On a disheartening day for the New England Patriots, quarterback Cam Newton struck an optimistic tone in his postgame video conference.
“It’s a tough loss,” Newton said. “It’s just unfortunate. It’s unfortunate. But no need to dwell on what’s the obvious. There’s a lot of good things that happened in the game. We just didn’t do enough, and that’s what it comes down to.”
The Patriots led 6-0 at halftime but were outscored 22-6 over the final two quarters and 15-3 in the fourth. Defensively, they allowed a season-high 250 rushing yards to a Dolphins team that was missing its top running back and starting three rookie offensive linemen.
On offense, New England failed to find the end zone for the second consecutive game, with four Nick Folk field goals providing their only points. The Patriots had drives stall at Miami’s 27-, 18-, 27-, 24- and 23-yard lines.
“This whole season has kind of been the tale of just coming just a tad bit short,” said Newton, who was sacked three times and fumbled once. “Call it however you want to do. We’ve still got guys that are new to this system. We’ve still got guys that are young. We’ve still got guys that just don’t get it, and we’ve still got guys that are battling their tails off each and every week.
“So we’ve just got to keep building on the optimism of what we can become and just move from there.”
Newton called the loss and the Patriots’ dismissal from the playoff race “frustrating” but said he’s keeping a positive outlook.
“I mean, what do you want me to do?” he said. “Do you want me to complain? Do you want me to tell you everything that’s not going right? I mean, obviously we know what the standard is around here. It doesn’t take a person that’s oblivious or living under a rock to understand that. But we just came up short. That doesn’t mean we’re not good enough, because we are. But we just didn’t show it.”
The Patriots have gone 21 consecutive possessions without scoring a touchdown. Newton had no explanation for their offensive disappearance.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know. But I can critique my play, and I have to play better. I have to be better, and that’s what I just plan (to) keep doing.”
Whether Newton continues to get that opportunity remains to be seen. With their postseason hopes now gone, the Patriots could choose to start backup Jarrett Stidham for one or both of their final two games to take a closer look at the 2019 fourth-round draft pick.
With Newton and Brian Hoyer on one-year deals, Stidham is the only Patriots QB currently under contract for 2021, and he has yet to make his first NFL start.
“I don’t know, man,” Newton said when asked whether he expects to start against the Buffalo Bills next Monday night. “Listen, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m asked to do, and for me, I’ve just got to keep getting better. Keep doing what’s asked of me and go over and beyond and try to learn the system each and every week. I know we’re in the latter part of the season, but still try to learn as much as possible.”