Cam Newton admitted Monday that his job is at risk if he can't correct his recent downward trend of play.
The New England Patriots pulled their starting quarterback for the fourth quarter of Sunday's 33-6 blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers after he threw three interceptions and just 98 passing yards.
While Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave Newton a vote of confidence after the game, the former MVP told "The Greg Hill Show" that he needs to move forward with the mindset that he might not return from his next benching.
"For any type of competitor, do you feel embarrassed? Yeah. I am as honest as I can possibly be right now, but yet it tells you," Newton said, per Ryan Hannable of WEEI. "And the first thing I said to myself coming home, I said, 'You keep playing games like that, bro, and it's going to be a permanent change.'"
Belichick said he sat Newton in order to get second-year backup Jarrett Stidham "a little experience."
Newton said he agreed with the decision to allow Stidham to finish the game.
"I'm a realist, but yet through it all, I am coachable," Newton said. "I didn't want to put up a (stink). How bad would that have been? 'I'm not coming out.' That would have been embarrassing. (Belichick) came and said, 'Stidham is finishing,' and I agreed. That's what it was."
The Patriots fell to 2-4 with the defeat to the 49ers, which stands as the worst home loss of the Belichick era.
Newton impressed during New England's 2-1 start, completing 68.1% of his passes for 714 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions. He also racked up four scores and 149 yards on the ground.
The ex-Carolina Panthers star missed one start after testing positive for COVID-19 and has struggled in the two games since his return, totaling five interceptions to one rushing score.
"I know I am better than what I am putting on film. And that's simple," Newton said. "I accept any type of personal blaming and dealings and I know there's light at the end of the tunnel. You cannot get to three and four wins without getting to one win and that's everything that we're worried about."
The Patriots and Newton will get the chance to rebound and close the gap in the AFC East in a Week 8 showdown with the 5-2 Buffalo Bills.