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Pats Wrap at 7-9. Bye Cam.

There were people picking the Jets to go into Foxboro yesterday and beat the Patriots. Over the last decade that statement has ranged from preposterous to Adam Gase press conference level crazy.

But on Saturday night, I couldn’t really argue that the Jets could win on Sunday. The Patriots are coming off of 3 bad losses in a row (all to teams with playoff dreams) and the Jets with two wins over the aforementioned dreamers. The Patriots have a rash of inactives and the Jets could be hitting a stride? (Do 2-13 teams gets strides?)

Maybe it was the toss back to Cam Newton touchdown, maybe it was January Sony Michel pounding the ball or maybe it was the gentle snowflakes that created a filter so football-perfect that Instagram could’ve sued CBS in the 4th quarter, but this was a satisfying ending to a season that has been anything but.

During the Patriots first drive I wrote down “If Cam throws the ball once today, it’s a mistake. They should be content to rush for 500 yards and could win this game 33-10.”

However, Cameron Newton has been a contrarian to everything this season and he proceeded to throw not one, not two but THREE touchdowns and for good measure caught another one from Jakobi Meyers. (Becoming the first Patriots quarterback ever to catch a touchdown. Surprising, seems like something Steve Grogan would have done on a ball batted back to him in 1988.)

Heading into week 17, Newton had thrown just 5 touchdowns, and was more diplomatic than most of the country as he never threw more than one in a game. If this was Newton’s Swan Song in New England (which according to reports from Adam Schefter, it is) it was apt, because it was as confounding as the entire Newton experience has been.

I’m convinced if a highlight film existed for this season it would be fairly impressive (due mostly to the high amount of gadget plays) but when all the double passes and end arounds are interspersed with sacks, skipped passes and more sacks the entire production becomes a little more $4 Wal-Mart bin than Criterion Collection.

The Jets are suddenly in an interesting position with the #2 pick in the draft. Most thought a week ago that they’d likely go with Penei Sewell OT from Oregon, but with Justin Fields performance on Friday night in the college football playoff against Clemson (6 touchdowns to just 6 INCOMPLETIONS) the Jets could be starting over completely with a new head coach and quarterback.

Not shocking for a 2-14 team, what is surprising is the growing sentiment that the Miami Dolphins, who selected Tua Tagovailoa 5th overall last season (owners of the Texans top pick this year) could draft a quarterback if the Jets don’t at #2. Will the Dolphins do to Tua, what the Cardinals did to Josh Rosen two years ago? Strange, but very possible. There isn’t a more volatile division for quarterbacks in 2021 than the AFC East, and strange enough, the formerly erratic Josh Allen is the most stable option.

2020 was the least predictable season in Patriots history, although in the last 20-years losing wasn’t always a possibility so by comparison it would have to be more chaotic. The team hovering around 8-8 is where most predicted they’d be, it’s the journey to how New England wound up two games below .500 that’s interesting. It was the high highs and the low lows, largely on the shoulders of Cam Newton that made the season feel extreme.

The Patriots will have a new starting quarterback next season (I’m predicting they bring in a veteran, but we’ll discuss ad nauseam for the next 6 months). One thing I can tell you, is that over the next decade Patriots fans will all say in some form: “Remember that season Cam Newton was the quarterback?”

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