Cam Newton's Patriots are 2-3, and he's carrying the blame on his wide shoulders.
Newton owns a 2-2 mark as a starter in his first season in New England, completing 68.1% of his passes for 217.8 yards per game and two touchdowns. He's also scored five times in the red zone, putting together a statistical line impressive enough to land him on our top 10 red-zone threats list this week.
Much of that line was built in the first two weeks of the season, though, with Newton completing 17 of 25 passes for 157 yards and throwing two interceptions in an 18-12 loss to Denver, a team that previously boasted just one win, in Week 6. That loss followed a bye week, which came after a 36-20 win over Oakland in which Newton was largely pedestrian, completing 17 of 28 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
"I just haven't been good," Newton said, via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "I haven't matched enough good plays together for my liking. That's what it comes down to. When I mean 'good plays,' I mean right reads, I mean ball positioning, I mean making guys miss. The whole gamut of how I play.
"I know what I'm capable of. My standard is extremely high and I haven't been meeting it. My personal standard. That's how I feel."
It's encouraging to hear Newton accept blame for New England's struggles, even if the responsibility extends far beyond his performance. The Patriots have been banged up on the offensive line and were forced to adjust to a rescheduled game against Kansas City, as well as a one-week swap at quarterback, with Brian Hoyer stepping for Newton while he was unavailable.
Newton is entirely available now, though, and his first outing following his time on the reserve/COVID-19 list left a lot to be desired. With guard Shaq Mason and center David Andrews available in Week 7, Newton knows there's no longer a valid excuse for his team's struggles.
"Our excuse basket is running real low," Newton said, via NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry. "We've got enough to compete with anybody. And I mean anybody."
New England's attempt to return to .500 arrives Sunday when the Patriots host the San Francisco 49ers.