The New England Patriots pulled Cam Newton in the fourth quarter of their blowout win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Jarrett Stidham came in and led the team on a touchdown-scoring drive culminated by a 31-yard pass to Gunner Olszewski for the score. Immediately after the play, Newton, the man whose head critics have called for on a platter, was one of the first on the field to celebrate with the guy his haters want to replace him.
Take a look at the play and the aftermath:
In case you missed it, here is a tweet from CLNS’ Evan Lazar that captures Newton’s reaction whenever anyone on his team scores.
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Newton Has Been a Great Teammate
Time and time again, Newton has been asked questions during interviews this season that were seemingly designed to have him throw teammates under the bus. Most notably, Newton has fielded questions about N’Keal Harry, who has struggled most of the season but did catch a TD pass from his mentor on Sunday.
Even throughout Harry’s struggles, Newton hasn’t once openly criticized him or anyone else on his team. Newton hasn’t just celebrated with the likes of Stidham, he’s also consistently mentioned other quarterbacks on the roster like the banished Brian Hoyer and even practice squad fan-favorite Jake Dolegala.
Newton’s nicknames and overall fun-loving attitude and highly accountable mindset have played well with the Patriots. Quite honestly, I’m not sure if many other quarterbacks would have been able to continue to lead their team in the tough circumstances Newton has had to navigate this season — including testing positive for COVID-19.
It’s been an up-and-down year, but Newton has done his part to keep the rollercoaster on the track.
Stidham Looked Good in His Time on the Field
Stidham only threw three passes, but each of them was on target and he looked confident. It was the most successful regular-season outing he’s had and just the second time he’s played as a pro without throwing an interception.
Stidham has some promise, but does he give the Patriots a better chance to win football games at this point in his career?
Patriots Prefer the Element Newton Brings to the Table
While the late-game substitution and Stidham’s positive play might have inspired members of the media and bloodthirsty Newton haters to discuss a change at quarterback, the chance of a switch is unlikely. The Patriots clearly like the confidence, leadership and, most of all, the athletic advantage Newton brings to the offense.
While he only threw for 69 yards on Sunday with one touchdown, he ran for 48 and two scores. When you account for three touchdowns in a 45-0 rout, your job is likely pretty safe. Stidham is a crisper thrower and not a bad athlete himself, but he doesn’t bring the physicality or overall presence at the position that Newton possesses. Also, it isn’t as if Newton is incapable of making plays as a passer. He’s topped the 350-yard mark twice this season and been over 250 on another occasion.
Those are the reasons Newton is still the quarterback, and barring a complete collapse will remain the man under center.
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