Cam Newton Sets New NFL Record As Patriots Upset Ravens on Sunday Night Football

Cam Newton set a new NFL record on Sunday night as the New England Patriots pulled off a surprise win against the Baltimore Ravens to keep their slim hopes of playoffs alive.

Newton completed 13 of his 17 passes for a modest 118 yards and one touchdown, rushing for 21 yards and one score over 11 carries as the Patriots defeated their AFC rivals 23-16.

With 13:17 left in the third quarter and New England on a first-and goal at Baltimore's four-yard line, Newton took the snap and ran into the end zone for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 10-point lead they would not relinquish.

The four-yard sneak may not have been the most memorable touchdown of Newton's career but it was a statically significant milestone, as the Patriots quarterback extended his NFL records for most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and for most games with at least one throwing touchdown and one rushing touchdown to 67 and 54 respectively.

The rushing touchdown also brought Newton's tally for the season to nine, which according to NFL Research is the most any quarterback in the Super Bowl era has had through their first eight starts in a season—Newton missed the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

With 10 rushing touchdowns, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is the only quarterback to have more scores on the ground than Newton so far this year, which is the first NFL season in history to feature two quarterbacks with at least nine rushing touchdowns.

To put the figure into context, Murray and Newton rank second and third respectively in the list of rushing touchdown leaders this season, behind only Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who has 12 scores on the ground. Both quarterbacks have more rushing touchdowns than Tennessee Titans star running back and last season's leading rusher Derrick Henry.

Following a fumble that cost the Patriots a chance to beat the Buffalo Bills in Week 8, Newton has been far more circumspect when in possession over the last two weeks. The 2015 MVP completed his first 11 passes in the Patriots' 30-27 comeback win against the New York Jets in Week 9 and was similarly accurate on Sunday Night Football, not giving up any turnovers for only the third time this season despite playing in treacherous weather conditions.

The win against the Ravens marks the first time the Patriots have won back-to-back games this season. Coming on the back a four-game losing streak, wins against the Jets and Baltimore have kept New England's hopes of extending their NFL-record 11 consecutive playoffs appearances alive.

"We're finding ways to win and that's pretty much been it," Newton told reporters after Sunday's game. "We're having great weeks of practice and following it up with in-game performance. Coach [Bill Belichick] preached about that and we just have to make sure that we keep doing that and keep moving forward."

Despite two consecutive wins, however, the Patriots have it all to do. At 4-5 New England has the 10th best record in the AFC, while the 6-3 Ravens currently hold the seventh and final playoff berth in the conference.

Over the next four weeks, the Patriots face two teams with a losing record—the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers—as well as the Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams, two of three NFC West teams with a 6-3 record.

New England then faces its AFC East rivals over the last three weeks of the campaign in a potentially season-defining stretch.

Cam Newton, New England Patriots
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots celebrates a 23-17 win against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on November 15 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Billie Weiss/Getty