Patriots

Bedard’s Breakdown: Cam Newton’s touch, timing (and Kyle Dugger) stand out in loss to Seahawks

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We knew what we were going to get when Cam Newton had the ball in his hands as a runner, and he showed that in the opening win over Miami.

What we didn't know — and it really limited expectations for this offense — was how Newton was going to operate in the passing game. It's all fine and dandy if you can run the read option, and truck a few tacklers. But at some point in time, your team is going to be down two scores and you're going to have to make throws on third down to be a really good offense.

Training camp was shaky for the passing game. You probably only needed two or three fingers to count the numbers of big plays came through the air on the practice fields. And the Dolphins game wasn't much better since Newton only threw the ball more than 10 yards three times, and the only big play passing came on a nifty route adjustment by tight end Ryan Izzo.

At some point, Newton and the passing game was going to have to show some teeth. We figured a final grade would come much later in the season.

Didn't figure the midterm exam would come in Week 2 against Seattle ... and for Newton and the Patriots to pass with flying colors. But that's what happened.

Now, there needs to be some context in all this. This is not your older brother's Legion of Boom Seahawks defense. Seattle has very little pass rush, and plays a lot of zone. So, if Newton was given time (and the pressure rate was only 14.6 percent), he should have been able to complete a lot of passes against this defense.

He did that. But he also made some terrific throws. A look at some of those, along with eight other videos that include analysis (a lot with the issues on defense), my new Kyle Dugger obsession, the positional ratings, pressure charts and 3 up/3 down: