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Breaking Down the Time of Possession in Sunday’s Loss

Here are some stats to take away from Sunday’s 30-21 loss to New England:

The Patriots controlled the ball for 39:52 vs. just 20:08 for the Niners. The Patriots ran a 13-play drive in the middle of the second quarter that ran 6:16 off the clock. That drive ended with a 35-yard field goal from Steve Gostkowski, shortening the 49er-lead to 14-10.

The third quarter was brimming with Patriots offensive plays. New England received the kick to open the second half and held onto the ball for 6:10 before punting. After the 49ers ran two plays, the second of which was a J.T. O’Sullivan interception to Rodney Harrison, the Pats ran off another 2:34 from the clock before scoring a touchdown to increase their lead (they took a 17-14 on a late-first half touchdown) to 24-14.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Niners ran a three-and-out on their ensuing drive, possessing the ball for just 1:57. The Pats ran the remaining 3:14 off the clock in the third quarter, giving them an astounding 11:58 TOP vs. just 2:26 for the 49ers. Sure, the Pats scored only one touchdown in the quarter, but it was just as important that they limited the Niners’ offensive chances in the third. The Niners ran five offensive plays in the third quarter: two O’Sullivan eight-yard scrambles, two completed passes for -5 yards and an interception. That might have been the worst offensive quarter in 49ers history.

After the 49ers came back with an 11-play, 80-yard, 4:31 culminating in a J.T. O’Sullivan touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce, the Pats came back with a 5:40 drive that ended in a 49-yard Gostkowski field goal and a 30-21 lead.

Time of Possession doesn’t often tell the whole story, but it was clearly a large factor in the 49ers blowing a 14-7 first quarter lead.

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