For a 10-3 team, things are a little tense right now. On Sunday, the Patriots lost to the Chiefs 23-16. I know most people are chalking this up as a result of bad officiating, but that’s a cop-out. It’s not like the Patriots were perfect other than those few missed calls. Sure, they were costly, but you need to find a way to win around that and they didn’t. Suck it up and do better next week.
There are real problems on this team that aren’t referee related. All year they have not been able to run the ball. That’s a problem. They still don’t have a consistent kicker. That’s a problem. The receivers, other than Edelman, are unable to consistently create separation. That’s a problem.
And with all that considered, they still came up just yards short of forcing overtime against a good team. Like every team in the NFL, they’re flawed. But they do have some really good strengths, enough to win games. So, as previously stated, they need to suck it up and win games through their strengths. It’s doable, and they were in a similar position this time last year right before they put it together with a Super Bowl run.
Rewatching the Film
This game started off with a favorable first quarter for the Patriots. They scored on the games opening drive then intercepted Patrick Mahomes on the next. However, things swung to Chiefs’ side after that.
They couldn’t capitalize and surrendered a field goal on their next defensive possession. The Patriots drove into Kansas City territory on the ensuing possession but had their field goal blocked.
On a third and long, Mahomes bombed a pass downfield to Mecole Hardman, who caught it and raced to the endzone. Tom Brady gave the ball right back with an interception on the very next play. Again, the Chiefs scored a touchdown. They added another field goal before the half to go up 20-7.
Things seemed to be rolling for the Chiefs. Their offense was rolling while the Patriots offense was floundering. The Chiefs even began the second half with a field goal as well to extend their lead. But that would be the last points they scored.
The Patriots were finally able to find a spark with their defense blocking a punt. Two plays later, Brandon Bolden found the endzone on a jet sweep. They failed on the two-point conversion, but the defense got them the ball right back with a fumble recovery. However, the refs blew their whistle early, costing Stephon Gilmore an easy scoop-and-score touchdown.
The refs struck again just a few plays later when they called N’Keal Harry out of bounds just before the goal line. Replay clearly showed Harry stayed inbounds before scoring, but the Patriots were out of challenges. This was the play most fans pointed to as the most damning call, and though it was clearly wrong, the Patriots did have a fresh set of downs at the goal line where they failed to score. They took the field goal and trailed 23-16.
After a string of punts, the Patriots were on their last chance down a touchdown late in the fourth. Brady led the offense deep into Chiefs territory, keyed by a 17-yard scramble on fourth down. But on fourth down at the five-yard line, Brady couldn’t connect with Julian Edelman, ending the comeback bid.
This is a tough game to pick one because it was a sloppy game where no one really stood out. However, Edelman was the only receiver who was able to provide Brady some help. Eight catches for 95 yards and a touchdown is not a bad day for the old vet. If it weren’t for him, the offense would’ve been truly putrid.
Updates from Outside the Uprights
As all of Pat’s Nation has heard by now, there are allegations of a “Spygate 2“. Last week at the Bengals vs Browns game, the Patriots organization sent a videographer to record one of their scouts for their “Do Your Job” documentary. However, being that the Bengals are the Patriots’ next opponent, concerns were that the film was being used to spy on the Bengals play calls. It’s really too early to make judgments on the situation, but obviously, the media has already jumped all over it. From what it seems, this documentary crew is entirely separate from football operations. Additionally, I really don’t think the Patriots are dumb enough to try this again. Also, why in the hell would the Patriots need to cheat to beat the Bengals? Again, we need to wait until all the facts come out, but I’m betting this is much ado about nothing.
Next Man Up: @ Cincinnati Bengals
Hopefully, this is the game where the Patriots can get back on track. Back-to-back losses have been rare in the Belichick-era, and the last one was followed with a run to the Super Bowl. The Patriots should easily win this game, and I expect the defense to force no less than six turnovers, three blocked field goals, and a hundred sacks. Offensively, it would be just great to see Brady with some time to throw for the first time in weeks. Not to get greedy, but maybe even see Sony Michel run for over 50 yards? Is that too much to ask?
Top Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images