Somber 49ers postgame locker room

The 49ers jumped out to leads of 7-0 and 14-7, and then disappeared

The 49ers jumped out to leads of 7-0 and 14-7, and then disappeared

OK, more accurately, their offense disappeared — literally. The 49ers were nearly lapped by the Patriots in time of possession. San Fran held the ball for just 20:08, while the Patriots offense was on the field for 39:52.

Things are starting to get serious, now. The 49ers will have to pick things up before the bye week or there could be changes in order.

Here’s what coach Mike Nolan had to say about the defense:

“I know we brought pressure. It’s a good example of getting five sacks. (I know) how excited people get about sacks and how they think they’re directly related to winning. That should give you a great example that it really isn’t. To win is all about having more points than the other team. It gets down to staying on the field offensively on third down and getting off on defense, and a lot of other things. But it’s never one area.”

The big play of the game, which seemed to give the Patriots a lot of confidence was that 66-yard TD pass from Matt Cassel to Randy Moss. The 49ers did a corner blitz on that play, but did not get to Cassel in time.

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INJURY REPORT: The only reported injury was to S Michael Lewis. He aggravated his right elbow injury in the fourth quarter. His status for next week’s game is uncertain.

* * *There were a lot of disappointed players in the 49ers locker room. Justin Smith said, “We lost a game we should’ve won today.”

Patrick Willis declined to speak with reporters after the game.

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Speaking of Justin Smith, he can’t believe the personal foul that was called on him late in the second quarter. Smith sacked Cassel for a 7-yard loss on third and 6 from the 49ers’ 10. However, referee Mike Carey called a personal foul on Smith, saying he used Cassel’s helmet to bring him down. Smith said he grabbed Cassel by the back of the neck.

“Whatever. I don’t agree with it,” Smith said. “I know I had him by the neck. That’s part of the body. That’s like grabbing his arm. I sure as heck didn’t grab his facemask. I don’t know.”

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Quarterback: D-minus

J.T. O’Sullivan had his second bad game in a row. He completed just 14 of 29 passes for 130 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. O’Sullivan did a better job of avoiding sacks, however.

Running back: C-plus

Gore had just 16 touches in the game, including 12 carries for 54 yards. He also caught four passes for 24 yards, including a 16-yard TD. It’s just that the 49ers offense was not on the field long enough to make any kind of difference.

Wide receiver/tight end: C-minus

Isaac Bruce caught two TD passes, as he had a team-leading 49 yards receiving. Vernon Davis was another non-factor with zero catches.

Offensive line: C-minus

The protection was all right most of the time, but there were certainly times in which things broke down and O’Sullivan had to escape the pocket to avoid sacks. O’Sullivan was sacked just once in the game.

Defensive line: F

The line did not play strong. This unit got pushed around quite a bit, as the Patriots rushed for 144 yards in the game and always put the offense in second-and-short situations.

Linebacker: B-minus

Takeo Spikes had an interception early in the game. Patrick Willis had 18 tackles and Spikes added 14, but many of those tackles happened too far down the field.

Defensive back: F

Nate Clements and Walt Harris had double coverage on Randy Moss, who still got behind them for a 66-yard TD midway through the first quarter. Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel had 259 yards passing.

Special teams: C

It was neither good nor bad for this unit. Andy Lee had a good statistical game, as he averaged 54.0 yards on five punts, including a career-long 81-yarder.

Coaching/overall: F

They just continue to push the wrong buttons. The 49ers got some pressure with their blitzes, but they were also burned badly on occasion. The 49ers are on a two-game losing streak, and they’re in danger of seeing this season spiral out of control.

–Matt Maiocco