Offense: Colin Kaepernick made several nice touch passes, which haven’t exactly been his forte, including two exceptional throws to tight end Vance McDonald. But he and the 49ers deteriorated in the second half, when they punted five times and, as has been the case all season, couldn’t maintain momentum in the third quarter. Grade: C-
Defense: Unlike other running backs this year, 250-pound LeGarrette Blount didn’t trample the 49ers, but he finished with 124 yards. The real issue was Tom Brady, who was good on third downs and excellent in the red zone, where he threw three touchdown passes. After forcing four turnovers last week against Arizona, the 49ers had none against New England. Grade: C-
Special teams: The 49ers had several ball-control flubs once the rain started, but only one – Bradley Pinion’s first punt – came on special teams. Phil Dawson kicked his 400th career field goal, a 33-yarder, in the first quarter. Grade: B+
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Overall: The question for the 49ers’ decision makers over the season’s closing weeks will be whether being merely competitive against good teams such as Arizona and New England – at least for a stretch – is enough to justify retaining the current coaching regime. Meanwhile, the 49ers embark on a nine-day trip to Miami and Chicago. Grade: C-