By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
It’s hard to find anything truly “up” about this game for the Patriots. An ugly performance in all three phases of the game as the San Francisco 49ers embarrassed them on their own field by a 33-6 final. So clearly, today’s ups & downs will mainly focus on the downs.
C David Andrews. His return certainly looked to solidify things for the Patriots up front. The run game wasn’t bad up the middle and pass protection wasn’t a huge problem.
WR Jakobi Meyers.Entering for the injured N’Keal Harry, Meyers ended up leading all Patriots receivers with four catches and 60 yards. If Harry has to miss time with a head injury, Meyers is likely the beneficiary.
TE Dalton Keene. The rookie out of Virginia Tech made his first career catch in his NFL debut. He played the majority of snaps at TE after entering the game in the second quarter.
QB Cam Newton. Three interceptions and a pitiful 39.7 passer rating for Newton, who frankly stayed in the game too long. Newton has been woefully inaccurate lately, and his decision-making hit a new low on Sunday. Very uninspired football recently from the man who looked like a potential MVP candidate after two weeks.
QB Jarrett Stidham. As bad as Newton was, Stidham didn’t exactly seize the moment after entering the game in relief. In fact, Stidham somehow had an evcen worse passer rating than Newton at 39.2. If none of the Patriots’ QBs can turn their game around in a hurry, the season may keep spiraling downward.
Patriots defense. Yes, all of them. It’s tough to pin the Patriots’ defensive woes on one, two, even 10 guys. So screw it, everyone gets a thumb down. Their struggles against the Niners’ zone blocking was a team-wide calamity. They barely got any push up front, and clearly still have trouble with offenses that neutralize or de-emphasize the Patriots’ secondary. The Pats appear to have major long-term questions right now, but just for this season, it’s a problem that their defense got exposed like this.
HC Bill Belichick. This is typically reserved for the players, but Belichick should be on the list this week. The Patriots had a regular week of practice and still looked horribly unprepared for the 49ers. They’ve been sloppy on offense for three straight games now, and the defense is regressing. Fingers can be pointed at talent/depth issues in certain areas of the roster, but this performance was indicative of a problem that goes beyond the talent on the field. It’s time to wonder what’s going on with the coaching and the locker room.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at firstname.lastname@example.org.