Foxboro, MA, United States (4E Sports) – Colin Kaepernick threw a personal-high four touchdown passes in his fourth career start as the San Francisco 49ers booked a playoff spot for the second straight year with a 41-34 victory over the AFC East champion New England Patriots Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
“Great victory, really loved the way our team sucked it up so many times,” said Jim Harbaugh, who led the 49ers to a second straight postseason at the helm. “We didn’t make all the plays, but we made a lot of plays. They made plays, too, but we made more. It’ll be a happy flight home.”
The 49ers have a chance to clinch the NFC West title with a victory over the Seattle Seahawks next week. If San Francisco loses, the division race will be decided in the final weekend.
Kaepernick outplayed New England counterpart Tom Brady, completing 14 of 25 passes for 216 yards and hitting Michael Crabtree for two scores and one apiece to veteran Randy Moss and Delanie Walker as the 49ers improved to 10-3-1.
“It is a little bit crazy, a little bit surreal,” Kaepernick said after beating Brady in his home turf. “I’m just trying to keep my head down and try to keep it going as long as I can.”
Crabtree tallied 107 yards on seven carries with two scores and Randy Moss caught two passes for 36 yards and the game’s first touchdown that added another chapter to a storied and Hall of Fame career.
“It was a great touchdown,” said teammate Delanie Walker. “I saw Moss make a nasty grab. It shows he’s still got a lot left.”
Brady finished 36-for-65 with a touchdown and two interceptions but ran for a score. Running back Danny Woodhead rushed for 61 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns for the Patriots, who saw their seven-game winning run come to an end.
Moss’ touchdown gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead in the first quarter before Stephen Gostkowski put the Patriots on the board with a 32-yard field goal.
Kaepernick later found Walker for a 34-yard touchdown and David Akers booted a 20-yard field goal for a 17-3 halftime lead for the 49ers.
The 49ers extended their lead to 31-3 in the third period before the Patriots scored four consecutive touchdowns to tie the game.
Kaepernick pushed the 49ers ahead with a 38-yard scoring toss to Crabtee and Akers added a 28-yard field goal to put the game beyond reach.
“We knew we were going to have to put up points,” Kaepernick said. “Tom Brady and that offense are very potent. They can put up a lot of points so we knew we were going to match that today.”