SANTA CLARA – On a day former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo was honored, the team rolled back the clock to his second year in charge of the franchise.
And that is not a good thing.
The 49ers hung around for a while Sunday but went down in defeat to the New England Patriots on a rainy day at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers’ 30-17 loss extended their losing streak to a franchise-tying nine games.
Chip Kelly’s team matches the nine-game losing streak of 1978, which was DeBartolo’s second season running the 49ers. The 49ers fired Pete McCulley after the first four games of the streak, replacing him with Fred O’Connor.
The next season, DeBartolo hired Bill Walsh as head coach.
On Sunday, the 49ers received a lesson from the organization that most closely resembles what DeBartolo accomplished in the 1980s and ‘90s with Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana.
Bill Belichick’s AFC East-leading Patriots improved to 8-2 on the season, while the 49ers drop to 1-9 after opening the season with a 28-0 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Tom Brady was not his usual sharp self, perhaps due to the weather conditions, but he managed to throw four touchdown passes to lead New England to the victory.
Brady, a 17th-year professional, made his first start against the 49ers in the Bay Area. Brady grew up a fan of the 49ers and was at the NFC Championship game in January 1982 that produced Dwight Clark’s catch that propelled the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance. Brady was 4 years old.
Brady completed 24 of 40 attempts for 280 yards with four TDs and no interceptions. His passer rating was 114.6.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick got off to a good start, but struggled in the second half with nine consecutive incomplete passes. He finished with 16 completions on 30 attempts for 206 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 97.4.
Brady threw touchdown passes to cap the Patriots’ first two offensive possessions of the game. He tossed a 4-yard pass to fellow San Mateo native Julian Edelman. Brady’s second TD came on a 9-yard pass to running back James White for a 13-3 lead.
Kaepernick matched Brady pass for pass in the first half, as the 49ers kept it close. Kaepernick connected with tight end Vance McDonald on an 18-yard touchdown pass to make the score 13-10 at halftime. McDonald beat Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty for the score. McDonald took the team lead with his fourth touchdown reception.
In the first half, Brady completed 12 of 17 for 108 yards and a passer rating of 126.6. Kaepernick completed eight of nine attempts for 116 yards and a passer rating of 155.8.
The 49ers held the opposition scoreless in the third quarter for the second week in a row. Through the first eight games, the 49ers were outscored 58-13 in the third quarter.
But while the 49ers shut out Brady and the Patriots in the third quarter, it did not take Brady long in the fourth quarter to get into the end zone. Brady found receiver Danny Amendola alone in the end zone for a 5-yard scoring pass for a 20-10 lead with 14:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
DeBartolo honored: Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo was awarded with the “ring of excellence” for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. David Baker, the Hall of Fame president, was on hand to make the presentation during a driving rain at halftime.
“I was told all these years I brought rain, thunder and lightning to this franchise, and today proves it,” DeBartolo said.
The 49ers won five Super Bowls during DeBartolo’s leadership, which ended in 1997. Many of DeBartolo’s former players, including Hall of Famers Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Charles Haley, were on hand for the ceremony.
Smith’s streak ends: Wide receiver Torrey Smith missed the first game of his six-year NFL career due to a shoulder injury. Smith was declared as one of the 49ers’ seven inactive players for Sunday’s game. Smith appeared in each of his first 89 games since entering the league in 2011 with the Baltimore Ravens. Smith entered Sunday with the second-longest streak among wide receivers for consecutive games played. Eric Weems of the Atlanta Falcons has played in 129 straight games.
This ‘n’ that
--Cornerback Jimmie Ward exited the game in the fourth quarter and was taken into the locker room for evaluation of a possible concussion. Ward was injured on a play in which he tackled Edelman for a 7-yard gain.
--The 49ers let a major opportunity slip away in the first quarter. After driving to the New England 3-yard line on first and goal, Carlos Hyde was dropped for a 4-yard loss. On third down, Kaepernick was sacked for an 8-yard loss. The 49ers settled for Phil Dawson’s 33-yard field. He became the 10th player in NFL history to make 400 field goals.
--Former Patriots wide receiver Chris Harper made his first catch as a member of the 49ers. His 19-yard reception in the first quarter helped set up Dawson’s first field goal of the game. Harper finished with two catches for 35 yards.
--The 49ers were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third quarter for coaches on the sideline being too close to the field. Referee Jeff Triplette said the 49ers sideline had been warned earlier in the game.
--Rookie receiver Aaron Burbridge made his second start of the season. He was targeted once but did not catch a pass.
--Running back Carlos Hyde had his best game since Week 3 with 86 yards on 19 rushing attempts. Shaun Draughn added three catches for 43 yards, including a 13-yard score late in the fourth quarter.
On the other side, LeGarrette Blount rushed for 123 yards on 19 carries for the Patriots. Blount is the eighth opponent in the past nine games to rush for more than 100 yards against the 49ers.
--The 49ers were called for 10 penalties for 69 yards.