SANTA CLARA -- An oddity for the 49ers on Sunday: They actually won the time-of-possession battle against the Patriots -- 30:48 to 29:12 -- the first time they have done so since their Week 1 win over the Rams. Still, the Patriots ran more offensive snaps, 76 to 62, than the 49ers, whose defense has played three straight games in which it has been on the field for 70 or more snaps.
Heading into the game, safety Eric Reid was the team leader in snap count with 671. But he may not play another snap this season after suffering a suspected biceps tear on the Patriots final drive. New England was ahead by 13 points at the time, had driven to within field goal range and there were fewer than two minutes remaining. Still, the 49ers called timeout on the play before Reid was injured.
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Reid will have an MRI today to confirm the biceps tear. If he needs surgery and is out for the year, the best option -- especially with Jimmie Ward now in the concussion program -- is Jaquiski Tartt, who played 26 snaps Sunday. Marcus Cromartie also has played safety this year and the team has another, Vinnie Sunseri, on the practice squad.
Receiver Torrey Smith missed his first game ever. The beneficiaries were Chris Harper (33 snaps, 2 targets, 2 catches, 35 yards) and Aaron Burbridge (29 snaps, 1 target, no catches). Quinton Patton had 54 snaps while Jeremy Kerley had 42.
On defense, Quinton Dial played 41 snaps. He left the game with an apparent knee injury but returned. While he was out, Tony Jerod Eddie (12 snaps) filled in on base downs. Ronald Blair, meanwhile, has been filling Arik Armstead's role on passing downs. After logging single-digit snap numbers in the first half of the season, Blair has played 23, 30 and on Sunday 37 snaps in the last three contests.
Aaron Lynch (ankle) did not seem close to ready during the week of practice and was declared out for his third straight game. The outside linebacker snaps were divided among Ahmad Brooks (57), Eli Harold (54) and Tank Carradine (26).