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FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 28: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

Cam Newton’s passing stat line Monday night was anything but pretty. The Patriots starting quarterback completed five of his 10 throws, for a total of 34 yards. He was pulled one drive into the second half in favor of 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham.

But football is a team sport. And according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Newton isn’t the reason his team totaled just 201 yards of offense against the Buffalo Bills.

“Cam did a good job for us. I mean, that wasn’t the problem. We were just not very competitive in the beginning,” Belichick said after the game, when asked about the decision to switch quarterbacks.

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“We didn’t have much direction,” Belichick said of the air attack overall. “[It was] just the combination of things. Protection, dropped balls, lack of good execution. We just didn’t execute the passing game well, and they played well defensively with their pressure. They covered well. They did a better job than we did.”

However, Newton was ready to take the blame, and disagreed with his coach’s assessment after the game.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Newton replied when given Belichick’s quote. “I would put it like this: You don’t get pulled out because you’re having a stand-up game…There are some things that I feel like I could have done better…As a signal-caller, as a person who is a dynamic player on this team, I need to impact the game more. And it just didn’t happen tonight.”

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 28: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots is sacked by Dean Marlowe #31 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Newton is running out of time to practice though, at least in 2020. The Patriots have just one game remaining, and as has been the case for the last few weeks his status as the starter is up in the air.

As has also been the case, Belichick didn’t want to discuss a potential QB change postgame. “The game was over about 10, 15 minutes ago, so [pause]. We worked on this game. We played the game. Haven’t made any plans for next week obviously being it’s 15 minutes old.”

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Asked after the game if he hoped to get a chance to start a game and prepare with first-team reps, Stidham told reporters “whatever opportunity I am given I want to make the most of it.”

Speaking after Stidham, Newton was asked his stance on the matter, and the younger QB’s comments. “I’m not about to get in no back in forth with nobody,” the former MVP said. “My job is to be the best teammate and player I can possibly be for this year.”

Coming off their Monday night loss, the Patriots’ final week of prep this season is a short one. As they get ready to host the Jets in the finale on Sunday, it appears the quarterback conversation could once again come down to the wire.

Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Patriots.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.