Cam Newton was one of the most physically gifted players in NFL history, but through 12 games in 2020 it’s clear he simply doesn’t have it anymore. The New England Patriots‘ anemic loss to the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night was all the proof we needed that Newton is done.
Against a swarming Rams defense, Newton completed 9 of 16 passes for 119 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked four times, rushed for only 16 yards on seven carries and finished the game with a Total QBR of 2.9. That’s one of the worst performances the NFL has seen this season. It continued a troubling trend for the former MVP.
On the season, Newton has completed 66.1 percent of his passes, but he ranks 23rd leaguewide in passing yards (2,172), is 19th in yards per attempt (7.2), 35th in touchdown passes (five), and has 10 interceptions. He’s 29th in both QBR (46.3) and passer rating (78.9). Newton has been a disaster. In the past he could use his legs to escape danger, but this year he’s been sacked 23 times in 12 games, while rushing for only 451 yards. Old Cam is gone and new Cam is washed.
Years of injuries have robbed the 31-year-old Newton of his once-legendary athleticism. Two shoulder surgeries and a foot injury in 2019 have changed what he can do as a quarterback. He doesn’t possess the arm strength or speed he once did. Week after week he takes the field with the air of an old boxer trying to hang on in the ring when time has clearly passed him by. Looking at you, Roy Jones.
It seems NFL teams all knew something, as they all refused to sign Newton in free agency, before the Patriots inked him at a bargain price in July. Try as he might this season, it just hasn’t worked. The roster around him isn’t doing Newton any favors, but he just isn’t the same guy that electrified the league back in 2015.
Cam Newton was a breath of fresh air. He was different, wild, fun and a game-changer at the quarterback position. Now he’s out of gas. The air has escaped the balloon. It’s a shame we’ll never again see the unique talent who dominated the NFL, but it’s time for everyone to face that harsh truth.