After the New England Patriots fell to the Miami Dolphins 22-12 on Sunday, quarterback Cam Newton was asked several times in his media availability about the team missing the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Increasingly, Newton appeared annoyed by the line of questioning. When one reporter asked if his nature is to remain optimistic during tough times, Newton interrupted him.
“I mean, what do you want me to do?” Newton asked, rhetorically. “What, you want me to complain? What, you want me to tell you everything that’s not going right? Obviously, we know what the standard is around here. Doesn’t take a person that’s oblivious or been living under a rock to understand that. But we just came up short. That doesn’t mean we’re not good enough, because we are. We just didn’t show it.”
Newton admitted missing the playoffs is frustrating, but he repeated himself saying he didn’t want to dwell on “the obvious” as the Patriots prepare to watch a postseason from home for the first time since Tom Brady tore his ACL in 2008 and for just the third time since 2000.
“This whole season has kind of been the tale of just coming up just a tad bit short,” Newton said. “Call it however you want to do it, we still got guys that’s new to this system, we still got guys that’s young, we still got guys that don’t get it, and we still got guys that’s battling their tails off each and every week. So we’ve just got to keep building on the optimism of what we can become, and just move from there.”
Newton finished Sunday’s game 17-for-27 as a passer, throwing for 209 yards. He was sacked three times, including late in the fourth quarter as the Patriots attempted to convert a 4th-and-3 to keep their chances alive.
All of New England’s points were scored by Nick Folk, who went 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts.
“Needless to say, we’ve just got to keep getting better,” Newton said. “I know that sounds like a broken record from me each and every day, but that’s what it comes down to. When our best is expected, that’s when we have to be our best.”
The Patriots will close their season at home against a pair of division rivals — the Bills on Dec. 28 and the Jets on Jan. 3. Newton chuckled when asked if he expects to finish the season starting at quarterback.
“I don’t know, man,” Newton said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m asked to do, and for me, I’ve just got to keep getting better. Keep doing what’s asked of me and go over and beyond, and try to learn the system each and every week.”
As for the division rivals looming, Newton said the Patriots are disappointed but ready to compete even without a potential playoff berth on the line.
“We just want to create great habits,” Newton said. “I know it’s an unfortunate situation to be in, and there’s nothing I can pretty much say that can give anybody anything outside of knowing what the reality of our situation is right now, but we’ve got to keep going.
“We would have wanted to win this game just to improve our chances, but we didn’t. Sometimes life just gives you that type of reality, and what are you to do? And what we’re going to do is just keep getting better with the opportunities that we’re given.”
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