Patriots quarterback Cam Newton said he is costing his team after his woes continued in a 24-21 loss to the Bills on Sunday.
Newton’s fourth-quarter fumble cost New England a chance at a game-tying field goal and possibly a chance to win.
Bills defensive tackle Justin Zimmer stripped Newton of the ball with 31 seconds remaining and Buffalo recovered, dropping the Patriots to 2-5 for the season following a fourth consecutive defeat.
While it was Newton’s only turnover, it came after the former MVP threw three interceptions and was withdrawn in a blowout loss to the 49ers in Week 7.
Newton, who joined the Patriots on a one-year deal following his exit from the Panthers exit to replace legendary QB Tom Brady, said: “I’ve got to protect the ball better. I know that has just been kind of like a broken record of late.
“I am still jeopardizing this team’s success because of my lackluster performance of protecting the football. Coach [Bill Belichick] trusts me with the ball in his hand and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I just have to do a better job protecting it.
“It’s extremely frustrating, but this league is not what have you done for us, but what have you done lately? I understand this is a production-based league.”
Newton was 15-of-25 passing for 174 yards and no touchdowns. He rushed for a touchdown.
The three-time Pro Bowler has tallied 103 completions from 156 attempts for 1,143 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.
The AFC East-leading Bills (6-2) snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Patriots dating to October 2016. They’re now 3 1/2 games clear of slumping New England.
“That situation, game on the line, I’m dominantly right-handed. Prior to me putting the ball in my left hand, which is my weakest arm, I just felt more comfortable with the ball in my right hand,” Newton said of his turnover. “I usually always change it around with my right hand, just for comfort.
“Coach preaches each and every day to protect the football, play smart football. I’m converting to it. Outside of this last play, I think that is what makes it so frustrating, being that you are trying extremely hard. When you don’t get the results you want, then what do you do?”