By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Cam Newton’s been around for a little while. And as a 10-year NFL veteran, he’s capable of applying some veteran savvy in the middle of a high-speed NFL game.
Case in point: While running for the first down marker on a third-and-13 in the final minute of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, Newton was not just thinking about getting to the line to gain. He was also thinking about acting.
Newton admitted during a radio interview that he decided during that run that he was going to flop if the charging defender laid a finger on him.
“If I would have got blew on, touched, brushed, passed by in a forceful way, I was going to flop anyway,” Newton said on WEEI. “You know what I’m saying? The fact that he hit me as hard as he did, that was kind of surprising. But it is what it is. It was a great hit, I paid for it, and that’s what it was.”
Newton was of course referencing the hit by rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The hit was delivered while Newton was in bounds, but Simmons appeared to have lowered the crown of his helmet into Newton’s helmet while delivering the hit.
— Roto Street Journal (RSJ) (@RotoStJournal) November 29, 2020
Late to the party here, had some work to do. But why/how did Pereira AND Blandino say that this was shoulder to shoulder? It's objectively…not.
Not saying that's always a flag, but Simmons was flagged for lowering helmet earlier in the game. Initial contact = crown to ear hole pic.twitter.com/JfrgDzVmY7
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) November 30, 2020
Referee Bill Vinovich announced a penalty for a personal foul but didn’t explain it any further, thus leading to some controversy and debate as to whether or not the hit was illegal.
While Newton admitted the plan to flop and flail as he hit the deck, the hit delivered by Simmons obviously removed the need for any acting. The quarterback said after the game, though, that despite the fact that he looked down and out while lying on the turf, he did not lose consciousness or suffer a concussion.
“I didn’t know what was going on, to be honest with you,” Newton said of the fracas that erupted around him. “But I was in my right mind, so I don’t want you guys to say, ‘He didn’t know, whatever.’ I was not concussed. I was just trying to alleviate myself from that situation. And the time when I was down, to see the guys come to your protection, it means a lot. It means a lot. For them to show that, I’m pretty sure they know I’ll do the same thing for him.”
Newton eventually popped up from the hit and completed a 5-yard pass to Damiere Byrd before handing off to James White, setting up the game-winning 50-yard field goal from Nick Folk as the clock expired.