Cam Newton and the New England Patriots visibly struggled to compete in their 18-12 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. They are now 2-3 on the year, below .500 in October or later for the first time since 2002. That season, the team failed to make the playoffs.
After this week’s outing, Newton addressed his team’s issues head on in a brutally honest session with WEEI on Monday.
“There’s no need to press the panic button,” he said.
“There’s no need to start reinventing the wheel. We have the answers in that locker room.”
Above all else, Newton was quick to take ownership of New England’s struggles.
“I just have to be better, and I can’t stress that enough moving forward,” he said.
“The anticipation was off. I think that was the biggest discrepancy in not having practice. Usually in most times, you can throw it way before the receiver is looking for it and be on the money with it. But not having practice for as long as I [haven’t] had practice, it just showed.”
The Patriots as a team had just two practices over the past two weeks due to various COVID-19 issues. Newton himself had been out since testing positive back on Oct. 2. The rust and lack of cohesiveness with the offense showed against Denver. Newton went 17 of 25 for 157 yards and had two picks on the day.
The Patriots’ inability to jive offensively on Sunday was perfectly illustrated in one particular sequence, when Newton and wide receiver N’Keal Harry could not connect on a desperation fourth-and-10 incompletion.
When pressed after the fact on whether the miss was a byproduct of a poor throw or poor route running, Newton blamed himself.
“I would say more of a bad throw,” he said.
Ayesha Curry has a response for everyone hating on her new look. https://t.co/09O5pAvXRP
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 19, 2020
“It goes back to anticipation. I knew I was going to get hit. I knew what route he was running, but that’s just a thing that I didn’t see it all week in practice,” Newton added.
“Knowing what he had, him being faced with different circumstances of the leverage of the defender [to the inside of the field], I have to be better.
“I want to make that perfectly clear. I have to play better football for the New England Patriots, and I will. I heard a person say once, ‘I don’t point fingers, I point thumbs.’ I take full responsibility of where we are as an offense.”
Cody Bellinger sure does know how to celebrate. https://t.co/beC4MLclEd
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 19, 2020
When asked whether he felt like the Patriots needed to add some talent to truly be in a position to compete, Newton didn’t take the bait.
“The grass is not always greener on the other side — a wise man once told me that. It just comes down to us producing better and playing situational football better,” he said.
“Going back and mentally looking back at the game, that was a sloppy display of football for the first couple of series — different people taking turns making mistakes, and that can not happen.
A bit of an odd situation. https://t.co/cSGzy8wrAw
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 17, 2020
“Offensive football is the ultimate team sport, where even one person not doing their job, it shows. I think it showed yesterday.”
Next weekend, the Patriots will square off against a San Francisco 49ers group that suddenly looked much better this past Sunday than they did the one prior.
If New England can claim a victory and return to .500, all of the struggles from the past couple of outings will be forgotten. However, if the team loses again, it will be difficult to see a scenario where the Patriots can come back and make a meaningful run at the postseason.
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