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Cam Newton on benching: 'It's going to be a permanent change' if I don't improve

Last week, we wrote about how Cam Newton's Patriots were 2-3, and how Newton shouldered the blame.

Newton's Patriots are now 2-4 and looked even worse in their latest loss than they did prior to Newton's acceptance of fault. Newton had his worst game as a Patriot, too, throwing three interceptions and falling short of 100 passing yards before he was removed from the action with the game out of reach.

Newton was frank following the loss, which has the Patriots mired in their longest losing streak since 2002, explaining the situation bluntly on Monday: "It's simple, I have to play better."

What was anticipated to be an entertaining game was instead a dominant win for San Francisco, which regained its ground attack and forced four turnovers. Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged the outcome was decided in the second half when he removed Newton, replacing him with second-year developmental project Jarrett Stidham, a move that did not surprise Newton, and one he did not resist.

"No. I am a realist," Newton said Monday. "But yet through it all, I am coachable. .. [Bill] came and said, 'Stidham is finishing.' I agreed and that's what it was. For any type of competitor, do you feel embarrassed? Yeah."

Before Newton faced the reporters or the talk show hosts at WEEI on Monday morning, he had to first reflect upon his performance. For the former NFL MVP, that reflection came from his vehicle's rearview mirror.

"If you keep playing games like that, bro, it's going to be a permanent change," Newton said he told himself during his drive home from the game Sunday evening.

Newton hasn't received the best protection in recent weeks, but he welcomed reinforcements along the offensive line for Sunday's game and still struggled. His timing with Julian Edelman was off on at least one play, when Newton threw a pass behind Edelman, deflecting off the receiver's hand before it was intercepted. Newton acknowledged a "funk" within the Patriots right now, saying he thinks he will "have to let off some chakras or some sage."

The good news: Half of the season remains, which is plenty of time for a Belichick-led team to turn it around. That includes Belichick getting his team's defense in order, which wasn't helped by the turnovers, but also surrendered 467 yards (including 197 on the ground) Sunday.

Newton needs to be better, too.

"For me, I know I am better than what I am putting on film," he said. "That is simple. ... I know there's light at the end of the tunnel. You can't get to three or four wins without getting one win."

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