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#pounditThursday, August 5, 2021

Cam Newton fumbles game away for Patriots

Cam Newton

Cam Newton had a chance to redeem himself on Sunday coming off consecutive poor performances, but the New England Patriots quarterback failed to deliver when it mattered most.

Newton and the Patriots strung together a solid drive late in the fourth quarter while trailing the Buffalo Bills 24-21. New England marched down the field and appeared to be well positioned for, at worst, a game-tying field goal. Then Newton fumbled.

Here’s the play in full speed:

Newton actually played fairly well to that point, especially considering the supporting cast he had with Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry injured. However, the fumble is all people are going to remember, and deservedly so.

Newton’s fumble wasn’t simply bad luck. He had a long run earlier in the drive, and he was carelessly carrying the ball and was fortunate not to fumble then. He needs to do a better job of focusing on ball security in a situation like that. A game-winning touchdown would have been nice, but the Patriots needed to make sure they at least had a shot at the field goal to tie.

While he completed just 15-of-25 passes for 174 yards, Newton avoided throwing an interception for the first time since Week 1. He also rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown and kept the Patriots in the game. Leading a game-winning or game-tying drive could have gone a long way toward building confidence for him and the entire team, which is why the fumble was so devastating.

Newton was benched in last week’s blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers after a horrendous first half. There have been rumblings that it could happen again and be permanent, and Bill Belichick can’t be pleased with his costly turnover.

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