The New England Patriots are off and running with Cam Newton at quarterback. But they may need to pace themselves.
Newton racked up a team-high 75 rushing yards on 15 carries with two rushing touchdowns Sunday in the Patriots' 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
His 15 attempts were the most (by far) by a QB in Patriots history -- Tom Brady never rushed more than 10 times in a game in New England -- while his 75 yards were the most by a Patriots signal-caller since Steve Grogan in 1981.
Perhaps the more important stat, though, is that Newton's ground workload Sunday was the second-biggest of his career, trailing only his 17-rush, 107-yard effort in 2014 as a spry 25-year-old.
Newton is 31 now, though -- and his offensive coordinator knows it.
"I was aware of the number during the course of the game," Josh McDaniels told reporters Tuesday when asked about Newton's 15 rushing attempts. "I think what's really important is we're doing the right things, one for the players we have out there and then obviously for the team.
"Look, if we're doing things that are going to put people at risk, then that's one thing that you've got to really consider."
McDaniels was quick to point out that Newton's rushing attempts could have been lower had he handed off to the running back on more run-pass options (RPOs).
But the offensive coordinator seems to realize it may not be wise to overwork a QB who just returned from a foot injury that caused him to miss 14 games last season.
"The goal is not to put anybody in harm's way," McDaniels said. "We have a player at that position who certainly can help us, but obviously we have to be smart about what we're doing and make sure we don't put him in a situation that could hurt our team or himself."
The good news for McDaniels: He believes keeping Newton fresh is also in line with calling the most effective game plan.
"I don't know that any one thing if you do it over and over and over is sustainable. The coaches and players each week are too good," McDaniels said.
" .. I know we saw some different things (Sunday), but it's a function of what we thought we could do best against Miami. And now we're trying to figure out what's going to be in the bucket here against Seattle."
Long story short: Don't expect Newton to run 15 more times against the Seahawks next Sunday night.