The post-Tom Brady era in New England could be going better.
After Sunday's defeat to the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots have lost four consecutive games — their worst losing streak in 18 years. New England is on the fast track toward missing the playoffs for just the third time in the past two decades.
In his weekly radio interview on WEEI in Boston, Patriots coach Bill Belichick got defensive when asked about his comments from a Sirius XM NFL Radio interview last week citing the salary cap for his team's depth issues.
"I didn't say it as an excuse. I never said that," Belichick said. "Look, we paid Cam Newton a million dollars. It's obvious we didn't have any money. It's nobody's fault.
"That's what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC championship game. This year we have less to work with. It's not an excuse. It's just a fact."
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Bill Belichick's Patriots are 2-5 for the first time since 2000, his first season as head coach of the team. (Photo: Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports)
Brady's departure to Tampa Bay was just the start of an offseason exodus in New England. No team was hit harder by players opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. The Patriots had eight players opt out, including Pro Bowl linebacker Dont'a Hightower, veteran safety Patrick Chung and starting offensive tackle Marcus Cannon.
The Newton signing, hailed as a potential stroke of genius in late June, hasn't exactly panned out as expected. A positive COVID-19 test sidelined the former Carolina Panthers star and 2015 NFL MVP for a Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which New England lost, and the Patriots haven't won since his return.
Newton's passing numbers for the season (2 TDs, 7 INTs, 190.5 yards a game) have been mediocre. In a crucial moment in Sunday's game, with his team in position for a tying field goal position and still driving for a potential winning score, Newton fumbled the ball on a scramble, handing the Bills a rare victory over the Patriots.
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