The New England Patriots were one yard away from capping off an impressive 4th quarter comeback against the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t meant to be, as Cam Newton was stuffed at the goal line on his last-second rushing attempt.
This game had it all: deep ball touchdowns, multiple lead changes, and dominant performances by both quarterbacks. While New England did end up losing 35-30, the Patriots should be content with how they played. Here are some of my thoughts on the game:
Cam Newton’s Continued Resurgence
In July, the rest of the NFL let New England sign Cam Newton for the veteran minimum. After two games, it’s clear that the 31 other teams made a grave mistake. Newton put on an absolute clinic Sunday night, completing 30/44 passes for 397 yards and a touchdown. The dual-threat quarterback also showcased his rushing ability, carrying the ball 11 times for 47 yards and two additional scores. Newton did throw a bad interception in the third quarter, leading some to wonder if he would proceed to falter under the pressure. That wasn’t the case. On his next drive, Newton marched the Patriots 77 yards down the field and capped it off with a sneaky flip pass to FB Jakob Johnson at the goal line. It’s only been two games, but Newton appears to have returned to MVP form. Having him paired with the offensive mastermind that is Josh McDaniels has New England looking like legitimate Super Bowl contenders, once again.
After no Patriots receiver racked up more than 60 yards in Week 1, three receivers did so on Sunday night. Julian Edelman led the way, catching eight balls for 179 yards (a new career high). 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry finally played up to his potential, racking up eight catches for 72 yards. Finally, speedster Damiere Byrd emerged as Newton’s #3 receiver, catching 6 balls for 72 yards. Prior to the season many were concerned about Newton’s post-shoulder injury throwing ability, and the talent of his weapons. If Newton and his receivers play like this every game, fans will have nothing to worry about.
New England’s defense let them down. That’s something I haven’t said in a while, because the Patriots defense is consistently solid. Unfortunately, Russell Wilson picked them apart on Sunday, throwing for 288 yards and FIVE touchdowns. Wilson beat the Patriots secondary deep twice, finding D.K. Metcalf and David Moore on 35+ yard touchdowns. Things weren’t much better on the ground either. Seattle seemingly ran the ball at will, racking 154 rushing yards. Wilson is currently playing at an MVP level, so it wasn’t that surprising to see him torch New England’s defense. Still, Bill Belichick has a lot of adjustments to make ahead of next week’s game against Las Vegas.
With Cam Newton under center, Michel has become practically irrelevant in New England’s offense. He has still technically served as their starting running back, but in reality that title belongs to Newton. Over his first two games, Michel has carried the ball 17 times for just 56 yards (3.3 Y/A). That kind of efficiency isn’t acceptable for a first-round running back. If Michel doesn’t pick things up soon, his job could be in serious jeopardy once Damien Harris returns.
If there’s such a thing as a “good loss”, this was it. Seattle is a legitimate top-five team in the NFL, so Bill Belichick and the Patriots have to be encouraged with the result. If Cam Newton continues to play at his current level, New England is a scary matchup for every team in the league.
Next up: New England will host the Las Vegas Raiders next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (EST).
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