FOXBORO -- Colin Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree on a 38-yard touchdown pass with 6:33 left in the fourth quarter to lead the 49ers past the Patriots, 41-34, Sunday night, spoiling what would have been the greatest comeback in team history. The Patriots scored 28 straight points to wipe out a 31-3 deficit with over 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
However, San Francisco responded with 10 straight points, and after a late Patriots field goal, the Niners recovered an onsides kick to seal the game.
As a result, the Patriots saw their winning streak snapped at seven games and fell to 10-4 on the season. They dropped into the No. 3 spot in the AFC playoff picture behind No. 1 Houston and No. 2 Denver.
The Patriots lost for the first time in the second half of the season since losing at Houston on Jan. 3, 2010. The Patriots also lost the turnover battle for the first time this season and for the first time in 22 games, as Tom Brady was intercepted twice while the running backs lost two fumbles. Brady finished 36-of-65 for 443 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 68.9.
The Patriots started the game with the ball but were forced to punt, one of three three-and-outs for New England in the first half. The Niners drove 63 yards in six plays, capped off by a 24-yard TD pass from Kaepernick to Randy Moss down the left seam, in which the former Patriots receiver beat Alfonzo Dennard. The Patriots were 0-for-7 on third down in the first half and were held without a touchdown in the first half for the first time since Week 2 against the Cardinals.
Brady had one of the roughest halves of his season, completing 10-of-19 passes for 76 yards and an interception. His quarterback rating at the half was 40.7.
Up 7-0, the Niners had several chances to put the game out of reach in a 10-minute span in the first half but failed to put any points as the Patriots forced a turnover, the Niners missed a 39-yard field goal, and fumbled away another possession.
The Patriots could only muster a Stephen Gostkowski field goal in the first half. The Niners made it 14-3 when Kaepernick found a wide open Delanie Walker from 34 yards out down the right sideline. San Francisco drove to the Patriots' 4-yard-line before settling for a David Akers 20-yard field goal at the halftime gun, giving the Niners a 17-3 lead.
The Patriots got the ball to open the second half and couldn't move it, forced again to punt. The Niners drove the ball to the Patriots 33 when Devin McCourty intercepted Kaepernick in the end zone. The Patriots responded with a drive deep into San Francisco territory. But Stevan Ridley -- who had a fumble nullified in the first quarter when he was down by contact -- fumbled as Donte Whitner forced the ball loose and Dashon Goldson returned it 66 yards to the Patriots' 4-yard-line. Frank Gore ran it in on the next play for a touchdown.
On the next series, Brady's pass intended for Aaron Hernandez was picked off by Aldon Smith. On the next play, Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree over the middle from 27 yards to put the Niners up, 31-3, with 10:21 left in the third quarter.
The Patriots then began their furious comeback. The Patriots drove 73 yards in 13 plays, capped off by a Danny Woodhead 6-yard run to make it 31-10 with 5:59 left in the third. Brady's 1-yard run on 4th and goal made it 31-17 on the first play of the fourth quarter. After a 38-yard pass interference call on Tarell Brown set up the Patriots at the Niners' 5-yard line, Brady hit Hernandez on an out pattern to bring the Patriots within one score. The Patriots finished their comeback with Woodhead's second TD run, a one-yard run with 6:45 left.
But San Francisco answered immediately with a LaMichael James kickoff return of 62 yards to the New England 38. On the next play, Kaepernick found a wide open Crabtree for a touchdown down the left sideline that gave the Niners the lead after 28 straight points by New England. Instead of punting, the Patriots failed on fourth-and-1 at their 12 with just over two minutes left as Brady's pass to Woodhead fell incomplete. Akers hit a 28-yard field goal with 1:56 left to give San Francisco a 10-point lead.
The Patriots hit the road next Sunday for a game against the 2-12 Jaguars before finishing the regular season on Dec. 30 at Gillette against the Dolphins. For more coverage from Chris Price and Mike Petraglia, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots and the blog It Is What It Is.
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox left fielder, who had five hits in the Sox win in Baltimore.
Rob Bradford is joined by both Lou Merloni and Curt Schilling to discuss the recent controversy involving Manny Machado, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Barnes and their respective teams. The two former major leagues offer insight to how baseball handles (and should handle) hitting batters as an act of revenge, with their own stories of involving similar situations as the one that unfolded in Baltimore. They also break down the decision to take Chris Sale out of his last start after eight innings. The former pitcher and batter cover it all from every angle.
Hour 4. Bradford joins the show to defend the fact that he attends Ortiz’s charity event for free. Alex doesn’t think it was unethical to out Hernandez.
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.
Hour 2. The guys talk discuss Hernandez’s gay lover with Reimer. Reimer says there aren’t a lot of straight guys looking to experiment. Bradford tells Mut he paid for his wife to attend the Ortiz charity event.
Some house cleaning is being done at ESPN as reports of employee cuts begin to come out. And how pissed/not pissed should Matt Barnes be?
Buck joins the guys to discuss his piece on how the Red Sox need to address the Dustin Pedroia-Matt Barnes situation.
In a break from the usual, we start the show by goofing on Glenn. We get into the Boston Globe's piece on Tom Brady's charity.
The article didn't actually reveal anything that wasn't already public record, but the Globe "expose" on Brady and his relationship with the Best Buddies charity certainly has everybody around here talking about it.
We spend some time talking Sox as news of the rain cancellation comes down. A few more thoughts on the spat in Baltimore and Dustin Pedroia, plus David Price takes to twitter for his "media session".
Dollar beer night in Houston!
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Buck and Reimer debate over whether it’s appropriate to speculate about Aaron Hernandez’s sexuality. Buck says his sources don’t corroborate what Michele McPhee and the Daily Mail have reported about the disgraced ex-NFL star’s love life. Reimer disagrees with the Boston Globe's assertion that there's a homophobic element to the Hernandez story.
Buck and Reimer share their coming out stories and discuss the different ways they decided to reveal their sexualities. Buck waited until more than 30 years into his career, whereas Reimer announced he was gay during his second appearance on WEEI. On that note, Buck presses Reimer on whether he's exploiting his sexuality to further his career.
Rich Keefe & Uncle Buck (Boston Sports 101) talk about the greatest comic book writer of all-time, Alan Moore. They look at his best works including Watchmen, From Hell, V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Plus they rank the movies he has inspired (and refused to watch).
Danny talks about the Red Sox and Orioles game and the fireworks in the 8th inning when Matt Barnes threw at Manny Machado. Pedroia was shown talking to Machado saying he wouldn't have thrown at his head and Danny wants to know how bad does this make Pedroia look throwing a teammate under the bus.More from this show
Hour 4. Crazy Al calls in for the second day in a row. A terrible caller tries to make a point. The Arkansas inmates had interesting last meals. Tomase’s epic acceptance speech.More from this show
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.More from this show
Hour 1. Mut joins Kirk and Gerry. The guys can’t believe neither Boston newspaper covered the Hernandez sexuality story. Over the weekend, the Globe’s Bob Hohler wrote a slanted piece about Tom Brady’s work with charity.More from this show
Hour 4. The guys think the Globe was looking for more with Brady, possibly a Trump connection. Crazy Al joins the show multiple times.More from this show