NFL

Patriots' Cam Newton backed by Belichick at quarterback

Cam Newton is struggling to find his level with the New England Patriots, but Bill Belichick offered a vote of confidence on Thursday.

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'Great question ... Cam's our quarterback' - Belichick backs struggling Newton

Cam Newton remains the man Bill Belichick wants at quarterback for the New England Patriots, but defeat to the Los Angeles Rams told the coach an all-round improvement is required. 

Newton the man for Bellchick

Thursday's 24-3 road loss for the Patriots came amid a disappointing showing for Newton, the former Carolina Panthers star who was NFL MVP five years ago. 

He finished nine of 16 for 119 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception – a pick six – to go with seven carries and 16 yards. 

Collectively, New England were far from the level Belichick expects as they had their two-game winning run halted and slid to 6-7 for the season. 

An 18th consecutive year with a double-digit haul of regular-season wins is now beyond them, while Newton can only point to five touchdown passes in 2020 and he sits 23rd in passing yards (2,172 yards). 

The first question in Belichick's post-game news conference saw him asked whether he would continue to start with Newton. 

Cutting in, Belichick said: "Great question. I'm really glad you asked that. Cam's our quarterback." 

Asked to explain what Newton has done to deserve such support, Belichick again put it bluntly, saying: “He's our quarterback." 

Across the team, however, there must be improvements to meet the coach's demands. 

“We didn't do well enough to win tonight. We've all got to do a better job," Belichick added. 

"The Rams were the better team tonight, they deserve a lot of credit. We were out-coached, out-played, out-everything really. 

"They did a good job in all areas. We weren't really able to stay with them here. They're a good football team. They played well and they deserved to win. 

"We have to all do a better job, starting with me. it just wasn't our night tonight." 

Rams coach Sean McVay, who at 34 is half Belichick's age, was praised for his strategy by the Patriots coach. 

"They had a good running game. They've run the game well all year. Sean had a good plan and the players executed it well," Belichick said. 

"[Cam] Akers ran well. They did a better job than we did." 

The result saw the Rams (9-4) end a run of six losses to the Patriots. 

Newton, who was eventually withdrawn as Jarrett Stidham was introduced under center, took his share of responsibility for the defeat. 

He said: "We've just got to be better and it starts with me personally. Just have to make more plays, that's what it comes down to. 

"I think we didn't play a good style or brand of football tonight and they did and they made more plays than us. So, it led to them winning."