The New England Patriots can learn a lot from their 35-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Mostly in watching the opposing quarterback early in the game.
As annoying as it was to hear on every completed pass, Russell Wilson was full on cooking against the Patriots.
It wasn’t just cooking either. The narrative in Seattle went from Pete Carroll refuses to let Wilson perform to his highest level, to him delivering a full on five course meal to the best secondary in football. It wasn’t just that he beat the Patriots.
It was Wilson getting the reigns to pick apart the New England secondary. Most notably on a beautiful deep ball over reigning defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore. It was the sheer thought that they couldn’t do anything to stop him, other than let him throw the ball to Greg Olsen.
NESN’s Doug Kyed described it perfectly.
The Patriots’ secondary is having a ROUGH night.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) September 21, 2020
The New England defense was filleted to the tune of five touchdown passes from Wilson, and it looked even worse than his absurd stat line.
The New England Patriots were fortunate to be in that game at the very end. If it wasn’t for the early defensive touchdown, it probably was going to get ugly. But late in the game, we got a glimpse of what Cam Newton could do when he’s running the kitchen.
That’s right. After two weeks of being the best offensive player in the AFC East, it’s time for Cam Newton cook.
Newton was sensational in the second half against the Seahawks, going toe to toe with Wilson. Down by 11 late in the third quarter, he began his own cooking show late night on NBC. His furious fourth quarter rally was stopped one yard short. Overall, Newton was everything for the Patriots, and nearly led an impossible comeback in Seattle.
In total, Newton was 30 of 44 for 397 yards with a touchdown and a interception. He also had two scores on the ground. His connection with Julian Edelman is already next level, as Edelman set a career high in receiving yards. What was frustrating was how long it took for New England to get into that rhythm.
Through the first game and a half, the Patriots offense ran on a leash controlled by Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels. Newton threw the ball well, and was also accurate, but the offense felt safe. When he was finally able to throw the ball downfield more in the second half, he was just as efficient.
Cam Newton was considerably more effective on 10+ air yard-passes tonight against the Seahawks (compared to his Patriots debut in Week 1).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 21, 2020
Tonight at SEA (10+ AY)
➤ 13/16, 265 yards (+25.2% CPOE)
Week 1 vs MIA (10+ AY)
➤ 3/4, 54 yards (+3.9% CPOE)#NEvsSEA | #GoPats pic.twitter.com/hncps9EgC1
Looking at it even closer, 32 of Newton’s 44 passes came in the second half against Seattle, particularly in the fourth quarter while staging the comeback. In total, the first half numbers for Newton compared to the second half numbers are quite staggering.
(Stat lines courtesy of NFL.com).
When the Patriots open up the offense more, better things happen, and Newton becomes even more efficient of a player. Some of it might have been due to Devin McCourty getting the pick six, and thus playing conservative while winning the turnover margin. But when you want to beat some of the best teams in the NFL like the Seahawks, you have to allow your offense to play to win.
Through two games, the offense looked conservative before opening up and making big plays in the second half. This adjustment kept New England in the game. If the Patriots hope to win more football games, they have to let Newton be the aggressor. Getting going early establishes a rhythm to the offense. He’ll get N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd involved early in the passing game. This will also open up running lanes for the running backs, who were terrible in week two without James White.
It’s time to take the training wheels off, and let Cam Newton cook in Foxborough.
Photo: (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)