Even though no fans were in attendance for the New England Patriots’ 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the game was an emotional one — sometimes too much: tempers flared near the end of the game, with Miami’s Jerome Baker flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after a Cam Newton run that set up the team’s final touchdown of the game.
The penalty and the ensuing back-and-forth was a sign of things to come: on the final kneel-down, players from both sides were engaged with Newton at the center going against Dolphins defensive lineman Christian Wilkins. The situation was close to escalating after one Miami player — presumably Raekwon Davis — tried to snatch Newton’s chain away. Altogether it was an unnecessary ending to an otherwise entertaining game.
During his postgame media conference call, Newton spoke about the incident as well.
“It wasn’t nothing. It was a competitive game on both sides,” said the Patriots’ quarterback. “You just have to realize who we’re talking to and just keep everything in the game. I realize I was talking to a person that’s known for doing splits, so it wasn’t characteristic of myself to keep going back and forth.
“But, yeah, at the end of the day it’s football and for me, no matter who it is, I play with a competitive edge and I expect the other team to have a competitive edge as well and at the end of the day anything outside of that it’s just all about respect. So I don’t disrespect nobody and I wouldn’t want anybody to disrespect me, but yet at the end of the day we got the thing that was most valuable today and that’s the win.”
Newton also spoke about the Dolphins going after his chain as a pivotal moment in the postgame skirmish. He said that he still had it — in fact, he had two of them — but that the opposing players were indeed reaching for it. The first-year Patriot acknowledged that he let his emotions take over at that point.
“I think that kind of got up under my skin, but yet, through it all, I do not want anything to be taken away from a great team game that we did have and I don’t want to be selfish to kind of focus or dwell on that,” he said. “I think for us as a team or me personally, you know, a lot of tempers can flare and I was just teasing with coaches letting them know that College Park almost came out of me. But, yeah, through it all, man, it was just all fun and games and it was expected.”