Before a 2017 trade to the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo was the presumed heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England.
In his first game against the Patriots in the post-Brady era on Sunday, he was the best quarterback on the field. San Francisco’s defense swarmed New England quarterback Cam Newton as Garoppolo’s 49ers cruised to a stunning 33-6 victory. It was the Patriots’ largest margin of defeat in 21 seasons under head coach Bill Belichick.
Cam Newton benched
Newton didn’t make it out of the third quarter as Belichick replaced him with backup Jarrett Stidham. Newton’s third interception of the game spelled an end to his day.
Garoppolo wasn’t perfect but he was more than good enough as San Francisco’s running game and defense capitalized on mistakes by Newton, who hasn’t been the same since returning to the lineup from the COVID-19 reserve list.
Newton completed nine of 15 pass attempts for 98 yards and the three interceptions without posting a touchdown. Stidham wasn’t much better in his stead, completing six of 10 attempts for 64 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. The now 2-4 Patriots have a glaring problem at quarterback after 20 seasons with Brady under center.
Garoppolo good enough, 49ers return to form
Garoppolo, meanwhile, finished 20 of 25 for 277 yards and a pair of interceptions. He didn’t score a touchdown. He didn’t need to as San Francisco rode a red-hot Jeff Wilson Jr. to 112 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Meanwhile, rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk had a breakout game, catching six passes for 115 yards.
It added up to a second straight win for the 4-3 49ers, who appeared to be reeling after a 43-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 amid an avalanche of injuries. Sunday resembled the type of smothering performances that became familiar in last season’s run to the Super Bowl.
More from Yahoo Sports: