That was unacceptable.
Or, at least it should be, if Bill Belichick truly believes what he preaches to his players about every decision he makes: Belichick does what's in the best interest of the team. If that's the case, then he needs to have a serious discussion with Josh McDaniels and Jedd Fisch about possibly benching Newton for Jarrett Stidham.
Newton was terrible on Sunday in the Patriots' eventual 20-17 victory over the Cardinals that was basically done without any of Newton's help — unless you want to count the gift personal foul penalty he drew to set up the game-winning field goal.
What you saw on Sunday was a Patriots team trying to win despite having — insert god-awful NFL quarterback's name here (Tim Tebow, Trevor Siemian, Ryan Finley, David Blough, Jeff Driskel, etc) — as their quarterback.
Yes, it was that bad.
Newton's final line: 9 of 18 for 84 yards, 4.7 yards per attempt, 2 interceptions, 23.6 rating.
You think that's hyperbole? You think this is a "bad take"?
Newton's expected completion percentage against the Cardinals was 62.7 percent. He completed 50 percent. That would an expected completion percentage differential of -12.7.
The only quarterback to have a worse game in the past month: Jaguars sixth-round rookie Jake Luton, who did it twice: a -15.8 in Week 11 AND a -15.4 in Week 10.
Those two performances got Luton, who at least has the excuse of being a late-round rookie in the age of Covid, benched for Mike Glennon. What's Newton's excuse?
Instead, Newton's performance got the equivalent of an atta-boy from Belichick.
"Yeah, we just kind of keep working to get better. Cam threw for 350 last week," Belichick told reporters. "The most important thing is we made the plays we needed to make to win. That's what the goal will be every week."
Belichick should offer a correction through the team's public relations department: The rest of the team made the plays we needed to make to win. Newton literally didn't do anything. He was 245 pounds of dead weight for this team against the Cardinals. The New England Jake Luton didn't take any responsibility after the game for his performance. It was almost like he was hoping people wouldn't notice with the victory.
"I said in the locker room, I'd rather have an ugly win rather than a pretty loss, if that makes any sense. I don't know if that even exists," Newton said. "We didn't play our best game offensively, but when we needed it, we got the job done. That's all that counts."
Again, not we ... you ... I. I didn't play my best game and the rest of the team bailed me out. That won't happen again.
Those would have been nice and comforting words to say. Maybe it might make me want to give him another week. Instead, we're just whistling past the graveyard.
I mean, seriously, how much worse can Stidham be? Newton's first throw and his last real throw — before McDaniels was scanning his playsheet for the category, "NOT EVEN CAM CAN SCREW UP THESE PLAYS" — were