Who had the better debut: Patriots’ Cam Newton or Buccaneers’ Tom Brady?
Several well-known quarterbacks switched teams this past offseason, but there is no argument surrounding the most notable names to make a move. After future Hall of Famer Tom Brady made the move from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the six-time Super Bowl Champion was then replaced by another former league MVP in longtime Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Although these two were not matched up on Sunday afternoon as Week 1 of the 2020-21 regular season rolled on, Newton and Brady will be linked together for the foreseeable future due to their attachment to the heralded Patriots.
With each making their respective team debuts on Sunday afternoon, it was actually Newton who came away as the more impressive player — in more ways than one, too.
Tom Brady’s Performance
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers were upended on the road against rivals New Orleans Saints by a score of 34-23, and it wasn’t really even that close. The 43-year-old Brady attempted 36 passes while completing 23 of them en route to averaging 6.6 yards per attempt.
It is safe to say that Brady didn’t take too many chances, other than in garbage time with the game already out of reach. He didn’t even average seven yards per attempt despite the fact that head coach Bruce Arians has consistently ensured everyone that Tampa Bay would be airing it out in 2020-21.
While tallying two touchdown passes alongside two interceptions and two sacks, Brady finished the outing with a less than stellar 78.2 rating. It is also worth noting that he added three carries for another nine yards and his first score as a member of the Buccaneers.
Cam Newton’s Play
On the other hand, the 31-year-old Newton did it all on Sunday afternoon against the rival Miami Dolphins as the Patriots cruised to victory. Newton completed 15 of his 19 passing attempts for 155 yards leading the team to a 21-11 win.
Newton averaged 8.2 yards per attempt despite not throwing any touchdowns or picks, although he was sacked twice. For what it’s worth, Cam finished his New England debut with a 100.7 rating. He also registered 15 carries, 75 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns as he was the Patriots’ leading rusher against the Dolphins.
Adding to his memorable performance, Newton was actually the leading rusher on both teams in Week 1 as he appeared to be fully healthy and ready to do anything that was asked of him.
Because Newton had a better individual performance and his team got the win, there is absolutely no doubt that he had an infinitely better first outing with the Patriots than Brady had with the Buccaneers.
There is one caveat, however, as the Dolphins are a significantly lesser opponent than the Saints with Brady walking into quite the matchup to kickoff his Bucs tenure.
It will be interesting to see how things progress for this connected duo of Cam Newton and Tom Brady, especially since their opponents will continue to get tougher. Stay tuned!