He was stuffed in Seattle. Fumbled on the last play against Buffalo. But, when his team needed him to deliver on Monday night, Cam Newton came through against the Jets.
In a game featuring two desperate teams in search of a morale-boosting win, it came down to some Newton heroics and a 51-yard field goal from former Jet Nick Folk with no time left on the clock to elevate the Patriots to a 30-27 win. Given the kind of season its been for Bill Belichick's squad, a victory is a victory regardless of the optics.
"To God be the glory, man, it's been a long last couple of games in the last month. But yet, this could kick-start right where we want to be," Newton told ESPN's Lisa Salters. "We just showed resiliency today and I'm just so happy for those guys in that locker room to keep just battling back. It wasn't pretty, but it was a win."
Newton, perhaps influenced by the Jets' subpar secondary, displayed more of a willingness to throw than in recent games, but many of New England's drives were of the grind-it-out variety with the run game again integral. Despite having a number of clock-eating possessions, the Pats found themselves with the ball, down 27-17, entering the fourth quarter.
After ending a 9-minute-26-second, 17-play series (their longest of the night) with a FG, the Patriots quickly found themselves back on the field after cornerback J.C. Jackson stepped up on behalf of a struggling defense and intercepted a deep Joe Flacco shot. A 31-yard Damiere Byrd catch-and-run on the ensuing drive set up a crucial one-yard plunge Newton had zero intentions of turning over to tie the game 27-all.
The Patriots' D would come up clutch again with a Deatrich Wise sack that stalled what was N.Y.'s last drive. A four-yard James White run bookended by two short completions set up third-and-1 on the NE 42 and gave Newton a chance to bring it home. A QB sneak for a gain of five followed by a 20-yard completion to new favorite target Jakobi Meyers on one of his few completed deep balls of the night to get within FG range were the exact type of game-winning plays Newton and this team have lacked of late.
"I'm getting tired of sucking. Simple," Newton told reporters. "As a competitor, you know what your standard is and taking pride in your work, that's what it comes down to. You not being able to hold your head up because you're thinking too much, that's one thing. But, at the same time, you're solely responsible for the performance that you put up and I was extremely disappointed. I just did my job today, and that's what it's supposed to be each and every week."
The Patriots entered prime time looking to right the ship, knowing that a loss to their winless division rival would have all but sunk their season. A few more performances such as this by Newton and the offense will be needed to keep their dreams of turning things around alive.