Ashley Landis/Associated Press
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reaffirmed his belief in starting quarterback Cam Newton following Thursday’s 24-3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Newton completed nine of 16 passes for 119 yards and an interception. He was replaced by Jarrett Stidham during the fourth quarter.
“Cam’s our quarterback,” Belichick told reporters.
Stidham led New England’s last three drives of the evening, going 5-of-7 with 27 passing yards in garbage time.
For his part, Newton side-stepped questions about any potential switch in the huddle.
“That’s not my call,” Newton said.
What’s clear is that the Patriots can’t successfully continue to move forward with the offense as is. Whether it’s personnel, play-calling or the overall schemes, New England has become stale.
Entering Thursday, the Pats were averaging 342.3 yards per game (22nd in the NFL) and owned the league’s third-worst passing attack with 191.4 yards per game through 12 contests. The offense hasn’t been nearly productive enough, and time is running out to fix things.
Now 6-7 on the year, New England trails both the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in the AFC East—a division it’s won each year since 2009.
It seems increasingly likely that streak will come to an end this season.
In the locker room after Thursday’s loss, Newton said the message was centered on being better as a collective unit. That may start with the quarterback, but Belichick wasn’t ready to place blame on Newton after this one. Instead, his criticism was much broader and distressing for Patriots fans.
“We were out-coached,” Belichick told reporters. “Out-played, out-everything really.”