The Patriots took an ugly loss Sunday as they got demolished 33-6 by the visiting 49ers. Things got so bad that Jarrett Stidham came in and replaced Cam Newton somewhat early in the fourth quarter and played the rest of the game. Newton had just 98 yards and three interceptions before exiting, but he isn’t in any danger of losing his starting job at the moment. Head coach Bill Belichick said after the game that Newton was “absolutely” still his starter.
He added that he just wanted to get the youngster Stidham some more game experience by throwing him out there in a contest that was already decided. Newton now has five interceptions and no passing touchdowns over his past two games since returning from catching COVID-19. It’s unclear whether the virus messed with his conditioning or if anything else is ailing him, but his play has dropped off dramatically from his hot start as a member of the Patriots. Whatever the case, it doesn’t sound like Belichick is planning on making a switch under center anytime soon.
Here’s more from around the league:
- Adam Gase first conceded publicly that he was mulling giving up play-calling duties a couple of weeks ago, and he finally made the plunge on Sunday. Gase handed off the responsibilities to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains for their Week 7 game against the Bills, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports. New York got off to a hot start and they actually led Buffalo at halftime, before completely collapsing and only gaining four total yards in the second half. The last 30 minutes may have changed Gase’s mind, and he said after the game that play-calling will be a week to week decision. He also insisted the decision to give it up was his and his alone.
- Major waves were made last week when we heard that the Saints could potentially be open to trading Michael Thomas in the wake of his antics that got him suspended for one game for fighting a teammate in practice, but it doesn’t sound like New Orleans’ leadership is seriously considering the idea. Head coach Sean Payton immediately responded to a tweet about the report, mocking the idea that actual ‘insiders’ said any such thing (link via Katherine Terrell of the Athletic). While Thomas probably won’t be dealt he is still hurt, and now Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that there’s a good chance Thomas isn’t ready for Week 8 against the Bears due to his hamstring injury. Thomas tweaked his hamstring while working his way back from the high ankle sprain he suffered back in Week 1. With Emmanuel Sanders on the COVID-19 list, the Saints could be without each of their top two wideouts still when they go up against a tough Chicago defense next week.
- After rookie Sam Sloman has looked quite shaky to start the year, the Rams went out and signed kicker Kai Forbath earlier this week. But since Forbath wasn’t able to enter the facility until today due to COVID-19 protocols, he won’t be the kicker for their Monday Night Football game against the Bears. That means Sloman will have at least one more chance to prove he deserves the job. Under the bright lights of a nationally televised game with his competition breathing down his neck, the pressure will certainly be on.