September 23, 2002
After Sunday's Game, Second Half Needs Work
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
FOXBORO, MA -- Up until Sunday the second half had been owned by the Patriots.
They had outscored their opponents 54-14 in their first two games during the final two quarters of play, allowing just one touchdown to both the Steelers and Jets. But on Sunday the Chiefs scored 28 points in the second half, 21 of which came in the final quarter of play to help Kansas City force overtime against the defending Superbowl Champs.
It's a trend head coach Bill Belichick feels had better change if his team has any plans of beating the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
"It was kind of a contrast of halves where the first half ended up 10-9," said Belichick on Monday. "Then everything broke loose in the second half and both teams were up and down the field quite a bit. Fortunately we were able to score a couple more points than they were but that was obviously an explosive offensive half by both teams."
Chiefs runningback Priest Holmes rushed for 145 of his 180-yards in the second half and ran pretty much at will, taking advantage of the fact New England was without linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Roman Phifer who were both out with injuries on Sunday. The Chiefs also racked up 283 of their 349-yards in the second half, with Holmes reaching the endzone twice during that span, including one in the final seconds of regulation to knot the game at 38-38.
While the Patriots battled back and scored 21 fourth quarter points of their own, three of quarterback Tom Brady's four sacks came during the constant second half onslaught of pressure he received. He stepped up and made the plays, but watched his best receiver get nicked up, with Troy Brown suffering a knee injury that has his status as "day-to-day" heading into Sunday's game against the Chargers. Brown had 16 receptions for 176-yards during the game, and in the event he's out this weekend that would certainly be a big loss. He currently leads the NFL in receptions with 31, and has obviously been a favorite of Brady's during the team's first three games.
"I think that Tom knows what Troy is thinking and I think that Troy knows what Tom is thinking," said Belichick. "Not that we don't have our screw ups out there every once and awhile, but I would say overall I think they have a good feel for each other."
Unfortunately the defense didn't seem to have much a feel for anything. They allowed the Chiefs to convert 5-of-6 third downs in the second half after holding the Steelers and Jets to a combined 1-of-15 in the final two quarters of play during the first two weeks. Kansas City marched down the field on each of their final three possessions en-route to the endzone, and all Belichick can do now is hope his team doesn't allow that to happen again this weekend when they head to San Diego.
If they do they'll find their current 12-game winning streak over, with what could potentially be a long season remaining ahead of them.
"What we'll do is look at the tape [of Sunday's game]," said Belichick. "We'll make the corrections on the tape [and] point those out to the players. Certainly there's some coaching adjustments too, don't get me wrong. But in the end, the next time that situation comes up, I think we'll execute it better."
"If and when it happens, we hope that we'll learn from the game experience and improve. That is what football is about in a 16-game regular season."
"A good player and a good team will do a little bit better the next time."
Hopefully Sunday's game was a learning experience for everybody.
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