These aren’t your parents’ New England Patriots.
After 20 years of Tom Brady running the offense, the Patriots had a certain look. With Cam Newton taking over for Brady, things look very different in the early going. (Especially in the fashion department.)
All in all, it was a very respectable debut for Newton and the run-heavy Patriots as they held on against the Miami Dolphins, 21-11. Newton completed 15 of his 19 pass attempts for 155 yards and finished with 15 rushes for 75 yards and two scores.
Newton started out sharp in his Patriots debut against the Dolphins in Week 1, capping the first scoring drive of the season with a 4-yard touchdown run — on his fourth rushing attempt of the game.
Then Cam did it again.
On the Patriots’ first drive of the second half, Newton capped a 75-yard TD drive with his own 11-yard scramble on a bootleg to make it 14-3, Patriots. The score was reviewed, and Newton barely crossed the plane of the end zone right by the right sideline.
Sunday was his first multi-rushing-TD game since Sept. 23, 2018, with the Carolina Panthers. Wild as it might sound, Brady actually has a two-rushing TD game since then, last season against the New York Giants in Week 6.
But it’s clear that offense and the one Newton is running are night and day. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is already showing that he can adapt to a different style of quarterback than Brady, unleashing a battery of QB-centric run plays.
Newton seemed to frustrate the Dolphins with his scrambling ability. Jerome Baker was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on a goal-line rushing attempt by Newton, and tension was high on several plays.
The Patriots dressed only four wide receivers and attempted only one pass after N’Keal Harry lost a fumble out of the Dolphins’ end zone that put Miami back in the game late in the third quarter.
But Newton also started out looking sharp as a passer, too, completing four of his first five attempts for 47 yards. His one incompletion was a drop by Julian Edelman on what could have been a touchdown.
After that drop, Newton led the Patriots on an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive to take the 7-0 lead.
Not long ago, Brady was doing that sort of thing with a pass-heavy attack. Newton is leading things so far in a different way.
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