Newton breath of fresh air

Associated PressNew England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, right, celebrates with teammates after running back Rex Burkhead caught a touchdown pass from Jakobi Meyers on Sunday.

Could the 2020 Cam Newton quarterback a team to the Super Bowl?

Right now? Yes. With the 1985 Chicago Bears defense on his side.

My bad. I’m just trying to temper things a wee bit, particularly for the naysayers, after an impressive Sunday Night Football win on national TV.

First of all, the Super Bowl is nearly three months away. A lot can happen between now and Feb. 7, 2021.

And in New England, we’re not allowed to looking beyond today’s practice and Sunday’s opponent.

But, for the sake of discussion, let’s go back to Sunday night with some brass tacks.

Newton wasn’t great or stupendous. He didn’t make a memorable play that we see two or three times a game out of Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.

His stats were OK – 13 for 17, 118 yards, 1 TD and 1 TD rushing – but nothing earth-rattling.

Newton, though, did his job – Where have we heard that before? – and efficiently helped get the Patriots a two-score lead, which is kryptonite for Lamar Jackson.

Newton also didn’t throw an interception, fumble or bobble a snap, which was pretty amazing considering the, as he called it, tsunami-like rain storm.

A year ago, it was a different animal at the quarterback position. After the Patriots had a huge win in Philadelphia, 17-10, the week after the debacle against the Ravens.

After the game, though, Tom Brady wasn’t happy, despite the hard-fought Sunday night win.

True, the offense wasn’t great, but it was good enough, despite the fact that greatest quarterback that ever lived didn’t have a touchdown pass and completed just over 50 percent of his passes.

It was one of the many signs that there was trouble in Patriots paradise.

There is no such problem in 2020.

In fact, Newton’s stats are not very good, at least the passing ones, with three touchdown passes versus seven interceptions while averaging an NFL-low 192 yards passing per game.

Of course, all isn’t bad statistically. Newton has rushed for nine touchdowns, the most for any quarterback and tied for fifth among all players.

The Patriots strength on offense is their offensive line and its ability to move the ball with a three-headed running attack – Damien Harris as the lead back, Rex Burkhead as the changeup and old trusty James White as the big-play guy.

But Newton is a strength to this offense, too.

He also happy to be here. He’s happy to win. Really. I’m not kidding.

His interaction with teammates, the secret handshakes, the nicknames ... I hate through sap all over this discussion, but they're real.

"I love him," said center David Andrews a few weeks. "He's just got so much positive energy." 

It’s sort of nice when you don’t worry about passing yards, touchdown passes or passer rating, be it the player of the fan base.

Newton doesn’t care about the numbers.

He only cares about the “W.” Really.

Funny, there’s another important guy in the organization who is lock step with him.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@gloucestertimes.com.

 

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