Bill Belichick has made a change at the quarterback position. In the closing minutes of the third quarter, Cam Newton threw his third interception of the night and his fifth over the last two games. That pass proved to be his final one of Week 7 as the Patriots have now handed the keys to the offense to second-year signal-caller Jarrett Stidham.
Newton and the Patriots offense looked out of sync from the jump in what has become a blowout in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers. Newton completed nine of his 15 throws for just 98 yards and three interceptions before being sent to the bench. He also rushed for just 19 yards. As a team, the Patriots were unable to much of anything offensively in the first half, managing only 59 yards of total offense and four first downs.
What's added insult to injury has been San Francisco's dominance offensively, specifically on the ground. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. totaled 112 yards rushing and three touchdowns before suffering an injury in the third quarter. His impact, along with Newton's struggles, has been the difference in this game.
As for Stidham, this isn't the first time he's come off the bench under duress this season. He relieved veteran Brian Hoyer, who started in place of Newton when he was out due to a positive COVID-19 test, late in New England's Week 4 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished that game with 60 yards passing, a touchdown, and two picks.