New England quarterback Cam Newton passed for just 69 yards, but also rushed for 48 yards and two TDs against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif. Peter Joneleit/Associated Press

 

Bottom line: Cam Newton doesn’t care.

His 69 passing yards during the Patriots’ decimation of the Chargers? Could be better, but that’s not his focus.

The worst statistical outing of his career the Sunday before against the Cardinals? Bad certainly, but Newton was happy how that game finished.

Not that the Patriots’ victories haven’t been close, they have. But over most of that stretch, Newton passed efficiently, a clear and obvious reason why they had won, and thus, his performances were to be celebrated. Though celebrated or not, Newton said Tuesday as long as the winning continues, he’ll be fine.

“For me personally, I have played this game long enough to have played and had games where I’ve had 400 yards and lost. I’ve also had a lot yards and won. I’ve also had this past game, 69 yards and won. Or I’ve had 100 yards, 120 yards and lost. I don’t necessarily get fixated off that statistic,” Newton said in a radio interview.

“I have said it multiple times: I am really all about winning. And yeah, were there some passes I wish I could have had back? Absolutely. But when you’re throwing the ball efficiently or you’re throwing the ball with the workload not as strenuous as it is, it only can revert to the winning formula. We’re running the ball pretty good, pretty solid and we’re going to need more of that here.”

Against the Chargers, Newton complemented his limited passing production with 48 rushing yards and two touchdowns on hard-fought runs against a stubborn Los Angeles front. The contrast between how he’s quarterbacked the Patriots and how they were led the past two decades has been stark, something Newton also acknowledged Tuesday, though the team’s final results are becoming increasingly similar.

“Obviously, looking at my game and looking at Patrick Mahomes’ play, Tom Brady’s play, whoever is a gunslinger in this league that throws for a lot of yards, that’s a way to win,” Newton said. “You’re not going to hear me complaining about winning, and if it comes to that, then I will be readily available to throw the football. … We got the most important statistic, and that is winning football and I would not complain about that.”

THOUGH HE OPTED out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, Dont’a Hightower is still making his presence felt in the Patriots locker room.

Ja’Whaun Bentley is in the midst of his first season as a starter, and rookies Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche have taken on more responsibility as the year has worn on. On a Monday video conference, Jennings said he’s been staying in touch with Hightower and that both linebackers are quick to pick up the phone.

“Our relationship wasn’t temporary,” Jennings said. “I look forward to working with him eventually. … Dont’a, he’s always been up for me, and I look forward to it.”

New England’s defense lost two staples to COVID-19 opt outs in Hightower and Patrick Chung. In their early 30s, both men have won three Super Bowls, and endured a lot of wear and tear on their bodies. After a year away from the game, it’s fair to wonder whether either will eye retirement.

Last week, Chung made it clear that he’s planning on returning next fall.

“I miss it 100%,” Chung said. “The only thing keeping me sane is my kids and my family. Watching the games I’m losing my damn mind. I used to see 80 people a day and I miss my friends. But I get to be a dad and I’ll be back next year.”

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