Observations on a Brutal Loss
The hallmarks of a Bill Belichick team in New England is that they rarely if ever beat themselves and that they pride themselves on playing sound situational football. On Monday night the Patriots made far too many mistakes, turned the ball over four times, and played some terrible situational football.
The result was the Chiefs walking away with an easy 26-10 win. But it didn’t have to be that way and as tough as the team hung in there until the fourth quarter, they have only themselves to blame for this one.
They dropped two gift interceptions from Patrick Mahomes and both of those drives ended up costing them 10 points. On the Chiefs first drive, Mahomes had a mixup with Travis Kelce and sailed a pass too long right into the arms of Devin McCourty, but he couldn’t hold on. The Chiefs eventually kicked a field goal to make it 3-0.
Late in the game, after the Patriots narrowed the lead to 13-10, Mahomes tried to force the ball into tight coverage to Tyreek Hill around the goal line. J.C. Jackson was in perfect position and had an easy pick, but he two dropped it. Four plays later Mecole Hardman took a pitch from Mahomes and went six yards for a touchdown.
The offense wasn’t helping matters because on the next play from scrimmage. Jarrett Stidham hit Julian Edelman in the hands, on the perimeter for a quick screen. Edelman bobbled it and it bounced right into the hands of Tyrann Mathieu who returned it for a pick-six putting the game away 26-10. But Brian Hoyer, a 12-year veteran made two horrible mistakes that rookies generally make.
Hoyer had the ball at the 13-yard line with time running out in the half and the clock running and held the ball far too long, and after being sacked the clock ran out costing them an opportunity to tie the game. Hoyer drove them down inside the Chiefs ten and on 3rd and goal, once again held the ball far too long and this time was stripped sacked with the Chiefs recovering.
Two trips inside the 15-yard line and no points. While Cam Newton was out with a positive COVID-19 test, Sony Michel was put on IR with a quad injury, the offensive line was very shorthanded. David Andrews missed his second game in a row, Shaq Mason was out with an injury, and Jermaine Eleumenor left early with a migraine.
But the Patriots game plan was to run the ball, keep Mahomes on the bench, and grind the ball between the tackles. And despite having a depleted offensive line, they did a good job of it. They ran for 185 yards and Damien Harris just being activated off of IR and in the first real game action of his career ran hard. Harris finished with 100 yards on 17 carries and had a nice 45-yard run down the right side that set up the Patriots only touchdown. N’Keal Harry made a nice sliding catch in the end zone on a pass from Jarrett Stidham that made the score 13-10. And for the briefest of moments, it seemed like the team had a shot of pulling off the unlikely upset.
But a key 18-yard penalty on Kyle Dugger on a 3rd down incompletion to Kelce gave the Chiefs new life, followed by a costly penalty by Deatrich Wise for hitting Mahomes out of bounds. Was it a penalty? Absolutely. However, earlier in the game Matthieu threw down Harris well out of bounds but the officiating crew picked up the flag.
Tony Corrente’s crew isn’t the worst in the league but they’re in the top two, Jerome Boger’s crew still take that distinction. Corrente earlier had a brutal brainfart on a sack of Mahomes and either a fumble or interception by Shalique Calhoun that he picked up and scampered into the end zone. Corrente ruled Mahomes down. Late in the game, his crew badly botched a Stidham scramble for a first down, ruling him a yard short. However, the Patriots did pick it up on 4th down. But that crew is brutal.
The defense actually had a very strong game, holding Mahomes and the offense out of the end zone until less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. They did a tremendous job of switching things up and overall blanketing the Chiefs receivers. Mahomes finished 19-29 for 236 yards with two touchdown passes that were more handoffs. Stephon Gilmore and Chase Winovich were two of the best players on defense Monday night. Damien Harris was easily the Patriots player of the game on offense.
With the loss, the Patriots fall to 2-2 and two games behind Buffalo in the division. No more moral victories, this was a winnable game and they let any chance of slip away. The Chiefs did what Super Bowl champs do, they capitalized on the Patriots mistakes.
They will face Denver in Foxboro on Sunday and as of today, Newton is out. So who do they play at QB? Neither Hoyer nor Stidham looked promising, however with a week of getting the top reps, perhaps Stidham would look sharper.
If they can get a win at home against the Broncos, they’d head into the bye week at 3-2 and then face the 49ers, Bills, Dolphins, and Ravens…the meat of the schedule.
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Season
Tags: Bill Belichick Brian Hoyer Devin McCourty Jarrett Stidham Julian Edelman Kansas City Chiefs New England Patriots NFL Patrick Mahomes Patriots Sony Michel Stephon Gilmore Travis Kelce Tyreek Hill