Another week, another loss for the New England Patriots.
This week, the loss came at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 33-6.
Let's review some instant takeaways from the very, very ugly loss by the Patriots.
Cam Newton Benched, Jarrett Stidham Replaces Him
After throwing his third interception towards the end of the third quarter, Cam Newton was benched in favor of second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Stidham's stat line in the final quarter of action: 6-for-10, 64 yards, one interception.
Newton now has seven interceptions and just two passing touchdowns on the season. There's no saying if he will be the starter in Week 8 against the Buffalo Bills, especially when seeing how poorly Stidham also played. But at this point Newton doesn't really deserve to be under center until he proves he can be more decisive and effective in the Patriots' system.
Patriots Defense Gashed In All Facets
On a day in which the offense was struggling, the defense certainly didn't help out either.
Their tackling was poor, coverage skills were under par, and their battles in the trenches were seldom won. That led to the 49ers accumulating 467 yards of total offense. 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for three touchdowns and 112 yards, and didn't run for more because he was injured early in the second half during his third touchdown scamper.
New England's secondary had two interceptions, but those had no impact on the game as a whole.
Many will point to the Patriots offense being the issue, but there are many, many problems on the defense as well.
Rookie Michael Onwenu Starts At Right Tackle
With David Andrews returning to the lineup in Week 7, there was only one vacant spot on the offense line that needed to be filled against the 49ers - right tackle. Jermaine Eluemunor was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week.
Rookie Michael Onwenu drew the start over Justin Herron at right tackle, and as he has many times this year excelled at his job.
Unfortunately, Onwenu’s performance didn't make a big difference in the outcome of the game. Despite having time in the pocket the quarterbacks did little to nothing in the passing game.
Offensive Line Banged Up Again
Just when it looked like the Patriots offense line was beginning to round the corner health-wise, they took two steps back in Week 7.
Joe Thuney and Justin Herron both exited the game late in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. There's no telling yet how extensive their injuries are, but at this point New England can't afford to suffer any more injuries in that unit. Here's to hoping both players don't have to miss any time moving forward because of their respective injuries.
Dalton Keene Makes His Debut
One semi-positive takeaway from the loss is that rookie Dalton Keene made his debut. Unfortunately, his impact on the scoreboard was minimal.
Keene recorded one catch for eight yards. That's one more catch than fellow Patriots rookie tight end Devin Asiasi had through five games.
Keene's debut seemed more because the New England coaching staff wanted to see what he could do on the field rather than him being a better option than Asiasi. The team doesn't have the roster space on game day to have both active, which is why Asiasi was inactive in Week 7.
There wasn't a ton to take away from Keene's performance, specifically in the passing game. That makes the Patriots' tight end situation just as disappointing as it was prior to the game.