This whole season has felt like a true sea change in the AFC East. Last night’s Monday Night Football game, a blowout win for the Buffalo Bills vs. the New England Patriots, was jarring to watch, even after months of Bill Belichick’s Patriots struggling this season.
The Bills blasted the Pats, 38-9. Josh Allen threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns, adding 35 yards on the ground as he looks to expand on his long shot MVP candidacy. The Patriots, meanwhile, completed just 9-of-21 throws as a team, for a grand total of 56 yards.
Newton was 5-for-10 for 34 yards, before being pulled for just the second Patriots drive of the second half, with the team already down 31-9. Jarrett Stidham would come in and complete just 4-of-11 passes for 44 yards. Newton had the only touchdown of the game for the team, on the ground early in the game.
After the game, Bill Belichick explained the move to Stidham. Basically, he wanted to give the former Auburn quarterback a shot, after his team fell out of the game early on. From ESPN’s Mike Reiss:
Bill Belichick said he made the switch to Jarrett Stidham to give Stidham a chance to play.
“Cam did a good job for us. I mean, that wasn’t the problem,” Belichick said. “We weren’t very competitive in the game.”
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 29, 2020
Bill Belichick has made a point of supporting and not throwing Cam Newton under the bus this season, even as the former MVP has struggled mightily. And to be fair, there is a point to be made here.
Cam has struggled, but he’s playing with one of the least talented offensive rosters in the NFL. Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd, two relative unknowns, are the team’s leading receivers on the year. As a whole, the team has thrown for eight total touchdowns, with Cam Newton sitting at 2,415 yards and five scores in 14 total games.
Even with Belichick’s defense, it seems likely that the New England Patriots will have a new quarterback when next season rolls around, whether through free agency, or in the 2021 NFL Draft, which could have five or six taken in the first round.
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