The New England Patriots suffered another oh-so-close loss on Sunday, falling to the Houston Texans 27-20. New England failed to finish in the fourth quarter, as Cam Newton’s 50-yard Hail Mary pass was caught by tight end Ryan Izzo short of the end zone. The play seemed to summarize the Patriots season, as they have come up short numerous times on the year.
“I was asleep,” Newton said when asked about the mood on the flight home. “I wanted it to be a nightmare so bad.”
With the loss, the Patriots fall to 4-6 on the season, dropping them to 11th place in the AFC. While they still technically are in the hunt for the playoffs, they need a lot of things to fall their way.
“There’s no slogan, no word, there’s nothing outside of we have to do it for ourselves,” Cam Newton said on his weekly Monday radio appearance on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show. “I think everybody in that locker room understands that and I wouldn’t dare put the pressure on us to say, ‘Well, we have to win out.’
“We’re just going to take one week at a time and win the game as it needs to be won. For us, whether that’s throwing the football, if that’s running the football, whether that is stopping them on defense, it just doesn’t matter. We just have to get the job done.”
Newton completed 26-of-40 passes for 365 yards and a touchdown in the loss. His touchdown was a beautifully thrown 42-yard pass to Damiere Byrd over the middle of the field. Newton only managed to add six yards on three carries, but played his third straight turnover free game. The quarterback has certainly showed improvement over the last few weeks, but Newton acknowledged he has more to do.
“I think every day for me is another opportunity for me to get better,” he said. “Do I know everything in this offense? No, I do not. But I am striding to do that. Whether it is from watching film, to taking notes, to asking the proper questions, that is my job to do and I feel as if I am more in control than I have been. I can say that.”
The Texans defense made life difficult for Newton and the offensive afternoon. Newton struggled against Houston’s pressure, while J.J. Watt made a significant impact with four batted passes.
“[Watt was] definitely was a factor in that game and he definitely took away some opportunities to convert. ... His play stood out,” Newton added.
“I think the Texans was a perfect indication of a team — a good team with just a bad record. I have been on record to describe us as the same way, but at the same time, each week is a different challenge. Deshaun [Watson] had a hell of a game. Coach [Bill Belichick] harped on that all week, defensively they presented challenges to us that another team did not. At times, we moved the ball offensively, but we weren’t consistent enough.
“I am speaking more or less about myself. We just have to keep taking these opportunities week-by-week to get better and I think we will.”
As the Patriots are now in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009, evaluating the quarterback position over the last six games will certainly be a priority. While Newton has been impressive at times, despite the lack of talent around him, he certainly has had his mishaps as well. As his one-year contract he signed with New England expires this offseason, Newton was asked if he’s interested in returning to the Patriots in 2021.
“Man, I have interest in winning the Arizona Cardinals game,” he said. “How about that? There are so many things that I don’t want to even harp or dwell or even think [about]. As the Bible says, ‘my [cup] runneth over’ with just trying to focus on the near future rather than the far future.”
Newton’s focus has been the present all season, while consistently avoiding talks about his future with the team. This week, Newton’s plate will (literally) be full with the Arizona Cardinals, and of course Thanksgiving.
“My children and family will be coming up here so I’m excited about that,” Newton said on WEEI.
Despite being vegan, Newton’s Thanksgiving plate will not be too far off from a traditional one.
“There will be some alternative meals,” he said. “Everything that you probably have for your Thanksgiving I can still probably have outside of like turkey. ... You got stuffing. You’ve got collard greens. My family is kind of Geechie when it comes to having rice with everything. My family does a nice red rice with sausage. You can transfer that with either Beyond or Impossible Meat [instead of sausage], mac and cheese, found a way to do that too.”
Newton’s attention will quickly shift away from the feast and back to the football field, as the Patriots will look to keep pace with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals on Sunday. A win would keep New England’s slim playoff hopes alive.
“There will be talks, whispers and things that will be said throughout the week, but we have to take it one week at a time and if we do that, we’ll be fine,” Newton said. “If we focus on finishing every week 1-0, it’s a start.”
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