Calling On Superman
New England's problems might not start with Cam Newton, but they could end there.
Newton threw what could have been a costly interception late in the fourth quarter on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
But despite Newton's untimely pick, Arizona's Zane Gonzalez missed a 45-yard field goal attempt on the Cardinals next possession, which gave the ball back to the Patriots and led to kicker Nick Folk nailing a game-winning 50-yard field goal as time expired.
Newton finished the day with two interceptions and no touchdowns in a 20-17 win for New England.
Needless to say, the victory didn't necessarily come via Cam's arm, or his feet.
Newton went 9-for-18 passing for a career-low 84 yards. He added nine rushes for 46 yards.
It marked the Patriots' fourth win this season in which Newton failed to reach at least 200 yards through the air.
His 198.4 passing yards per game this season also marks a career-low.
So far this season, Newton ranks 35th in touchdown passes (4) – Miami's Tua Tagovailoa has only started four games and has six passing TDs – and he is tied for the fourth-most interceptions in the league (9).
His passer rating of 79.8 is 28th best in the league.
New England's victory against the Cardinals almost perfectly embodies the Patriots' season, as they cling to long-shot playoff aspirations, sitting at 5-6, two games out of the final AFC wild card spot.
Still, there are rays of hope.
The Patriots have four wins against teams that currently have a winning record – tied for the most in the NFL – including the Miami Dolphins (7-4), Baltimore Ravens (6-4), the Cardinals (6-5) and the Las Vegas Raiders (6-5). Three of those teams are currently in playoff contention, and Las Vegas was tied for a postseason spot before falling against Atlanta on Sunday.
And there could be even more Ws on New England's record, considering it fell just short in matchups with Seattle and Buffalo.
Newton was stuffed by Seattle's defense at the goal line on fourth down in the closing seconds of their Week 2 tilt, and with 37 seconds left against Buffalo in Week 8, and the Patriots trailing by three, Newton fumbled at the Bills' 19-yard line.
Buffalo recovered and kneeled out the clock, winning 24-21.
On Monday, First Things First's Nick Wright said that New England is going to lose sleep over Newton's fumble against Buffalo if the Pats narrowly miss the postseason.
"I think at the end of the season, you're going to end up a game shy [of the playoffs], and it's going to be that swing game when you're down against Buffalo and Cam fumbles in the red zone."
But for Wright's co-host Brandon Marshall, the playoffs should be the last thing on the Patriots' minds.
Newton signed with New England on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million, so the franchise won't have a problem cutting ties, if needed, come the end of the season.
However, not everyone believes it's time to move on from Newton come season's end.
ESPN's Max Kellerman argued that Cam has dealt with considerable adversity this year, including COVID-19 and a depleted roster, meaning New England hasn't seen the best version of its newest QB.
"It's too early to say Cam is just a guy ... Their offense was nonexistent last year and Cam has less to work with now ... He's one game under .500. You can't call him just a guy. Not yet."
The underdog Pats (+.5) – according to FOX Bet – will face the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13.
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