Last Monday night, the Chiefs took care of the Patriots easily. However, having Cam Newton under center wouldn’t have made much difference.
Admittedly, the quarterback play was an atrocity from the Patriots last week, with the duo of Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham combining for four turnovers. However, many fans think that if Cam Newton had been under center last Monday night, the result would’ve been different.
I don’t believe that is the case.
Pats fans point to the quarterbacks’ four giveaways, and how they wouldn’t have happened with any semblance of decency under center. Hoyer’s first interception was reasonable; he targeted Ryan Izzo down the seam and left the throw too high. Hoyer was just trying to push the ball downfield, and these types of turnovers happen. It would be difficult to say that Newton definitely wouldn’t have thrown this pick.
Hoyer did commit an inexcusable offense at the end of the first half. New England had three points in their pocket and wanted to give it one more try to get a touchdown, which would’ve given them the lead heading into the locker room. Hoyer was unaware of the timeouts, got sacked, and the first half expired. Hoyer was the starter in this game for his experience in the system, veteran knowledge, and situational awareness. That all went out the window when Frank Clark hogtied him to preserve the Kansas City lead. Again, can we say that Newton would’ve known the situation better and wouldn’t have done this? I would lean on the side of, “Yes, he wouldn’t have” — up until we saw Tom Brady forget what down it was on Thursday night. If someone of Brady’s stature can make a similar blunder, then what can we chastise Hoyer for?
Hoyer got strip-sacked at the Kansas City 16-yard line, which, again, cost New England points. Hoyer held onto the ball too long and gave Taco Charlton the chance to force and recover a fumble. This got Hoyer benched, and cued Jarrett Stidham’s time.
Stidham didn’t do much better; he threw a pick on back to back drives. Can the advocators for “Cam Newton would’ve won the game” try and say that it was the quarterback’s fault for Edelman letting another ball bounce off his hands and go into the Honey Badger’s? No. This turnover was accredited to Julian Edelman’s clank and cost New England a touchdown, as Mathieu returned it to the house.
The last turnover of the day was an interception by Rashad Fenton. Here is where I will give in– I don’t think Newton would have committed this mistake. Damiere Byrd had more than a step and would’ve had a touchdown if the throw was a decent one. Newton would not have made such an ugly throw, and, I agree, probably would’ve had the touchdown.
Newton wouldn’t have had a cakewalk in this game, though. This is not the defense we are used to seeing from Kansas City in years past; they are a phenomenal group. They held the Tom Brady led-Patriots to 16 points a year ago with their revamped defense, and have continued to play exceptionally well. This would’ve been a tall task for Newton. He would’ve played better than Hoyer and Stidham, I’m not arguing that, but Kansas City still would’ve won the game.
Let’s say Newton was playing and put up more than the 10 points that New England did on Monday Night. Don’t you think Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy would’ve tailored their offensive game plan a little differently? The last three times the Chiefs played New England, they passed the ball 11, 19, and 19 times more than they rushed. Last Monday, the pass-run split was almost 50-50. Mahomes put it up 29 times, his lowest attempts in a Patriots-Chiefs matchup, and they ran the ball 25 times.
The Chiefs game plan was clear. Don’t turn the ball over, keep it on the ground, and let’s see if the combination of Hoyer and Stidham can overcome our suffocating defense. It worked. If the Chiefs thought they had to score more points, they could’ve. Reid knew the type of game this would be, and his strategy worked. Sure, credit Belichick for coming up with a game plan to limit Mahomes’ offense to only 19 points, but we would’ve seen more of Mahomes slinging the ball around if points were had been a necessity on Monday Night.
I hope Cam Newton is getting healthy and recovering expediently. I hope to see him out on the field again soon. However, New England wouldn’t be 3-1 if he was the quarterback last Monday night.