The New England Patriots' defense held its own Sunday against the Denver Broncos. The offense? Quite the opposite.
Quarterback Cam Newton and Co. mustered just 288 total yards and produced three points through three quarters of New England's 18-12 upset loss to the Broncos at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots' offense was fighting an uphill battle with a patchwork offensive line after James Ferentz and Shaq Mason landed on the COVID-19/reserve list. But Newton's pass-catchers also didn't do him any favors.
New England's top two wide receivers -- Julian Edelman and N'Keal Harry -- combined for two catches for eight yards, while Damiere Byrd "led" the Patriots' wideouts with three catches for 38 yards.
Newton and Harry also couldn't connect on the Patriots' final offensive play: an incomplete pass on 4th-and-10 in which Newton sailed the ball a few feet to the right of his wideout.
"I knew I was going to get hit, so I just tried to find a spot to give him so he could make a play on it," Newton said after the game when asked about the play.
" ... It wasn't a miscommunication. I tried to anticipate where he was going to be. I let the ball go prior to him breaking on his initial route. I knew I was going to get hit, and I tried to give him a chance."
Unfortunately for Newton, his wide receivers didn't do much with their chances. New England's wideouts accounted for just 62 total yards Sunday, a number running back James White topped by himself with 65 receiving yards on eight catches.
So, what is Newton's confidence level in his underachieving wideouts after Sunday's dismal effort?
"Extremely high," Newton responded.
We wouldn't expect Newton to throw his wide receivers under the bus, and the 31-year-old took ownership of his fumble and two interceptions in the loss.
The Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline is rapidly approaching, though, so if this trend continues next Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, the Patriots may be compelled to make some upgrades at wide receiver.
"It just comes down to production on the offensive side and execution on all cylinders, and we just have to do that, no matter who's out there," Newton added.