New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton watches from the sideline after being replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. Credit: Charles Krupa / AP

Editor’s note: Jeff Solari of the Sports Chowdah column is taking a hiatus from writing for the BDN while he runs for public office, which is the BDN’s policy. Until the results of the November election are final, the other members of the Sports Chowdah team will write the guest columns.

Have you ever played a round of golf where you continuously chunk your irons? Swing after swing, just slamming the club head into the turf, two inches behind the ball, taking a divot the size of a good whoopie pie, while the ball flutters forward 12-14 yards.

Besides the sting that radiates up your arms, what hurts the most about chunking your irons for four hours is that after each flub, you have to hit a similar shot again because you failed to gain any ground.

That’s the only comparison I could conceive of that was close to the feeling of watching Cam Newton play quarterback on Sunday. I’ve never seen a veteran quarterback look as tentative as Newton did against the 49ers. Well maybe once: last Sunday Cam Newton against the Broncos.

Newton is gun shy. He simply cannot pull the trigger. He pumps, he stutter steps, he goes forward, backward and side to side but seldom leaves the pocket. The confident, big man on campus from the first three weeks seems like a lifetime ago.

Pre-COVID Cam was electric. Post-COVID Cam is a tipped-over outhouse.

What if I told you before the season that there were only two Patriots worth owning in Fantasy football and that those two were Damien Harris and Nick Folk? How quickly would you have me committed?

The defense made Jeff Wilson look like Jonas Gray. That’s back to back weeks where the Patriots have made a backup running back look like Techmo Bo.

My buddy Sam texted me a bold prediction last week: [Julian] Edelman will get traded to Tampa at the deadline. I said “you’re crazy.” He might be right.

This week in Tom Brady

The Bucs were originally scheduled to play Vegas on Sunday night but the game was moved up ( a COVID-19 first) to 4:05 p.m. This is the first time that the Patriots and Tom Brady have played at the same time since last year’s wild-card loss to the Titans. The literal side-by-side comparison of Brady carving up the Raiders while the Patriots jumped in a time machine to the Hugh Mullen era was rougher than poison ivy toilet paper.

Brady was beyond good. He made throws that quarterbacks just don’t make. He fired bullets like Patrick Mahomes, back shoulder throws like Aaron Rodgers, and dropped dimes in the bucket like Russell Wilson.

The ball to Scott Miller in the corner was a work of art. The TD to Gronk was grown man stuff. The Bucs are loaded for bear (but lost to the Bears) while the Patriots seem to be wallowing in the illusion of respectability.

Sunday was Jim Nantz’s 100th game in Foxboro, an incredible statistic. The way the Patriots are going, I don’t think we’ll see the CBS “A” squad again this year.

Sterling Pingree is the senior staff writer for Jeff Solari’s Maine Sports Chowdah newsletter and a co-host of the 3 Point Stance Podcast with NFL veteran Mike DeVito and Aaron Jackson. An avid golfer, Pingree has been a member for more than a decade at Bangor Muni. He is a native of Kingfield and was a 4-year letterman in basketball and baseball at Mount Abram High School.

Sports Chowdah

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports email newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in...