La Canfora: Cam Newton Could Break Lamar Jackson’s Rushing Record

Lamar Jackson set a QB-rushing record last season; well, Cam Newton might break it in 2020

Zach Gelb
September 15, 2020 - 7:54 am

While Tom Brady’s first game without New England didn’t go so well, New England’s first game without Tom Brady went just fine. 

The Patriots beat the Dolphins 21-11 on Sunday, as Cam Newton threw for 155 yards and rushed 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. It was a run-heavy approach, and it was effective.

Patriots fan should expect more of the same going forward.

“I would not be surprised if Cam Newton takes a pretty good run at Lamar Jackson’s quarterback-rushing record from last year,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I don’t think this was a one-off. We’ve always come to expect the Patriots to be the ultimate shape-shifters, and they reinvent themselves – not even just from week-to-week, but from quarter-to-quarter at times. Nobody makes better halftime adjustments than them. But I don’t think this was a template to beat the Dolphins. I think this is who they are. They lack star power big time. We’re in an era of football where it’s pass-heavy and it’s all about speed and twitch and freak athletes. Well, okay, who’s that guy for them, besides Cam, on offense? So how do they make up for it? They go back to 1955.”

Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP, rushed 176 times for 1,206 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns last season. Newton is on pace to rush 240 times for 1,200 yards this season.

As a team, the Patriots ran 42 times for 217 yards and three scores against Miami, holding the ball for almost 35 minutes.

“They’re going to play bully-ball,” La Canfora said. “They want to win time of possession and they want to use Cam, his unique skillset, his abilities to open up things for other people, to offset the lack of dynamic personnel – and I think they can do it pretty well. Are they going to do it to the tune of 12, 13 wins that we’re accustomed to? No. Nine or ten and – if they get the right split with Buffalo – win the division? I don’t think that’s out of the question as long as Cam holds up, and he doles out as much punishment as he takes. I think Cam Newton is going to carry the ball double-digit times every week.”

La Canfora doesn’t think Newton will match Jackson’s 6.9 yards per carry from last season – Newton averaged 5.0 in Week 1 – but he does think the former No. 1 pick will finish with more attempts.

“I don’t know how they win on offense in a way that doesn’t require him running the ball double-digit times,” La Canfora said. “I think this is who they are. They got this guy for one year, $550,000 guaranteed. I don’t think they’re worried about tomorrow or ten Sundays from now or certainly not next November. If it works out, and I think it will, they can tag him. But there’s no long-term commitment. I think they will ride this out and play a different brand of football as long as they can.”

Newton and the Patriots (1-0) will face stiffer competition in Week 2 when they play the Seahawks (1-0) in Seattle on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is slated for 8:20 p.m. ET.