Cam Newton's last game before Sunday's 18-12 loss against the Denver Broncos came on Sept. 27 after he missed time on the reserve/COVID-19 list and the Pats-Broncos matchup—originally scheduled for Monday, Oct. 12—was pushed back by a week.
Newton told reporters after the game that the long layoff impacted his play.
"The time off showed, but I have to be better and I will be better," he said.
Newton looked rusty in the passing game, finishing 17-of-25 for 157 yards and two interceptions. He was also sacked four times. He did rush 10 times for 76 yards and a touchdown, however, but it wasn't enough to consistently threaten a solid Broncos defense.
"I am here for one reason, and I didn't get the job done," Newton told reporters. "You can just imagine how I feel."
New England's offense looked mediocre in general, with just 288 yards of total offense. They lost the time of possession battle (27:30), had three total turnovers and went just 4-of-13 on third downs.
The famously succinct Bill Belichick didn't have too much to say when asked whether the team holding just two padded practices in the past two weeks, because of coronavirus restrictions, impacted its preparations.
"We need more time together, we need to practice together, we need to execute and do everything better," he told reporters. "No question about that."
It's been a weird season for the Patriots, but a 2-3 start won't be deemed acceptable from a Belichick-coached team. With the Buffalo Bills starting the year 4-1, the Patriots are in real danger of not winning the AFC East for the first time since 2008.
They don't have much time to figure it out, with tough matchups against the San Francisco 49ers, Bills and Baltimore Ravens in the next four weeks.