CNHI News Service

Sports

December 17, 2012

Patriots weird loss to 49ers makes road to Super Bowl harder

Foxboro, Mass. — Sunday night's waning minutes victory (41-34)  by the San Francisco 49ers over the New England Patriots was one of the strangest rollercoaster games in National Football League history. The Patriots overcame a four-touchdown, third quarter deficit (31-3) to tie the game only to lose in the end.

But more than a big game victory slipped away from the Patriots. The loss also made the team's chances of returning to the Super Bowl a lot more difficult. If the standings stay as they are now, New England will not get a first-round bye in the playoffs and will very likely play the second round and AFC title game on the road if they progress that far. So much for homefield advantage.

The Denver Broncos, winners of nine in a row after being blitzed by the Patriots  at Gillette Stadium Oct. 7,  have catapulted past New England into the No. 2 AFC seed spot. Denver has two easy foes on their remaining regular season schedule — home games with Cleveland and Kansas City.

They win, they get a one week vacation and will host somebody in Denver. As the probable No. 3 seed, that “somebody” is most probably the Patriots.

And the Houston Texans, humiliated by the Patriots last Monday night (42-14), need only one win against Minnesota or Indianapolis and they get the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

The Patriots, for the first time in a  long time, were not prepared for a team of the caliber of San Francisco. .

The 49ers did everything the Patriots usually do: win the toss, defer, get the first touchdown, get a second touchdown and make you play catch up.

It was striking how the 49ers pushed the pace, particularly on offense, confusing the Patriots defenders, putting coach Bill Belichick's team on its heels.

“The season is not over,” said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who threw a record 65 passes in the game played in rain, cold and fog. “We still have two games to play.”

Text Only
Sports
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg What will happen in NFL draft? No one really knows

    Despite the hours spent interviewing coaches, watching film and developing well-reasoned mock draft lists, the truth about the 2014 NFL draft remains a mystery, well-guarded by teams that have nothing to gain by publicly sharing their innermost thoughts.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp Hoffner's return 1.jpg Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach

    The boycott lasted one day, but the players who refused to practice for the college football coach from Minnesota who was reinstated to the job recently after a 20-month absence said they got their point across: better communication and a continuing significant role for their interim head coach who led the team to one of its best seasons ever in 2013.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp Hoffner's return 1.jpg Players protest return of fired Minnesota coach

    The University of Minnesota-Mankato football refused to practice Wednesday afternoon, boycotting the return of Todd Hoffner as head foot ball coach. Players said in a prepared statement that they preferred interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team to an 11-1 record last season and the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Too much of a good thing at UConn?

    The Connecticut Huskies dominate women's college basketball - which makes for a boring game.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 5.06.43 PM.png Spartans mourn passing of 'Princess Lacey'

    Lacey Holsworth, the 8-year-old cancer patient from Michigan who befriended Michigan State forward Adreian Payne and established a bond with his teammates before and during the Spartans’ run to the Elite Eight, died at her home late Tuesday night, her family said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Taking someone out to the ballgame gets expensive

    Families in big-league cities like Boston and New York pay steep prices to catch a baseball game. It's not so expensive everywhere - especially if you're frugal.
     

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • hank_aaron_display_image.jpg VIDEO: Aaron's historic homer

    On the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th career home run, take a look at the historic moment as it happened.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

News

Features

Opinion