All season, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has been gracious with reporters even under trying circumstances – gamely sticking to polite answers about being a good teammate and doing what the team needs.
On Monday, following New England’s 38-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills in their penultimate game of the year, Newton finally expressed some of the frustrations that have simmered over the course of a disappointing season.
“It’s extremely frustrating knowing what you’re capable of, having belief in yourself, but it’s just not showing when it counts the most,” Newton said.
Newton, who has held firm as New England’s starting quarterback all year, was pulled in the third quarter as Buffalo’s onslaught raged. The Bills’ passing attack overwhelmed the Patriots, and Newton once again struggled to find receivers. According to ESPN, Newton’s 34 passing yards are the fewest for any Patriots quarterback since 1993. Newton scrambled for an impressive touchdown that helped keep the Patriots in range in the first half, but the lack of offense in tandem with New England’s inability to stop Buffalo quickly pushed the game out of reach.
Newton’s replacement, Jarrett Stidham, threw for 44 yards and was 4 for 11. Stidham told reporters he would welcome a chance to play against the New York Jets in New England’s final contest.
Newton was asked the same question.
“I’m not about to get into no back and forth with nobody,” Newton said. “Like I said, my job is to be the best teammate that I can possibly be, be the best player that I can possibly be for this team, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. …
“You don’t get pulled out just because you’re having a stand-up game, I’ll tell you that,” he added. “I’ll be the first person to say that.”
At one point, the ESPN broadcast made note of Newton’s schedule. Per ESPN, Newton gets up shortly after 4 a.m. every morning to prepare for his day, and he goes to bed late as well.
Newton confirmed his schedule and admitted he doesn’t sleep very much.
“So you can kind of understand the frustration I do have when I don’t have the outcome because I’m sacrificing so much,” Newton said. “Talking to the person that hasn’t seen his kids in three months, honestly the contract is what it is. Submitting myself to this team is something that I’ve been doing since Day 1. Being accessible. Yeah, it’s frustrating. It makes you mad, it makes you angry, knowing that to be a trusted teammate, you first have to submit to authority and submit to what the coaches are asking you to do, and I feel like I have done that.
“I’m not in a place to blame, I’m just more or less venting right now, because I’ve sacrificed so much this year, and it hurts when you have an outing that you have tonight, and just to go home and start it over for a whole ‘nother week.”
With the Patriots out of the playoff hunt, and with just one game remaining against one of the worst teams in the league, one might reasonably wonder if Newton is done for the year (Bill Belichick refused to address next week’s starting quarterback in his own post-game press conference). Given the context that Monday might have been his final game in New England, Newton was asked about his standing around the league as his contract runs out.
“I don’t care about no contract,” Newton said quietly, almost under his breath. “I just want to win.”
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