While the playoffs were still a remote possibility, it made sense to roll with Newton. “Put your best team on the field,” and all that. But now that the Patriots know that their season is ending in Week 17 for the first time since 2008, it will benefit them to learn all they can about Stidham as they play their next most important place in the game Steps in.
“I don’t know, man,” Newton asked Sunday if he expected to start against Buffalo Bill on Monday night. “Listen, I’m just doing what I’m told to do, and for me, I’m just getting better.” Keep doing what I have been asked and try to learn the system every week and every week. I know we are in the latter half of the season, but still try to learn as much as possible. “
Newton, we should note, is not the only problem with the Patriots’ offense, which needs an influx of talent at wide receiver and should end this humiliation. But the numbers speak for themselves.
The Patriots have now played two games in a row – two must win Game – without scoring a touchdown. They are ranked 27th this season after finishing no less than seventh since 2008. Newton has 11 quick touchdowns, but is ranked 34th in passing touchdowns (five) and 34th in passing rating (79.6).
Newton wasn’t terrible against the Dolphins – his 209 passing yards were his most since Week 11, as was his 7.7 yards per attempt – but he had expensive missiles, one of which was on an open Jacobi Meyers in the end zone. She had left . He also said that was almost the result of a Miami deception, while a fumble.
“This whole season is just a small anecdote story,” Newton said. He later replied, “I don’t know,” when asked about the Patriots’ aggressive stagnation.
“But I can criticize my game, and I have to play better,” he said. “I have to get better, and that’s what I just keep doing (to) plan.”
Newton’s commitment and accountability this season – a season that included a positive COVID-19 test and an informal clash in Master Josh McDanels’ complex playbook – is commendable. But it is clear that he is not New England’s long-term answer at quarterback.
Stidham probably isn’t, either. But now is the time for the Patriots to find out what exactly their second-year signal-caller has.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson / USA TODAY Sports Image