By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Cam Newton was not very good against the Broncos last Sunday. And the quarterback knows it.
Speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon, Cam was his own harshest critic when assessing the way he played in that 18-12 loss.
“I just haven’t been … I just haven’t been good,” Newton said. “And I haven’t matched enough good plays together for my liking. And that’s what it comes down to. And when I mean good plays, I mean right reads, I mean ball positioning, I mean making guys miss — just the whole gamut of how I play. And I know what I’m capable of, and my standard is very high, and I haven’t been meeting it — my personal standard. So that’s how I feel.”
Newton completed 17 of his 25 passes for just 157 yards vs. the Broncos, throwing two interceptions with no touchdowns. His passer rating of 51.6 was the lowest single-game mark since his final game in the 2017 season.
While the lack of practice time for the offense, plus the injuries to the offensive line, plus the slew of players — including Newton — spending time on the COVID-19 list would seemingly make for a good excuse, Newton acknowledged that the excuses need to end if the Patriots want to win.
“For us, as an offense, we know that our — I would say our excuse basket is running real low,” Newton said. “We’re getting guys back that we’ve missed for weeks, even though we’re missing a couple of other guys, but we’ve got enough to compete with anybody. And I mean anybody. So for us it’s not necessarily about the team that we’re facing. It’s just about us and accepting the challenge of saying we haven’t played a turnover-free game yet. Let’s see what that looks like. It’s more or less saying like, let’s get back to getting into a weekly routine, from each point of emphasis, from early downs, third downs, red zone, coaching points on this, that and the third, and having the ability to go out there and practice. So for us, it’s not necessarily the team that we’re playing, more or less than our preparation going into the game and executing it when given the chance.”
Newton and the offense will get their shot at redemption on Sunday, when the 49ers visit Foxboro. The reining NFC champs boast the fifth-ranked overall defense and the fifth-best pass defense thus far in the 2020 season, but Newton seemed adamant that the success or failure is much more about the Patriots themselves rather than their opponent. He also expressed hope that a normal week of practice will lead to a much better product on the field on Sunday.
“It’s almost surreal, but the fact that we’re able to practice I think everybody’s getting back in their normal routines. I think that’s big for us,” Newton said. “I know me personally, being in my position, it’s one thing to go over your reads. It’s another thing to be able to go over your reads and get a good look out at it. So we hope it pays dividends come Sunday, and we’re expecting big things from not only the offense but just a good complementary game of football for us.”