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Reading the keys: 49ers/Patriots

Niners kept pressure on Brady from start to finish

Here's how the 49ers fared in 10 keys to the game identified before their epic 41-34 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday night, an outcome that clinched a playoff berth for San Francisco and kept the Niners perched at No. 2 in the NFC playoff pecking order with two games remaining in the regular season.

Turn up the pressure on Tom Brady and keep it cranking YES: Brady was rocked in the back by Aldon Smith on New England's second offensive series, then Smith got to Brady again to force a third-down incompletion two plays later. That began a trend of heavy pressure on Brady throughout the first half that threw the quarterback out of rhythm along with the New England offense, which managed just 11... Recommended Stories