By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Cam Newton threw for just 34 yards on Monday night for the Patriots. It marked the fourth time in 14 starts that he’s thrown for fewer than 100 yards in a game, and it also marked the ninth time that he finished a game with zero touchdown passes.
It was ugly, and early in the third quarter, Bill Belichick pulled the plug on Newton and threw second-year QB Jarrett Stidahm into the fire against the Bills. Stidham didn’t fare any better, and the Patriots lost 38-9.
Newton was clearly disappointed after the loss, giving brief, repetitive answers to questions asked to him by the media after the game. Yet when asked about the broadcast pointing out that he wakes up ever day at 4:20 a.m. and heads to the stadium 10 minutes later, Newton opened up about how much work he has put into succeeding this season — obviously with minimal results.
Cam needs more sleep pic.twitter.com/2cbP4Qa5QI
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) December 29, 2020
“That’s been my schedule for 90 percent of the time that I’ve been here. So you can kind of understand the frustration that I do have when I don’t have the outcome, because I’m sacrificing so much,” Newton said. “You’re talking to a person who ain’t seen his kids in three months.”
Newton — who’s been open about his one-year contract serving as a job interview — said that he’s tried to just do everything that Belichick and the coaching staff have asked him to do this season.
“Submitting myself to this team is something that I’ve been doing since day one. Being accessible,” Newton said. “And yeah, it’s frustrating. It makes you mad, it makes you angry, knowing that to be a trusted teammate, you first have to submit to authority and submit to what the coaches are asking you to do. And I feel like I have done that.”
Saying he was merely “venting,” Newton said there’s nobody to blame for the Patriots’ and his own lack of success this season.
“I’ve sacrificed so much this year. And, I mean, it hurts when you have an outing that you have tonight, and just to go home and start it over for a whole ‘nother week,” Newton said.
Despite making the mid-game switch at QB, Belichick did tell the media that “Cam did a good job” and that Newton “wasn’t the problem.”
“I think the feeling is mutual,” Newton said, when asked about Belichick defending his play. “I’ll be the first person to tell you that I do need to play better. But at the same time, it’s just things that … if I’m asked to do something, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve never been a person to be controversial in a locker room, contrary to any other person’s belief. I try to be the best teammate I could possibly be, and that’s what I will continue to do. I will keep getting better, each and every week, getting more comfortable in this offense for the last week that I possibly can, and you know, let’s see where it gets me.”
After Monday’s loss, Newton owns a 6-8 record as the starting quarterback, with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He did rush for his 12th touchdown on Monday, which puts him two behind the NFL record he set as a rookie in 2011. Yet that has hardly counteracted one of the NFL’s worst passing offenses, and the Patriots have now been held to 12 points or fewer in six games this season.
So, despite the kind words from the coach, Newton did critique his own play.
“No I wouldn’t say that,” Newton said when asked if he agreed with Belichick’s assessment. “I would put it like this: You don’t get pulled out because you’re having a stand-up game, I’ll tell you that. I’ll be the first person to say that. There are some things that I feel like I could have done better. But what my standard is for myself, it’s never to just blend in and just be the status quo. There’s some plays that need to have been made on my part that I feel like I could have done a better job at doing, and you just have to review the film and get back to it. So, as a signal-caller, as a person who is a dynamic player on this team, I need to impact the game more. And it just didn’t happen tonight.”