Cam Newton cites mental mistakes for poor play vs. 49ers, says he needs to rid himself of a ‘funk’

Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Cam Newton struggled through three quarters on Sunday, throwing three interceptions in the loss to San Francisco.

What’s going on with Patriots quarterback Cam Newton?

Is his right shoulder bothering him? No, he says.

Is he feeling the aftereffects of the coronavirus? No, he says.

Is he nervous? No. Scared? Still no.

Newton has heard the potential explanations for his dreadful production over New England’s past two games, but, according to him, the problem is easy to diagnose. He just has to play better.

During his weekly radio interview on WEEI Monday morning, Newton reiterated much of what he said after New England’s 33-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. His 98-yard, three-interception performance was far from good enough — and he’s the one to blame.


With the game well out of hand in the fourth quarter, coach Bill Belichick benched Newton for backup Jarrett Stidham. Newton said the decision didn’t surprise or offend him but did embarrass him. He recognized his unsatisfactory play can’t persist much longer, even though Belichick announced he plans to keep him as the starter.

“The first thing I said to myself coming home was, ‘You keep playing games like that, bro, and it’s going to be a permanent change,’” Newton said.

In terms of what’s going wrong on the field, Newton acknowledged his slow reaction time has affected the tempo of the offense. He’s missed reads and forced passes elsewhere. The interceptions — five over the past two games — have been particularly egregious.

“The key to win has always been to protect the football,” Newton said. “We, as an offense, have yet to play a turnover-free game.”

There is a mental aspect behind the turnovers, too, Newton noted, referencing the law of attraction, which states that positive or negative thoughts manifest positive or negative experiences.

“You’re saying, ‘Man, I cannot turn the ball over here,’ and then, ‘Boop.’ Three plays later, it happens,” Newton said. “It’s kind of a weird thing. It’s almost comedic to even think about, like, I’m not planning on going out there and just slinging interceptions left and right. That’s not what it is. I don’t know what funk, spell, or omen that’s in Boogey’s household right now, but I have to let off some chakras, some sage, or something.”


The hosts asked Newton if it could be the residual effects of contracting COVID-19. Newton has previously said he never experienced symptoms, and dismissed the idea that the virus

With the NFL trade deadline approaching on Nov. 3, Newton expressed confidence in the receivers on the team.

“I don’t think we’re a six-point offense,” he said.

But he’s also well-aware the questions won’t stop until the team starts winning.

“If that happens, then the rest is null and void,” Newton said. “That’s the most important statistic in all of sports.”

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