The New England Patriots sit at 6-7 with their playoff hopes seriously dwindling after an embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Head coach Bill Belichick didn't hesitate to name his starting quarterback, less than a hour after Cam Newton was benched for Jarrett Stidham in the fourth quarter of the loss.
"Cam (Newton)'s our quarterback," Belichick said. "We didn't do anything well enough to win tonight. So, we all got to do a better job."
Newton's struggles throwing the football continued Thursday, as he finished 9 of 16 for 129 yards with an interception (53.9 passer rating). He was also held to just seven carries for 16 yards and was kept out of the end zone for the third time in four games.
"That's not my call. I'm just doing what I'm asked," Newton said on his benching and potentially losing his starting quarterback job. "I still go into each and every week with the mentality to keep getting better and that's what I plan on doing."
Newton has been one of the worst passers in the NFL this season, ranking 18th in completion percentage (66.1), 35th in touchdown passes (5), last among qualified quarterbacks in touchdown percentage (1.7), and 28th among qualified quarterbacks in interception percentage (3.3). His quarterback rating of 78.9 is fifth worst in the NFL. Newton also has 451 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns (averaging 4.0 yards per carry) but his struggles are evident throwing the football.
The Patriots are still alive in the wild-card playoff race, 1.5 games behind the Indianapolis Colts for the final playoff spot. New England needs Indianapolis to lose to the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday to stay one game out in the playoff race with three weeks to play. As long as the Patriots are alive in the playoff race, Newton is the quarterback -- no matter how well Stidham plays.
"Jarrett Stidham has worked hard and has tried to take advantage of his opportunities," Belichick said. "That's not really the point."