So far, the Cam Newton in New England experiment has gone about as well as anyone could have expected.
While the Patriots ultimately came up one yard short in Sunday night’s 35-30 loss to the Seahawks, Newton turned in a second straight strong performance, running for 47 yards and another two touchdown while also throwing a lot more than he did in Week 1. He finished with 397 yards through the air on 30-of-44 passing with one touchdown and one interception.
CBS analyst and WFAN host Boomer Esiason, who before the season said he didn’t think Newton and the Patriots would be a good fit, acknowledged Monday morning during his weekly appearance on The Greg Hill Show that Newton has surpassed his expectations so far, and even went so far as to say that he looks like he did in 2015.
Newton won the MVP award that season after leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record. He had 3,837 yards passing, 35 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 636 rushing yards, and 10 rushing touchdowns that year.
“I always preach patience, but I would even tell you, yes, he is actually playing better than I thought he would,” Esiason said. “He looks like the Cam Newton of 2015. He looks like a dual threat. He looks like he’s totally in sync with Josh McDaniels, and Josh McDaniels is calling plays he’s never called before. Maybe he did with Tim Tebow back in Denver, I’m not sure. I don’t remember. But it seems like he’s utilizing Cam’s skill set about as good as anybody.”
After a run-heavy effort from Newton and the Patriots in Week 1, Esiason said he was particularly impressed with how well Newton threw the ball Sunday night and how accurate he was. Newton threw several great deep balls, including a few to Julian Edelman, who finished with a career-high 179 yards receiving on eight receptions.
“The thing about it that actually is shocking to me is how accurate Cam has been,” Esiason said. “I’m not saying that he’s been totally perfect. Russell Wilson has been almost totally perfect. He’s on track to be the NFL’s MVP with his performance the first two weeks. But all in all, I would say Cam Newton has filled in admirably -- maybe not even admirably, but better than Tom Brady the first two games.”
Esiason said that if Newton continues to play this way and stays healthy, the Patriots could be a real contender this season.
“It feels that way, especially with the way Cam Newton’s playing,” he said. “30-of-44, 397 yards, running all over the place. He did really have a game. Even I have to admit, his game was pretty special last night. There was no question about that. He deserves a lot of credit. It’s too bad he couldn’t get in right there at the end.”