After Cam Newton's calmest motion of the day, things got intense between him and Miami.
In what was his first foray into the longstanding rivalry between the Patriots and Dolphins, Newton found himself in a postgame scuffle upon kneeling to end the game. He could be seen jawing at the Dolphins as several of them approached him near the line of scrimmage. New England's new quarterback appeared to receive a slight shove from former Pats linebacker Kyle Van Noy before another player tugged at his chest pads.
"I still got my chain. I got two of 'em," Newton said. "They were reaching for my chain, though. They were reaching for my chain. And I think that kind of got up under my skin. But yeah, through it all, man, listen -- I don't want nothing to be taken away from a great team game that we did have. And I don't want to be selfish to kind of focus or dwell on that. I think for us as a team, or me personally -- a lot of tempers can flare. And I was just teasing with Coach [Bill Belichick], just letting him know that the College Park almost came out in me. Yet through it all, man, it was all fun and games. And it was expected."
Newton downplayed the entire sequence, which included a heated moment with Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
"It wasn't nothing. It was a competitive game -- on both sides," Newton explained. "You just have to realize who you're talking to, and just keep everything in the game. I realized I was talking to a person that's known for doing splits. So it wasn't characteristic of myself to keep going back and forth. But at the end of the day, it's football. And for me, no matter who it is, I play with a competitive edge and I expect the other team to have a competitive edge. And at the end of the day, anything outside of that, it's just all about respect. I don't disrespect nobody, and I wouldn't want anybody to disrespect me. But yet at the end of the day, we got the thing that was most valuable today, and that's the win."
The Patriots earned that with Newton completing 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards and rushing 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns in his New England debut. The 15 carries were the second most of his career, leading the Pats' 200-yard effort on the ground.
Newton will face a more familiar opponent next week in the Seattle Seahawks.