A win streak. For the first time all season, the New England Patriots are on a win streak following the team’s 23-17 victory Sunday night over the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots played perhaps their most complete game of the season, executing a strong game plan despite the horrid weather conditions.
Even with the two game winning streak, Newton believes the team can be even better.
“I do know that we haven’t peaked as a team, yet alone me personally,” Newton said. “Like I said, I am just trying to get better each and every day. My job as a leader of this team, one of the leaders of this team, is to stay consistent, bring the juice as coach would say and that is what I am trying to do daily.”
Despite the recent stretch of poor play, which resulted in four straight losses in a row, Newton insisted the team was close to breaking out of its funk in the coming weeks. Based on New England’s last two victories, it appears the 31-year-old was correct in his prediction.
“I am not going to sit up here and say I am a prophet, I am not going to sit up here and say I told you so, I am not going to sit up here and rant and rave, but I have always believed and still do believe that we were close,” he said. “I do believe it only takes one. This NFL season is very fickle already in 2020 and I just know in the regular NFL season it always has been said that the league changes every two weeks. No matter how good you feel about your team, no matter how bad you feel about your team it will be a different story every two weeks.
“For us, to have gotten that win, to have had close losses and knowing who we are as an offense, defense, special teams as a whole team, it’s on us to make sure we still feel that faith and not go off the assumptions of what our record is. Coach [Bill Belichick] said it best, we are a good enough team to be better than what our record kind of displays. We’re just finding that out and we will keep doing the same thing.”
Newton delivered another efficient game for the Patriots, completing 13-of-17 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown — his first passing touchdown since Week 3. He added 11 carries for 21 yards and another score on the ground, his ninth of the season. Despite the bad weather conditions, Newton had his second consecutive turnover free game as well.
“It was very challenging. Ball security was at an all-time high yesterday,” Newton said when asked about the weather conditions. “For us, we just have to make sure that we continue to protect the gold on the field and that is the ‘ole pigskin. At time it was hard to throw, sometimes it was hard to catch snaps, field punts, catch downfield but at the end of the day, nobody necessarily cares, everyone just has to do their job.”
Newton mentioned postgame how he believes Bill Belichick has a “direct line to the football gods because he’s like a football whisperer when it comes to anticipating what the game’s going to be like.” Monday morning on WEEI, Newton again praised Belichick for his preparation:
“I go out there to practice and I’m hoping, obviously being one of the captains of this team coach will give us some insight and say ‘we do have this 70-yard, 80-yard bubble that we’re going to use once, twice or three times this week. The weather’s not ideal it’s kind of windy, cold and rain so we’re going to use the bubble today.’ Instead, coach is like ‘whatever we get out there, we’re going to practice in it.’
“We had an opportunity to practice in some type of weather like that and I think it was beneficial to us.”
Even with the poor weather, New England was not afraid to dip into their bag of tricks on the offensive side of the ball. With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Josh McDaniels dialed up the double pass as former high school quarterback Jakobi Meyers found Rex Burkhead for a 24-yard touchdown.
“We had a moment as an offense in that huddle, because it was coming off a tv timeout, and [I was like to Jakobi] ‘Bro relax and if you don't got nobody just throw it to your checkdown, which is me, and I'm gonna make something out of it.’ So when the play was snapped, somebody went straight to me so I was like ‘Dang Jakobi you ain't got nobody so just throw it,’ Newton said with a laugh. “I was telling him to throw it out of bounds or whatever but he ended up making the play...
“It was just fun and making those plays is something that we’re going to need here moving forward a lot, especially getting to the second half of the season.”
The trick play was not the first time a double pass coming from a Patriots wide receiver, and former quarterback, worked against the Ravens, as Julian Edelman famously did it in the 2014 Divisional Round.
Edelman was not able to make his mark in this play however, as he has been sidelined the last three weeks after undergoing a knee procedure. He is eligible to return as soon as this week, and Newton gave a positive update on the receiver when on WEEI.
“I can confirm he’s getting better,” he said. “He’s doing well. For him to be everything that he is — and I know he may be listening or he may be having his people listen — he’s good, man. Just to see him in good spirits and knowing that we’re doing our job as a team so when he comes back, it’s evident that he’ll have help at that position...
“... We just need him to be healthy. We need him to have that same speed that he’s always had, but now being a little more healthy, he’s now able to cut it loose without necessarily thinking. I think that’s all he wanted, and that’s all we wanted as a team.”
The Patriots will now turn there attention to next Sunday when they matchup with the Houston Texans (2-7). They will travel to Houston with one goal on their mind:
“Win. Simple,” Newton said. “That’s it. Let’s keep this steam moving forward.”
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