New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty, center, is greeted by defensive lineman Chase Winovich, left, and outside linebacker Brandon Copeland (52) after McCourty intercepted a pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Seattle. Credit: Ted S. Warren / AP

Editor’s note: Jeff Solari of the Sports Chowdah column will be taking a hiatus from writing for the BDN while he runs for public office, which is 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.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Well, 1:21 into the first game with the Patriots new road uniforms, Devin McCourty was streaking down the sideline untouched for a pick-six. I already like the road version of our new Texans-style uniforms better than our home get-ups. (Steve Belichick’s look is crushing it right now, huge mask and an aggressive mullet. You can feel his scowl from underneath his gaiter. He has the look for a fella who would be wearing a bandana over his face, regardless if there was a pandemic or not).

The catch by N’Keal Harry at the end of the first quarter was incredible. It was a gutsy fourth-down throw by Cam Newton, but an incredible effort by Harry, who has been panned a bit for his seeming lack of physicality. Also, glad to see that Quandre Diggs was disqualified after that hit. That will have an impact (no pun intended) on helmet-to-helmet hits if guys start getting run after a first personal foul. Bravo. (I say this with complete awareness that if this was called on Kyle Dugger, I’d be hammering rules expert Terry McAulay.)

Defensive Gronk

Chase Winovich is about to become the defensive version of Gronk. No question he’s outgoing, has a distinct look and huge presence on social media. His play, at least early on, looks like he could be a stalwart for the foreseeable future. If that’s the case, you’re going to see plenty more 50 jerseys around the region.

Linebackers exposed

Biggest take away for the Patriots defense from week 2 is that the linebackers were exposed in coverage. Ja’Whaun Bentley is a thumper but Wilson cooked him over and over across the middle on shallow crossers. Which reminds me, how did Pete Carroll need a social media campaign to encourage him to let Russell Wilson throw the football? Russ has been your quarterback since 2012, he’s really flipping good, you’ve won a Super Bowl and everything. Pete, let him do whatever he wants. Belichick lauded him in his presser this week but Carroll probably didn’t hear that over his insatiable chomping of bubble gum.

Christmas list

— Bill Belichick-Fritz Pollard visor (I’m not even a visor guy, which as a golfer is like being a country singer that doesn’t wear a cowboy hat). Google Fritz Pollard. Icon.

— A new kicker.

This week in Tom Brady

The first of everything is going to be weird. Tom Brady has won a football game for another team. I don’t mean this to sound condescending, but Brady was a game manager in the win. He didn’t need to pull out all the stops to beat Carolina, every divisional win is a good win, but Tampa has to be optimistic with its other new addition, running back Leonard Fournette. Gronk is getting hammered on social media for zero catches on one target. To them I say, what did you expect? This is who Gronk was becoming as injuries mounted in his career. Essentially a road-grading decoy. In big games and big moments they’ll unleash Gronk, but in week 2 vs Carolina? Please.

Sterling Pingree Credit: Maine Sports Chowdah

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.

Sterling Pingree, Sports contributor

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,...