Cam Newton is a veteran quarterback and knows he has to perform to keep his spot.
"I have to deliver," the New England Patriots quarterback said after he was benched for Jarrett Stidham during Sunday's 33-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, per Raul Martinez of NBC 10 Boston. "I haven't done that. One thing that can't happen is I can't allow myself to feel sorry for myself. I know what the issue is. You just have to attack it and do better."
Newton was 9-of-15 for 98 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions, while Stidham wasn't much better at 6-of-10 for 64 yards, zero touchdowns and one pick.
The defense also deserves some of the blame, as it couldn't stop San Francisco's rushing attack. Jeff Wilson Jr. tallied 112 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in place of the injured Raheem Mostert before he left with his own injury, while JaMycal Hasty added 57 yards on nine carries.
The Patriots have now lost three in a row and look nothing like a playoff team at 2-4.
Optimism was high following a 2-1 start, but Newton missed a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19 and has struggled in two games since returning to the field. He was 17-of-25 for 157 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions in last Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos.
It is a far cry from when he ran for two scores in the opening win over the Miami Dolphins and threw for 397 yards with three total touchdowns in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The three-time Pro Bowler will be under the microscope in New England's next game when it takes on the AFC-East leading Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is 5-2 and well ahead of the Patriots, but a head-to-head win for Newton would go a long way toward helping him put these recent struggles in the rearview mirror as he chases a playoff spot.