The New England Patriots remained in the win column for the fourth time in five games following a dominate 45-0 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. The win marked New England’s most complete team effort of the season, as the defense recorded their first shutout on the year and the special teams unit delivered two touchdowns.
For Newton, it was another game that did not pop out to the eye on the stat sheet — completing 12-of-19 passes for just 69 yards and a touchdown. Newton also added two more scores on 14 rushing attempts while not turning the football over.
“You know what, I think a lot of times the appreciation for how I play the game is not the sexiest thing,” Newton said in his weekly interview on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show. “You know what I’m saying? I would be the first person to tell you that, like people are always comparing quarterbacks, which is the right thing to do, but the styles of play are completely different. Obviously, looking at my game and looking at Patrick Mahomes’ play, Tom Brady’s play, whoever is a gunslinger in this league that throws for a lot of yards, that’s a way to win. I understand that. But, the way that the team’s have offered themselves to win has been different.
“Yeah, you can negate or kind of downplay, ‘Oh well he’s only doing this, he’s only doing that.’ Well, when your number is called and the team is relying on you to get a first down on fourth-and-2 on the first drive and you come through, then it is what it is. Or, whenever your number is called you just have to make sure that you’re ready.
“I am not here to throw up this and throw up that, but however the game needs to be won, that is what I am willing to do. That’s running the football, that’s passing the football and it’s my job to protect the football and be efficient.”
Newton, who has now thrown for under 100 yards the past two weeks, has certainly not blown off the stat sheet in his first year in New England. After 11 games, Newton has completed 67 percent of his passes (18th) for 2,053 yards (23rd), five touchdowns (T-34th) and nine interceptions (T-20th).
Despite the poor stats, the Patriots would be competing for the 1st overall selection in this year’s draft instead of a playoff spot without the former MVP. Newton, who is 6-5 on the year as the Patriots’ starter, reiterated that the only statistic he cares about though, is winning.
“A lot of times when people play the game, they get fixated [on] statistics, right?” Newton said. “And for me personally, I’ve played this game long enough to have played and had games where I’ve had 400 yards and lost, also a lot of yards and won, also had like this past game, 69 yards and won. Or I’ve had 100 yards, 120 yards and lost.
“So I don’t necessarily get fixated [on] that statistic. I’ve said it multiple times, I’m really all about winning. And yeah were there some passes that I wish I could’ve had back? Absolutely, but when you’re throwing the ball efficiently, or you’re throwing the ball with the workload not as strenuous as it is, it only can revert to the winning formula. We’re running the ball pretty good, pretty solid, and we’re going to need more of that here. But whatever’s after me, from Josh [McDaniels] and Bill [Belichick] and Jedd [Fisch] and those guys, I’m all for it.
“You’re not about to hear me complaining about winning, and if it comes to that, then I will be readily available to throw the football,” Newton continued. “But going back and looking at the game, there were times and opportunities that we missed out on. And I mean me personally, with inaccuracy, or this, that, and the third. I’m not here to complain or bicker about that, by no means. But it is what it is.”
Following the win, the Patriots are remaining on the west coast as they now prepare to play the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday to kickoff Week 14. With the unusual schedule and the team practicing at UCLA this week, Newton was asked about the experience and if the Patriots’ quarterbacks were “restricted” to their rooms.
“We’re pretty much restricted, but at the same time, we know we came out here for business, and we want to take care of that first,” Newton said on WEEI. “Coach made that very loud and clear and just want to make sure everybody’s focused and staying on as close a routine as we possibly can.
“You see guys still doing what they typically do on a given week, from watching film to preparing to meeting with coaches and things like that. That’s pretty much where all our energy is going right now, and hopefully we can get the ball back rolling here Thursday.”
One guy who continues to not be out there is wide receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman underwent a knee procedure on October 31st and landed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list before the Patriots’ Week 13 game. Back in November, Newton gave a positive update on the 34-year old receiver, but would not get into much detail about the receiver this time around.
“I was summoned to not speak on nothing that I have no control over, and I will stick with that,” Newton replied.
“Let’s just say if you know, you know, and I will keep it at that,” Newton joked when asked what caused the change in his answer. “Let’s just say, it got through, and it hit home.”
One player Newton would talk about was backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham. The second-year pro relived Newton in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s blowout and proceeded to connect with Gunner Olszewski for a 38-yard touchdown.
“I am so proud of Stid,” Newton said. “We had a chat yesterday in the QB room and honestly, his growth and his development is something that really caught my attention because I have known him enough to know I don’t know if he makes that throw or be able to stand in that pocket, a murky pocket, for what it was and fire an absolute strike to Gun Show [Gunner Olszewski].
“After his first play in, he got hit and was down on the ground and for him to bounce back from that, it just speaks volumes of his growth and I am always a proponent of winning football and just to see him grow is something that I am extremely pleased about.”
Winning football is exactly what the Patriots will have to continue to do. At 6-6, New England now sits at .500 for the first time since Week 4. Their slim playoff odds currently sit at just 14 percent, but four wins to end the season would see them increase to 93 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight. In a quick turnaround, New England will continue their playoff quest in a Super Bowl 53 rematch with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.
“We have to stay extremely strict to the keys to victory moving forward,” Newton said.
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