Coming off a 45-0 blowout of the Los Angeles Chargers, the Patriots were routed 24-3 by LA’s other team during an embarrassing loss on Thursday Night Football.
Led by rookie running back Cam Akers, who rumbled for 171 yards in the win, the Rams were able to dominate New England on both sides of the ball and sack quarterback Cam Newton four times while holding the Patriots to just 220 total yards on offense.
Newton was brutal in the loss, finishing 9-of-16 for 119 yards and throwing an interception that was returned 79 yards for a touchdown. The former star QB was so bad that he was yanked by coach Bill Belichick in the loss in favor of second-year signal-caller Jarrett Stidham.
Following the game, Belichick was almost defiant when he was asked about the future of the quarterback position in New England. “Cam’s our quarterback,” he said in his postgame news conference. Asked a follow-up question, Belichick said simply: “He’s our quarterback. I think I just answered that one.”
At this point in the season with the Patriots below .500 at 6-7 and barely clinging to a shot at the postseason, it would seem to make sense to give Stidham a shot as the starter.
But, for whatever reason, Belichick is committed to continuing to trot Newton out there week after week, even though New England basically has to run a high school-style offense in order to cover up for the 31-year-old’s shortcomings as a passer and inability to read defenses.
Since throwing for 365 yards in a loss to Houston prior to Thanksgiving, Newton has passed for a total of 172 in the last three games combined.
“We knew exactly what they were going to do,” Newton said after the loss. “We have to be better, and it starts with me personally. I have to make more plays.”
At this point, it doesn’t appear as if the 2015 NFL MVP is still capable of doing that. The 10-year veteran and will be a free agent after the season.