The Patriots may have had their worst performances from the quarterback position in a long time in their 33-6 loss to the 49ers on Sunday.
Starting quarterback Cam Newton completed 9 of 15 passes for just 98 yards. More importantly, he threw three interceptions over the first three quarters of the game, causing head coach Bill Belichick to put backup Jarrett Stidham in for the fourth quarter.
Stidham didn’t fare much better, if at all. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 64 yards and threw an interception himself.
“I think there’s a lot of things that I can personally work on,” Stidham said of his performance on Sunday. “And obviously, the throw to Julian (Edelman), I got to place that ball better, can’t leave it inside on an out-breaking route. So there’s a lot of things that I can personally work on. And as a team, I think there’s a lot that we can work on and that’s what we’re going to do moving forward.”
For the day, Newton and Stidham combined to complete 15 of 25 passes for 162 yards and four interceptions, leading the Patriots on just two scoring drives along the way. It marks the first time the Patriots have thrown four interceptions in a game since Tom Brady did so in 2011 against the Bills.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, poor quarterback play has been a staple for most of the season. It also means that Stidham has had to come in for relief twice over the last three games.
“From my standpoint, I prepare each week like I’m the guy, whether it’s film study, getting ready for practice, going through the playbook, whatever it may be,” Stidham said on how he approaches coming off the bench. “I always prepare like I am the guy. So I can’t control those types of things. I can control my efforts, my attitude, and how prepared I am for the game and how ready I am for the game, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
While Newton’s poor play gave Stidham an opportunity to play Sunday, Stidham wanted to say how good of a leader Newton has been to him.
“I will say, he’s a fighter and I’ve learned a lot from him this year,” Stidham said. “And he, even whenever I went in, he came over to me and kind of got me up and kind of gave me a word of encouragement. So he’s definitely a great player and a great person, and I know all of us are going to be itching to get back out there this week and get ready for practice.”
Belichick said after the game that Newton will still be the team’s starter against the Bills next week, saying he only put Stidham in the game to get “a little experience.”
Stidham remarked that he doesn’t decide who the starting quarterback is, so he won’t get upset over that. However, he does decide how prepared he can be.
“Those types of things I can’t control,” Stidham said. “But what I can control is how I prepare. And the things that I can control is how much film I watch, how prepared I am for that game coming up and the game plan and everything like that, and that’s regardless of what’s going on around me. That’s what I can control and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
No matter who is starting at quarterback for the Patriots, Stidham is confident that they can get the job done.
“I have a lot of confidence in the room,” Stidham said. “Like I said, we all are extremely eager to get back to work tomorrow, whether it be myself, Cam or [Brian Hoyer] or whoever it may be. I know we’re all itching to get back out there and learn from our mistakes from tonight and try and get better moving forward. So I’m really looking forward to it.”
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