For the first few weeks of the NFL season, Cam Newton was the talk of the league.
The former MVP had been let go in the offseason by the Carolina Panthers, the team for whom he's previously been their franchise quarterback and led them to a Super Bowl in the 2015 season. While he'd had some injuries, Newton was only 31 years old, so it defied logic that he couldn't get a team to sign him in free agency right away.
Eventually, the New England Patriots signed Cam Newton to basically a minimum-wage contract, and he was saddled with the daunting task of replacing Tom Brady as the Pats' QB.
Cam Newton started off hot for New England
Through the first three weeks of the season, Newton led New England to a 2-1 record and was looking like the Cam Newton of old (which wasn't that long ago).
Then the Patriots hit a skid. They lost three games in a row in which the offense generally looked bad and Cam Newton looked ineffective. Overreactive fans and media were talking about the Pats possibly benching Newton, trading him, or just letting him go after the season.
On "Monday Night Football," Cam Newton silenced the critics (at least temporarily) and had social media talking about his performance in which he threw for 274 yards, ran for two touchdowns, and led New England to a 30-27 comeback win over the New York Jets.
LeBron James, who knows something about thriving in the face of criticism, gave Cam Newton a shout-out on Monday night.
In what was viewed as something of a throwaway season for the Patriots -- who not only lost Brady, but had several players opt-out due to COVID -- the team didn't exactly go out of their way to surround Newton with a lot of talent. And some of that talent has been injured. And Cam himself contracted COVID-19 and had to miss some time. That has made his successes this season even more impressive.
The Patriots are still just 3-5. They'll have to fight just to make the playoffs, and no one is calling them a serious title contender like they've been so often during the Bill Belichick era.
Cam Newton has certainly had to own some blame for the losses in which he played, but he also deserves a lot of credit for the wins that have come to the Patriots.
The next challenge for Cam Newton and the Patriots is another primetime game, against the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens on "Sunday Night Football" in Week 10.Published 10 Nov 2020, 12:51 IST