The Patriots are 6-7, four games behind the Bills with three to play. Thus, for the first time since 2008, the Patriots will not win the AFC East.
A wild-card playoff berth is a longshot, so New England likely also misses the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Patriots have not won fewer than 10 games since 2002 and have not had a losing record since 2000.
Yet, the Patriots apparently plan to stick with Cam Newton at quarterback, with Jarrett Stidham remaining on the bench.
“That’s not where we are right now. We’re not there now,” Bill Belichick responded on WEEI Radio, via NFL Media, when asked if he was ready to see more of Stidham.
Stidham replaced Newton late in Thursday’s loss to the Rams after the starter completed only 9 of 16 passes for 119 yards and an interception.
Belichick was asked if he played Stidham because he saw him as the team’s best chance to come back. He said, “Wanted to give him the opportunity to play, so we did.”
Newton signed a one-year deal, and despite the hype for Stidham during the offseason, it’s clear what the Patriots think of him. When Newton missed the Chiefs game with COVID-19, Brian Hoyer started.
For all the certainty and stability at the position for two decades with Tom Brady, the Patriots now are in search of a franchise quarterback to lead them into the future. It doesn’t appear that player currently is on the roster.