FOXBORO, Mass. — For the third consecutive game, Cam Newton had his worst outing as a New England Patriot.
This latest dud — a three-interception stinker Sunday afternoon — came in a 33-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium. Newton was benched for backup Jarrett Stidham early in the fourth quarter.
In his postgame video conference, Newton was asked what caused his and his team’s poor performance.
“I just stick to the man in the mirror, and I wasn’t good enough,” the 31-year-old quarterback said. “In no way, shape or form did I put this team in a position to compete, and that’s inexcusable. This is the National Football League, where a lot is put on the quarterback. I have to deliver, and I haven’t done that. Quite frankly, it’s evident. So here moving forward, I know what the issue is, and I just have to be better.”
“Me not playing good,” Newton said bluntly.
How can he fix it?
“It’s simple,” he said. “Play better.”
Newton has thrown five interceptions in his last two games for seven total this season. He blamed the miscues on mental errors, saying multiple times he feels fine physically.
“The decision-making is inexcusable, and I think that’s the most frustrating thing,” Newton said. “… You pride yourself on certain things, and (when) you’re doing things that you’re doing, it even makes matters worse. The point of emphasis all year has been protecting the football, and you have to protect the football. And when you do not protect the football, that’s when you kind of question a lot of things.
“But yet at the end of the day, we’re just going to come back to the drawing board starting tomorrow, and I have full faith in the coaching staff and to be prepared. So it’s just about player production.”
Newton said he’s been “pressing” since he returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list. In his first two games back, he’s totaled just 255 passing yards and zero touchdown passes.
Against San Francisco, Newton went 9-for-15 for 98 yards before being pulled. He also struggled as a passer in the final game before his positive test, where New England needed to rely on its running game to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.
“I don’t think it’s anything with mechanics,” Newton said. “It’s seeing the situation at hand and I caught myself just pressing too much. The energy is definitely been off for me, and at times, it’s not rewarding when you’re just going out there with this aura about yourself that’s not you.”
Newton has surpassed 175 passing yards just once in five Patriots starts. The 2-4 Patriots have lost three consecutive games for the first time since 2002 and sit multiple games below .500 for the first time since 2001.
“I love playing this football game,” Newton said. “I have fun playing this football game. But the performances here haven’t been somewhat delightful for me to have fun in doing so. So I’ve just got to be better. And a lot of things starts and stops at that position, and I understand that. I have put this team in a rut with the performances here, and yet just start over with Monday and see where it goes.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the game said Newton “absolutely” will remain as the team’s starting QB moving forward. But he’ll certainly have a short leash when the Patriots visit the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills next Sunday.