Most importantly, Jimmy G did all he needed to do to ensure his team got the win and improved to 4-3 on the season.

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Especially with the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks looming in Week 8.