Cam Newton has said all the right things this season. By most accounts, he's done all the right things off the field as well.
But the 2020 season is clearly weighing on him, and the New England Patriots quarterback unloaded some of that burden on the media Monday night.
"It's extremely frustrating, knowing what you're capable of, having belief in yourself," Newton said after the Patriots' 38-9 home loss to the Buffalo Bills. "It's just not showing when it counts the most."
Newton tallied just 34 passing yards with one rushing touchdown before being benched for Jarrett Stidham in the third quarter. He owns the NFL's worst touchdown-to-interception ratio (five to 10) and has been an essential non-threat in the passing game since Week 11.
His shortcomings aren't due to a lack of effort, though: ESPN's "Monday Night Football" broadcast revealed Newton has been burning the candle at both ends -- awaking at 4:20 a.m. and going to bed around 11:30 p.m. -- trying to learn the Patriots' offense and prepare for games.
That grueling schedule hasn't resulted in any improvement -- which makes it all the more frustrating for Newton.
"That's been my schedule for 90% of the time I've been here," Newton said. "So you can kind of understand the frustration I do have when I don't have the outcome because I'm sacrificing so much. Talking to a person who ain't seen his kids in three months.
"Obviously the contract is what it is. Submitting myself to this team is something I've been doing since day one. Being accessible. Yeah, it's frustrating. It makes you mad. It makes you angry knowing that to be a trusted teammate you first have to submit to authority and submit to what the coaches are asking you to do. I feel like I have done that.
"I'm not in the place of blame. I'm more or less venting right now because, yeah, I've sacrificed so much this year. I mean, it hurts when you have the outing that you have tonight, just to go home, then start it over for a whole 'nother week."
Head coach Bill Belichick and Newton's teammates clearly appreciate the quarterback's work ethic, and they've spoken glowingly about the 31-year-old since he arrived in New England in July.
But those platitudes won't change the fact that Newton is one of the league's worst starting QBs -- and that he's not about to get any better.
The Patriots' season will mercifully end next Sunday after their season finale against the New York Jets. Whether Newton gets one more start or backup Jarrett Stidham takes the reins remains to be seen.