Those were the words printed on Cam Newton’s black T-shirt when he sat down for his Thursday afternoon video conference with reporters.
It also accurately described the mood inside Gillette Stadium this week.
“It’s what you would expect,” Newton said when asked about the vibe within the team following New England’s 35-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. “There wasn’t a lot of smiling going on. There’s still not a lot of smiling going on. But that’s not the point. The point is we’ve just got to find ways to win football games, and that’s just what we’re trying to do.”
That reply set the tone for the quarterback’s presser, during which he repeatedly stressed the importance of winning and downplayed personal accomplishments and moral victories.
“That’s the most important statistic in sports,” Newton said, referring to wins. “Who cares about QBR? Who cares about total tackles? Who cares about yards after catch? Who cares about catches? Who cares about yards thrown? Who cares about yards rushed? Who cares how many touchdowns you threw, ran, interceptions you got, whatever? From youth league, rec-ball football to high school to college to anything that requires you keeping score, the most important statistic is, ‘Did you win or did you lose?’ “
This came after Newton, an early favorite for Comeback Player of the Year, recorded the third-highest passing yardage total of his career, scored three touchdowns and very nearly knocked off a very talented Seahawks team after trailing by 12 with less than five minutes remaining.
His mindset: Don’t care, didn’t win.
“There’s no moral victories,” he said. “What did people expect? Like, honestly, what did you expect? We expect to compete to win, not just to compete in each and every game. We’re coached that way. We practice that way. We attack each day that way. So are people ticked off around here? Absolutely.
“But (the Las Vegas Raiders, this week’s Patriots opponent), they don’t care about that. So we’ve just got to make sure we stay professional, stay on track to make sure that, hell or high water, come 4 or 5 o’clock on Sunday, we’re in a better position than we were at midnight on Sunday night this past Sunday.”
Through two games, Newton is completing 71.4 percent of his passes, the seventh-best mark in the NFL. He completed more than 65 percent of his throws just once in nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers (67.9 percent in 2018). He also leads the Patriots in rushing yards and is tied for first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns and rushing first downs.
“That’s cute,” Newton said when asked about his completion percentage, “but we want to win.”
Newton, who reached one Super Bowl with Carolina but has yet to win a title, also scoffed when asked about the Patriots winning over fans and media members who were skeptical of their chances without Tom Brady.
“We’re in Week 2,” Newton said flatly. “This is the NFL. We’re 1-1. I wouldn’t be overly jolly about our record or where we stand right now. And that’s just honest. Anything else, it’s irrelevant because it didn’t help us win. … So whether you call it bandwagon people, whether you’re talking (about) getting people’s attention or whatever, the expectations hasn’t even scratched the surface of, as a team, what we’re capable of doing, as well as personally myself.”
Newton and the Patriots will try to improve to 2-1 when they host the Raiders on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.