The New England Patriots were just a yard away from upsetting the Seattle Seahawks in a thriller on Sunday night. Despite Cam Newton being stuffed at the goal line as time expired, the 35-30 loss was looked at as an impressive performance by New England.
For Newton however, there are no moral victories in football. The only stat that matters is the “W” in the win column, which the Patriots left Seattle without.
“As far as my expectations, yeah, we played a good team in Seattle. But at the end of the day we had an opportunity to win a football game and we didn’t,” said Newton on sports radio WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show. “I’m not surprised by the performance, and moving forward we have to find ways to win.”
Newton himself was part of New England’s impressive performance, throwing for 397 yards and a touchdown while adding another two rushing touchdowns. All three touchdowns came from the one-yard line out of the same 14 personnel. The Patriots failed to score the game-winning touchdown in the same formation, which raised questions about the play call. If Newton had another opportunity, he’d run the same play again.
“The same damn play. We ran the play four times, and it’s not my job to go back and forth what coach decides — it’s to execute what coach decides,” said Newton. “We ran the play four times and were successful three times, the fourth was obviously the last time. Through it all that’s championship caliber football and we have to be better — I have to be better.”
No matter what they play call was, Newton was expected to be under scrutiny after the result.
“I could have bounced it and it would have been a walk-in. I know scrutiny, and it would have came no matter what the play call,” he said. “If I were to hand it off, or drop back to pass — ‘You cant do that, it’s the 1-yard line.’ Either way it would have went there would have been scrutiny. We as a team and myself have to do better.”
Getting better is exactly what this Patriots team wants to keep doing, although Newton has put together a rather impressive two games to start the season. His performance early on has made him one of the cheapest bargains the league has to offer, as he signed a one-year contract with a base salary of $1.05 million after being on the market for 86 nights. The deal can reach $7.5 million if he reaches all incentives.
“Surprisingly but true, and factual enough, if I do what I’m supposed to do, as I’m expected to, that will not be a topic of discussion moving forward,” said Newton. “Money at this particular point in my career is not important. Let’s be honest: I’ve made money, but for everything that I play this game for, I haven’t received yet. And that’s why I’m playing. So it’s not about money, it’s about respect.”
In New England’s first two games, the 2015 MVP has compiled 674 yards and five touchdowns. After nine years with Carolina, they released him after a handful of injuries that have kept him sidelined in recent years. As a free agent for the first time in his career, Newton went on to reflect on his contract negotiations with New England: “I didn’t even want to keep going back and forth, for this and that. I said, ‘Let’s get the deal done. Let’s do it.’ For all it’s worth, it’s just going to pay dividends moving forward.
“A wise man once said, and that is my father, ‘All blessings don’t come in financial means.’ Just because you have money, blessings come in many different forms other than financial compensation. If I do everything I’m supposed to do, that will work itself out.”
When the idea of a contract extension was brought up on, Newton, 31, did not appear to be worried about it at this particular point in time.
“I understand what you’re trying to do, and I understand what you’re trying to say, but you must understand: That is literally the last of my worries. If we had to put an analogy in it, that is probably under so much work at my desk that I’m not too much really focused on,” Newton answered.
“I do admire and love the culture of the Patriots. It’s been a place for me that’s been therapeutic. This is a place that has been kind of rather challenging for my growth. It’s making me better. And it’s been a place that has given me everything for my needs at this particular point of time in my life. Yet through it all, I’m going to let the cards shuffle the way they shuffle and do the things I can control,” he added
While on the topic of his contract, Newton added if his incentives are hit, he might treat his head coach to a new wardrobe.
“In the fine tunes of my contract, since we’re talking contracts, if I hit certain incentives I will be able to dress all the coaches, including Bill Belichick. So that’s something I’m looking forward to,” he said while laughing.
Newton and the Patriots will look to get back in the win column this Sunday when the 2-0 Las Vegas Raiders come to Foxboro.