Some highlights and notes from the first quarter:
The Chiefs had the ball to start the game, and it was interesting to see that Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman saw some action on defense during New England’s first defensive series, coming in on 3rd down against Kansas City on their opening drive. The Chiefs would be forced to punt.
Tom Brady and the Patriots are off to a slow start. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
For New England, they struggled on their opening drive and went three and out. It started when BenJarvus Green-Ellis let an easy dump off pass go right through his hands, followed by a two yard gain by Green-Ellis. It ended on an incomplete pass from Brady to what appeared to be Deion Branch, although it looked like Danny Woodhead may have been the other potential intended receiver. However, Woodhead got bumped off his route and Brady looked his way after the play. To make matters worse, Brady was called for intentional grounding, which as a bad call considering how close the ball was to Branch’s proximity on the field. That lead to a punt by New England
James Ihedigbo went down with an injury on the first play of the Chiefs second possession, although fortunately he ran off the field under his own power. The bad news was he then headed off to the locker room. He was replaced by Ross Ventrone, who was immediately tested by the Chiefs on a completion to wide receiver Steve Breaston, with Ventrone missing the tackle.
The Chiefs drove down to the Patriots 36 yard line, but New England got their first big play of the night when Jerod Mayo came across and made the stop on a 3rd and one play, forcing a punt.
New England couldn’t get much going on their next drive either. They picked up 11 on their second play from scrimmage thanks to a completion to Aaron Hernandez, but it was another key drop that ended up stalling the drive. Rob Gronkowski dropped a third and seven pass that went right through his hands, and the Patriots once again were forced to punt.
So far through two offensive series, the Patriots offense looks incredibly flat. A lot of uncharacteristic mistakes, including a couple of easy drops. Not exactly what you would expect to see for a big Monday night home game. The Chiefs meanwhile are playing with a lot of emotion, and have already upped the tempo against New England’s defense.
James Ihedigbo was back on the field for the Chiefs next offensive series, with Kansas City getting the ball with good field position at their own 47 yard line. They drove all the way down to the Patriots 5-yard line thanks to a 26 yard run by Chiefs runningback Thomas Jones. But an illegal shift penalty backed the Cheifs up 5 yards, and Andre Carter then appeared to make a big sack on 2nd down, which pushed them all the way back to the 15 yard line. Instead it was called a “tackle for a loss”, but it helped force a 26 yard Chiefs field goal, giving Kansas City a 3-0 lead with 1:30 left in the opening quarter. It was a 9-play 45 yard drive for the Chiefs.
The Patriots had the ball to end the first quarter, but it’s been a tough start for Tom Brady, who is just 2-of-7 through the start of this one. New England’s offense has 33 yards of total offense, which isn’t exactly what you would have expected against a Chiefs team starting an inexperienced quarterback.
Kansas City then tried an onside kick, which caught New England off guard. However, the ball hit a Chiefs player before it went 10-yards and New England had the ball heading into the second quarter of play.