The New England Patriots got destroyed on Monday night by the Buffalo Bills 39-9. Cam Newton was pulled in the second half again after the team’s offense was again ineffective through the air. He completed 5 passes on 10 attempts for 34 yards.
After the game, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about Newton’s performance. He said Newton played well, and that his play wasn’t the reason for the team’s 39-9 loss.
During Newton’s time on the hot seat, he disagreed with his coach. He remained accountable for his own mistakes, and didn’t once mention missed blocking assignments, botched extra points, erroneous coach’s challenges, poor special teams alignment, J.C. Jackson being toasted to a crisp by Stephon Diggs, an inept pass rush, dropped passes, or guys failing to create separation on their routes.
Nope, Newton said none of that.
Take a look at Newton’s entire post-game presser:
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Breaking Down Newton’s Day
The completion percentage, yardage, and lack of scoring strikes don’t present an impressive stat line for Newton. However, a sensible and unbiased assessment of the game and the factors in the Patriots losing the contest pretty clearly suggest Belichick was correct.
The Patriots didn’t lose on Monday night because of Newton. In fact, some of the most positive plays the team had all night were caused by the embattled 31-year-old.
Again, Newton was only trusted to throw the ball 10 times and one of those attempts should have resulted in much more success.
Newton threw what should have been a sure touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd on the first drive of the game. It was a perfectly designed play that saw Newton hand it to Sony Michel. The Patriots’ running back lateraled it backward to Newton on the other side of the field. The Bills were completely fooled and Newton threw it downfield to a wide-open Byrd. The usually sure-handed wideout simply dropped the pass that could have been a touchdown from 36 yards out.
The pass was on the money, and quite honestly, the drop was one of the most egregious of the year.
Newton also gave the Patriots their only touchdown of the season when he broke multiple tackles to power his way into the end zone for a 9-yard scoring run.
Newton ran for 24 yards on the night.
Aside from Newton, the Patriots’ run game was a positive overall. Sony Michel filled in nicely for the injured Damien Harris with 69 yards on 10 carries, and J.J. Taylor added 38 more or 6 attempts.
On the downside, Newton threw inaccurately to a wide-open N’Keal Harry after buying some time with a step-up in the pocket at the end of the first half. Newton wants to remain positive and optimistic, but Monday night’s presser was as down as we’ve seen him through a tough year.
What Happens in Week 17?
There is a good chance Jarrett Stidham starts against the New York Jets. It would be his first time taking first-team reps all week in practice, and it would be the most serious proving ground he’s had in his professional career.
If he plays well, there is a chance he could potentially gain some traction in the eyes of his coaches. At this point, after watching Stidham complete just 4 of 11 passes and struggle to create time with mobility, Belichick and Co. might be channeling their inner Dennis Green.
Stidham is who we thought he was, and that’s just not good enough to prove he should have ever been playing ahead of Newton.
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