And just like that, the slim hopes for the Patriots to make the playoffs are now basically gone.  The Patriots fell behind and could not recover, losing 27-20.  The Patriots struggled to stop Deshaun Watson, who torched them for 344 yards and three total touchdowns.  Cam played one of his best games all season, but the offense just ran out of steam at the end.  Injuries to Rex Burkhead and Isaiah Wynn did not help the offense as well.

Cam’s Outfit Check

Yeah, I don’t know what this is.  Cam is gonna be Cam, and that is one of his best traits.  5 out of 10. 

Running Game Goes Missing

The Patriots were able to run the ball effectively in the first half, with Damien Harris scoring a touchdown in the first drive.  But in the second half, Harris and the running game went missing.  Harris only had four carries in the second half and James White played the majority of the half.  It makes sense because you were down a couple of scores late in the game.  But the identity of this offense is running the ball, and that was all but abandoned in the second half.  

Cam played really well, but he can’t win the game only throwing the ball, not with this group of receivers at least.  In all honesty, the receivers did play very well, but there still is not that one standout guy you can trust late on in the game.  Running the ball had to stay a priority, especially against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league.  And since it didn’t, that was costly.

Sliced Up By Watson

Deshaun Watson made throw after throw and the defense had almost no answer.  It wasn’t like the defense was in bad positions to make plays that much, Watson was borderline unstoppable.  Like a man on a mission.  Big games by Will Fuller and Jordan Akins propelled the Texans to the victory, and Watson kept throwing perfect passes to them.

The secondary who has been great all season seemed to be lackluster yesterday.  You can’t have a bad day against Deshaun Watson.

Can Cam Be The Future?

Cam Newton is not the player he used to be, but he is also not horrible.  Cam Newton has been good enough for most of this season.  Newton’s contract with New England is up after this season, but there probably won’t be a lot of teams fighting for the 31-year old quarterback.  But he has been in the system for not even a year, and if you can put some better weapons around him, then who knows how good he can actually be.  He has shown he still has something left in the tank. 

Now What?

So the playoffs look like a longshot.  And that isn’t fun.  But where do you go from here?  It is a tough position, and it isn’t horrible if you cheer for some losses down the stretch.  After a few weeks of raised hopes, it definitely does not feel great to be back in the position of looking towards the draft and 2021.  

It will be really interesting how Bill improves this team next season.  There will be a whole lot of cap space to bring in free agents, and a top 15 pick in the draft most likely.  Does he build the offense around a rookie QB?  Or does he keep Cam and keep building.  There are not really that many big name QBs out of a contract this summer, so it may come down to those two options.  

The Patriots have Arizona next week, and they can’t lose anymore.  This one will not be easy whatsoever with how the Cardinals have been playing.  But there is no more room for error.  On to Arizona…