The 49ers fell to an overall 2-3 record after Sunday's loss to the Patriots, marking their second consecutive defeat.
With 4:42 remaining, New England made it a two-score game with a 49-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The kick finished off a 10-play drive that ate up nearly six minutes off the clock.
Trailing by 9, the 49ers offense had two additional drives to mount a comeback. The first ended with an interception, while the second came to an end when JT O'Sullivan was forced to throw the ball away on 4th down as New England instead walked away with the 30-21 victory.
After leading 17-14 at the half, the Patriots extended their cushion to 27-14 by the start of the final quarter.
A Rodney Harrison interception on the 49ers first offensive series of the second half allowed New England a short field, which they capitalized on with a 2-yard touchdown run by Kevin Faulk. Faulk took it on a direct snap to go up 24-14 with 5:25 to go in the first half.
Gostkowski's 40-yard field goal with 14:53 in the final quarter completed an 8-play, 37-yard scoring drive that increased New England's lead 27-14.
Following the field goal, the 49ers put together an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass from JT O'Sullivan to Isaac Bruce for their second scoring hookup on the afternoon.
The score trimmed New England's lead from 27-21 with 10:16 to go in the final quarter, but the Patriots promptly responded with another field goal drive to round out their scoring efforts and seal the W.
The 49ers initially took a first quarter touchdown lead over the Patriots with a 16-yard strike to Frank Gore. O'Sullivan just managed to avoid a blitz and get the ball off to Gore, who despite blanketed coverage by Ellis Hobbs made the touchdown catch, finishing off the 4-play, 30-yard scoring drive.
The short field was set up by a solid defensive stance and then a 15-yard punt return by Nate Clements.
New England tied it up on the following series with a 66-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel to Randy Moss on a 3rd and 8 play. The 49ers ran a safety blitz and then used Clements underneath and Walt Harris over the top to defend Moss. Harris slipped slightly and Clements was a step behind Moss, who ran it in for the score, tying the game with 7:35 to go in the quarter.
The 49ers came right back on the next drive and regained a 14-7 lead with 5:25 to go in the first quarter after a 6-yard touchdown pass from O'Sullivan to Isaac Bruce. Bruce's catch finished off a 4-play, 64-yard drive, one in which he also accounted for a 34-yard explosive play.
With 5:27 to go in the second quarter, Gostkowski connected on a go-ahead 35-yard field goal to finish off a 13-play, 40-yard drive.
On their following series, New England scored again, this time on a two-yard touchdown run by Kevin Faulk that came with six seconds left in the second quarter. The run capped off a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was kept alive by an extremely costly unsportsmanlike penalty. Instead of having to settle for a field goal when Cassel went down at the line of scrimmage on a third down play, the Patriots were handed a first down at the six-yardline. Two plays later they got the score and the 17-14 halftime lead.
It was a dismal second quarter for the 49ers offense who was held to three straight three and outs.