Despite Cam Newton’s costly fumble, the Patriots’ defense is still largely to blame in their crushing loss to Buffalo on Sunday.
Presented with the perfect opportunity to turn their season around, the New England Patriots came up just short against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, as quarterback Cam Newton committed a costly fumble with less than a minute remaining and the offense well within field goal range to (at the very least) send the game to overtime.
And it’s not at all hopelessly optimistic to think that the Patriots would have scored a go-ahead (potentially a walk-off) touchdown with how Newton and Co. were grooving on that drive.
Given the circumstances, we can expect fans and media members to point fingers at the 31-year-old quarterback for not taking better care of the football. If you asked us, however, we would assert that Belichick’s soft defense — yeah, we went there — should shoulder the majority of the blame for the gutting defeat.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, “bonus points” were nowhere to be found on Sunday. To be fair, the secondary deserves credit for hindering dynamic gunslinger Josh Allen, who finished 11-of-18 for just 154 yards and zero touchdowns compared to one interception, as much as they did.
The front seven, meanwhile, put forth an entirely different performance, allowing Bills running back tandem Devin Singletary and Zack Moss to combine for 167 yards and two TDs on a ridiculously efficient 5.9 yards per attempt.
By no means has the running game been Buffalo’s strong suit this season, and the Patriots’ defense genuinely made it look like one of the better units in the NFL. For added context, the current AFC East leaders hadn’t eclipsed the 20-point threshold for THREE straight games and they still managed to hang 24 points against New England like it was nothing.
Does Newton have to be smarter with the pigskin in that situation? Absolutely. But he answered the call every time the Bills looked as though they were about to break the game open. The three-time Pro Bowler was efficient enough (15-of-25 for 174 yards) through the air, despite being down his top two wide receivers, and contributed 54 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
We’re trying to coddle Newton by deflecting the blame on the defense, but 21 points should’ve been more than enough to come out of Buffalo with a win on Sunday. And this isn’t anything new. The Seahawks scored five passing touchdowns. The Broncos gashed them on the ground. The 49ers did whatever they wanted.
This has been a problem for weeks, but for some reason everyone keeps zoning in on the offense.