By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Cam Newton’s Redemption Tour has officially fizzled. No redemption will be found. Not in 2020, anyway.

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The 31-year-old quarterback was a sensational story in September, when he looked capable of doing it all. Now a couple of months later, things have soured significantly, leading many in the region to call for an official change at starting quarterback.

The folks want Jarrett Stidham.

Those folks, apparently, do not count Bill Belichick among them. The head coach got a bit testy when asked if he’s considering a switch at quarterback immediately after Thursday night’s loss to the Rams.

“Yeah, great question, Mike [Reiss]. Really, I’m glad you asked that,” a sarcastic Belichick answered. “Cam’s our quarterback.”

A defense of Newton is somewhat sensible, as all of … this is certainly not all his fault. At the same time, though, Newton’s not exactly taking the Patriots anywhere special.

And with the Patriots essentially eliminated from playoff contention, there’s really not tremendous value in continuing with Newton as the starter — unless the Patriots want Newton to remain their guy next season and, perhaps, beyond. Based on the on-field results, it would be hard to believe that’s in their plans — even with Belichick’s postgame defense of the QB.

Newton was, once again, underwhelming in Thursday night’s loss. He completed just nine passes, while only attempting 16 passes during a game in which the Patriots trailed from wire to wire.

The fact that Newton completed just nine passes speaks volumes. But the fact that the Patriots’ offense was only able to muster 16 forward passes during the meaningful portion of the football game screams a whole lot louder about the offensive personnel and the state of the offense as a whole.

Back to Newton: He threw for 119 yards and no touchdowns, held under 120 yards passing for the fifth time this season. Unlike in some of those games — like the wins against the Chargers, Cardinals and Ravens — Newton was not effective as a rusher in this one, running seven times for 16 yards while also taking four sacks.

Stidham entered the game in the fourth quarter and didn’t do a whole lot, either. He was 5-for-7 for 27 garbage time yards while also taking a pair of sacks from a ferocious Los Angeles pass rush.

Nevertheless, some fans and pundits who have seen Newton throw for just 272 combined yards over the past three games with just one touchdown and three picks? The folks who watched Newton throw a pick-six on a screen pass on Thursday night? The people who watched a Rams defense easily defend the run because they had no fear whatsoever of the passing game? Those viewers have all seen enough of No. 1.

And here’s the thing: they may be right. The ceiling of Cam Newton in 2020 may not be nearly as high as it was five years ago or nearly as high as it appeared to be after a few exhilarating performances to start this season. The Cam Newton-Josh McDaniels Experience may have run its course.

But here’s the more important thing: It really doesn’t matter who the quarterback is right now. This offense is bad. In a way we have not seen in a very, very long time.

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That status could be found in just about every stat that’s kept on the books. It could also just be found in a quick glance at the players on the field.

They’ve basically been playing without a tight end all year, somehow downgrading at a position that was manned by a retired 39-year-old a year ago. Their receiving corps is one of the worst in the league, an issue compounded by Julian Edelman’s absence. And though their offensive line has had some bright spots, the drop-off in ability from Isaiah Wynn to Jermaine Eluemunor was exposed on Thursday night.

The team — and specifically the offense — is OK, but there’s not a quarterback alive who could possibly elevate this offensive unit to anything more than that. The fact that Tom (Freakin’) Brady couldn’t do it a year ago should hammer that point home, as should the fact that the offense got worse year to year.

So, should Stidham start next Sunday in Miami? There’s no real reason for him not to, unless — as previously stated — Cam is the long-term choice at quarterback for Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Nick Caserio. With five passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions through 12 starts, and with the Patriots carrying a bottom-third offense in the NFL into Week 15,  it’s difficult to imagine they’re envisioning him in that role going forward.

No matter how effective Newton may be as a runner (11 TDs, 451 yards), a 1-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio is the mark of a quarterback who cannot survive for long in the NFL in 2020. (Last year, in his worst season in six years, Brady still threw 24 touchdowns with just eight interceptions.)

Newton was asked directly after Thursday’s loss if he’s worried at all about his starting job next week.

“That’s not my call. I’m just doing what I’m asked,” he said. “I just have to still going into each and every week with the mentality of getting better, and that’s what I plan on doing.”

It’s just worth remembering that if the Patriots do go to Stidham, it first and foremost shouldn’t make too much of a difference. It also doesn’t mean that Stidham is the long-term — or short-term — answer at QB, either.

It would, though, provide some real, non-garbage time game experience, either to evaluate him or to put some tape out to the football world or simply to try something new. It may give the offense a little spark. It may fail spectacularly. Stidham has thrown two touchdowns and four interceptions while completing just 54 percent of his 37 NFL passes. He should not be viewed as a savior or anything like it.

For as much as Stidham may look like a better passer than Newton right now, there’s plenty that Newton can do that Stidham can’t. And a Stidham start could quickly turn into a Newton game before halftime. And then you’re in the same place you started.

But the point is, after Newton’s been giving plenty of opportunity to try to make something out of the offense surrounding him, he looks like he’s hit his limit. The Patriots being where they are is not entirely his fault, but he’s also not really moving the ship forward.

So take him out. Keep him in. It’s not going to matter too much. A change at QB may soothe some exigent burns, but it certainly won’t be enough to put out the fire that is the 2020 Patriots offense.

Cam Newton looks on after being benched in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ loss to the Rams. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.