Racing out to six straight wins to open the season with a less-than-formidable schedule left some people doubting how good the San Francisco 49ers actually are. Blowing out a Carolina team that had won four straight games should quieten some of those critics.
Tevin Coleman on Sunday scored three of his four touchdowns in the first half and rookie Nick Bosa had three sacks to go along with an acrobatic interception as the 49ers remained unbeaten with a 51-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers in their highest-scoring game in 26 years.
“It doesn’t really matter what the outside world thinks,” said 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who had an interception. “We knew the talent we have, we just have to execute and focus on us, and let the chips fall where they may.”
The Niners (7-0) are off to their best start since winning their first 10 games in 1990 and now have a second win against a team with a winning record thanks to a complete performance against the Panthers (4-3).
Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense had little trouble carving open Carolina’s defense with 232 yards rushing and a pair of touchdown passes for San Francisco’s most prolific offensive game since beating Detroit 55-17 on Dec. 19, 1993.
The defense did the rest.
San Francisco intercepted three passes from Kyle Allen, who went into the game with no interceptions on 153 career attempts while winning his first five starts in place of the injured Cam Newton.
They also had seven sacks, with Bosa getting three of them to go along with his leaping interception and 46-yard return on the final play of the third quarter.
“Whenever your moves are working really good, it’s a good feeling,” Bosa said. “Once you get a sack early you calm down.”
Coleman did most of the rest of the damage to the Panthers.
He scored on a 19-yard run in the first quarter, added a 10-yard catch in the second quarter, broke the game open with a 48-yard run late in the first half and added a one-yard run late in the third.
Coleman finished with 11 carries for 105 yards and two catches for 13 yards.
He became just the third 49ers player to score at least four touchdowns in a regular-season game, joining Jerry Rice and Billy Kilmer. Rice holds the record with five against Atlanta in 1990.
“He knows how to play in the offense,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He had some good looks today and when Tevin has a good look, he usually can get in the end zone.”
Receiver Deebo Samuel added a 20-yard touchdown run and Raheem Mostert scored on a 41-yard run that made it 51-13.
Garoppolo finished 18 for 22 for 175 yards with touchdown passes to Coleman and Emmanuel Sanders.
Allen went 19 for 37 for 158 yards on a day that Newton was able to take warmups in a sign that he could be close to being ready to return from a foot injury.
“They showed up. We didn’t,” Panthers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said. “We just didn’t come here today and be who we were supposed to be, and play like we were supposed to play. We have to do a better job of not beating ourselves.”
Elsewhere, the Saints spanked the Cardinals 31-9, the Packers dethroned the Chiefs 31-24, the Chargers beat the Bears 17-16, the Texans tamed the Raiders 27-24, the Eagles soared past the Bills 31-13 and the Titans bested the Buccaneers 27-23.
The Patriots battered the Browns 27-13, the Rams routed the Bengals 24-10 at Wembley Stadium in London, the Colts bettered the Broncos 15-13, the Seahawks felled the Falcons 27-20, the Jaguars downed the Jets 29-15 and the Lions grounded the Giants 31-26.
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