Final: Chiefs 42, Patriots 27
After a stellar first drive, the offense went downhill fast for the defending champs. The momentum change seemed to happen after Gronkowski’s touchdown was overturned early in the first quarter. From there the Patriots couldn’t consistently put drives together. Gillislee’s power running from the goal line impressed, but outside of that, the offense struggled. The Chiefs did a good job taking the middle of the field away, forcing Brady to throw near the sidelines more, where many of his incompletions came from. It seemed that his throws were just out of reach of his receivers’ hands. His downfield throws were good at times, and he proved he can still sling the ball over 60 yards, but after losing Danny Amendola, it looked as though the deep ball was his only option. Not having Edelman definitely showed, Brady could have used him on some of those third down conversions. Although it’s early, the Patriots are going to need a receiver to step up moving forward, especially if Amendola’s injury costs him time.
Communication was an issue most of the night, in what was an abysmal effort from the defense. Sixty-five million dollar corner Stephon Gilmore played like a $65 one. On Tyreek Hill’s 75-yard touchdown catch, he seemed lost on who to cover, and proceeded to let Hill run right by him into the open field as he stood there, flat-footed. The pass rush was non-existent. Smith sat in the pocket torching the Patriots secondary all night, throwing for two touchdowns of plays over 70 yards. After forcing Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt to fumble on his first carry, the defense did nothing to slow the rookie down afterwards. He finished with 148 yards and Kansas City finished with 185 yards on the ground total, averaging close to 7 yards per carry. Overall the 42 points and 537 yards of total offense allowed, were the worst totals in the Bill Belichick era. Yuck.
Nothing went right for Belichick and staff on Thursday night. Josh McDaniels play calling came into question many times. As the game progressed he called many deep balls and made little effort to change his plan, despite the Chiefs playing well in downfield coverage. He opted twice on fourth down not to use the quarterback sneak with Brady, a play the 40-year-old has excelled at for most of his career. Defensively, there was no answer to stopping the Chiefs. The secondary’s communication broke down on several plays, while the defensive line and linebackers failed to slow down the running attack. Not having any pass rush was puzzling as well. A lot of questions with this unit going into week two.
Special Teams: B
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski converted both field goal attempts, and made all extra point attempts. All six of his kickoffs reached the end zone, with two being touchbacks. The coverage was good too, the Chiefs managed just 10 yards on four punt returns, and 86 yards on four kickoff returns, both respectable numbers for New England. If Ryan Allen’s punts traveled further, (he was five yards under his average) the grade could have been better, but it doesn’t feel right giving any unit higher than a B after their performance.