Cam Newton is back.
That’s it; that’s the story after the New England Patriots’ 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. Newton ending up in New England after sitting on the free-agent market was thought to be a steal of a deal for some while others considered it a bad fit. But only head coach Bill Belichick, and even Newton himself, knew what they were doing when they agreed to a one-year deal for the former NFL MVP. Newton called it a “match made in Heaven” prior to the season opener; and once it was here, we all saw what he meant.
Newton proved early that he was still the quarterback we saw in Carolina during the Panthers’ Super Bowl run and that 2015 MVP season. He rushed for two touchdowns and finished his New England debut completing 15-of-19 passes for 155 yards. Newton’s trademark Superman celebration took the form of another superhero as he summoned the Black Panther and threw up the “Wakanda Forever” salute after his first rushing touchdown; it was fitting.
In Newton’s first touchdown, he lined up with four receivers on the field in what looked like a passing play. Instead, Newton carried the ball through a lane created by one of the league’s better offensive lines. It was an easy play for Newton, who literally walked into the end zone untouched. It didn’t show any strain on the 31-year-old.
The second score, however, wasn’t as easy. Newton was eventually able to find the end zone after an 11-yard run on a bootleg that ended with him getting tackled into the pylon. This touchdown showed more of the improved, healthy Newton. His 60 rushing touchdowns are the most by any quarterback in NFL history.
In what will be one of the most unique NFL seasons, Newton hardly showed any wear and tear after two injury-shortened seasons that ultimately led to his release in Carolina. Now, with arguably the greatest head coach of all time, he’s already reinventing a previously successful Patriots offense. Newton’s 75 rushing yards are the most by any New England quarterback in a single game in franchise history, and just as many expected, he’s bringing something to the Patriots that Tom Brady never offered in two decades.
Belichick can not only imagine a more dynamic offense but he can finally execute it. Last season, Brady rushed for 34 total yards. Newton’s first game in a Patriots uniform set and broke long-standing records, including the most rushes ever by a quarterback in a game (15) and the most rushing yards, as previously mentioned, since 1977, according to ESPN Stats & Info. New England is happily getting used to its new offense and rushed 42 total times for 217 total yards. Both numbers are season-opening records under Belichick, who has already utilized play-action in record numbers as well.
Newton, whose production comes after no preseason and a shortened training camp, is the obvious catalyst here, and how the rest of the league let Belichick sign him for a meager $1.75 million is even more mind-boggling after his 2020 debut.
The Patriots’ next slate of games—the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2, Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3, and the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4—will pit this offense against middling run-defenses. If this is what Newton brought to the field with little time in this system, the league needs to be on notice once he gets even more comfortable.
- Dec 01, 2022
- Nov 30, 2022