The San Francisco 49ers ran into a well-rested, powerful Carolina Panthers team on Sunday and it showed.
Reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton found success attacking the Niners secondary after his first pass was intercepted by Antoine Bethea.
After that, Newton turned 24 completions into 353 yards and four touchdowns.
Early in the contest, a Carlos Hyde fumble turned into points and the Niners weren’t able to hang with the more skilled NFC Champions.
The Panthers ultimately cruised to a 46-27 victory.
The Niners weren’t able to sustain any success rushing the ball as Hyde was bottled up for just 34 yards on 14 attempts.
On the other side of the ball, though, Newton was able to repeatedly connect with tight end Greg Olsen and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who combined for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
“Most of the DBs that were on me were small and I was able to jump and get the ball,” Benjamin told reporters.
Carolina kicker Graham Gano redeemed himself with a 4-for-4 day after a dubious first week.
The 49ers won the turnover battle 4-3, but it proved to be inconsequential as the Panthers turned most of their other possessions into points.
Blaine Gabbert put up OK numbers despite the lopsided final score. The quarterback threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns and found the end zone as a rusher. He also threw a pair of interceptions.