The New England Patriots’ Week 4 game at Kansas City was far from normal as due to a positive test from quarterback Cam Newton, the game was moved to Monday evening, two hours before the actual Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green bay Packers. It was nationally televised on CBS with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the call. Without their QB, they went into Arrowhead Stadium and expectedly lost 26-10 against the defending Super Bowl champions Chiefs. Here is a breakdown of the game.
The Patriots started long-time journeyman Brian Hoyer, who started his career in New England in 2009. His performance ranged from mostly mediocre (with a couple good throws) to downright terrible.
First, he threw a high pass, which landed right in the arms of Chiefs’ safety Tyrann Mathieu for an interception to end the first quarter. To end the first half, Hoyer took a sack in field-goal range down three with no timeouts, ending the first half. The nail in the coffin on his day occurred in the third quarter where after a 12-play drive, he was stripped by Taco Charlton. The ball was recovered by Charlton, ending yet another promising drive down three. Third-string QB Jarrett Stidham came into the ballgame and threw a gorgeous touchdown pass to N’Keal Harry. However, he threw two picks, sealing the win for the Chiefs.
With running back Sony Michel on injured reserve, Damien Harris got his opportunity to shine and he did, gaining 100 yards on the day, including a 41-yard scamper to set up the Patriots’ only touchdown drive.
Damiere Byrd was solid with five receptions for 80 yards, providing the longest pass plays of the game for the Patriots. Harry dove for the game’s one touchdown, an athletic play many were expecting from him when he was drafted. The biggest takeaway, however, was the concerning play of Julian Edelman, who had three drops, one of which led to a pick-six. No tight ends made a catch in the game. The offensive line was solid, only giving up the two previously mentioned sacks. However, those are more on Hoyer for holding onto the ball too long rather than an offensive-line breakdown.
It is clear Newton is irreplaceable on this team. He gives them stability and playmaking at the QB position, something Hoyer and Stidham were unable to provide. Edelman needs to stop dropping passes, making it more clear the Patriots need to acquire another receiver.
Bill Belichick is a defensive mastermind and did a fantastic job creating a gameplan to slow down the Chiefs’ explosive attack. He blitzed more often than usual and made Mahomes and the receiving corp uncomfortable for most of the game. The Chiefs were held to two field goals in the first half and didn’t score their first touchdown until 42 seconds left in the third quarter. Chase Winovich provided the one sack for the team as the front seven constantly got in the backfield. The Chiefs were held to 94 yards rushing on 25 carries, a 3.8 yard-per-carry average.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore forced the Patriots’ only turnover as he punched the ball out from Sammy Watkins. The secondary held up well for most of the game but was gassed as the offense kept turning the ball over in the second half. The defense put up a good fight, which is promising as the Patriots will not have to face the Chiefs every week.
A decent performance from the unit all-around as kicker Nick Folk drilled both his kicks. Punter Jake Bailey kicked all three of his punts inside the 20.
Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19, once again pushing their game against the Denver Broncos to a Monday, this time at 5:00 p.m. EST on ESPN, which will end right before the Chargers/Saints Monday Night Football game.