Cam Newton and the Patriots showed they can win by leaning on the running game today.
There were some justifiable concerns about Bill Belichick choosing to replace Tom Brady with Cam Newton in Josh McDaniels offense. While Newton only has one game under his belt with the Patriots, his showing against the Miami Dolphins both with his arm and his legs proved that New England will be just fine on the offensive side of the ball.
Newton has had an efficient day passing the ball, as he was one yard short of his first Patriot passing touchdown before a N’Keal Harry fumble, but he ran for 65 yards while punching it in twice from the red zone. Josh McDaniels’ offense is looking much more complex now that the athletic Newton has supplanted the immobile Brady at quarterback.
Cam Newton’s legs and rocket arm will both serve the Patriots well
Despite the fact that Belichick liked to air it out over the course of the last decade with Brady under center, the six-time champion is an Erhardt-Perkins disciple dating back to his days with the New York Giants under Bill Parcells. His success with Antowain Smith and Corey Dillon showed that Belichick loves the idea of pounding it between the tackles, and Newton allows him to do just that.
In addition to Newton, five different Patriots rushed for at least 22 yards today, including Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and undrafted free agent JJ Taylor. TB12 might be gone, but that revamped running game split Miami wide open, and that formula should work for New England over the course of the 2020 season.
If Newton is able to stay healthy and keep passing the ball as accurately as he did under Norv Turner in Carolina, New England should be back in the postseason once again.