No quarterback under 25 has ever won in New England in the Brady/Belichick era. No AFC team has ever beaten the duo of Brady and Edleman in Foxboro. Out of 49 attempts, the Patriots have only lost back to back games 11 times. Enter Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes finished the day with 283 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while completing 65% of his passes. While at first glance that may not look like anything extraordinary, it was against the vaunted New England defense.
Mahomes has thrown for more yards than any other quarterback against New England this season. He passed for more than 100 extra yards than the Patriots give up to quarterbacks on average. He was also only the sixth quarterback to throw a touchdown pass against them.
The day started off rough for Mahomes with an early interception and constant pressure on him, but he quickly rebounded and led the offense to a strong day. While the difference was only one touchdown, Mahomes and company were in control for the majority of the day.
The rushing game was once again weak. New England’s defense gives up the fourth-fewest rushing yards per game, so take the bad day with a grain of salt. Starting running back, Damien Williams was out for this game, so that undoubtedly hurt the team.
LeSean McCoy got the bulk of the load with 11 carries and 39 yards. Newcomer yet familiar face, Spencer Ware, had the second-most carries with five but only managed 11 yards. Darwin Thompson was the only other running back to get a carry with four, which he took for seven yards. Thompson made a significant impact in the receiving game, however, with four catches for 36 yards. I will continue to pound the table for the sixth round rookie. He is the best running back on the team, and we keep seeing flashes of it.
The receivers had a big day, especially considering who they were lining up against. Travis Kelce led the team with seven receptions and 66 yards. He also lined up in the wild cat formation where he took the snap and plowed through the defense for a touchdown. Tyreek Hill “only” finished with 62 yards on six receptions. There were at least two times where he was wide open in the endzone, but Mahomes failed to get him the ball in time. Hill continues to be a problem for the Patriots secondary. Sammy Watkins filled out the number two job nicely this week. He pulled in four balls for 50 yards.
Not a big day but enough to keep the Patriots secondary scrambling. Early in the game, while the Chiefs looked like they were going to struggle, Mecole Hardman used his blazing speed to get open and haul in a pass for 48 yards. That is the only time he showed up in the stat sheet, but that one reception jump-started the offense, and they never looked back.
Chiefs Defensive Improvement
Last season the Chiefs defense could not stop the Patriots offense at all. The team lost twice to the Patriots in shootouts. This time, the Chiefs offense didn’t need to put up 40+ to have a chance. They sacked Tom Brady three times, which is three times more than they did in all of 2018.
Frank Clark, Chris Jones, and Alex Okafor kept Brady uneasy all day. The run defense, also known as the Achilles heel of this team, kept the Patriots running backs under 70 rushing yards. That is a massive win for this defense. They kept Brady at a 52% completion rate while also intercepting him once thanks to Bashaud Breeland.
With the game on the line with just a few moments left, The Patriots were at fourth and goal with a chance to tie the game. Brady looked to his clutch WR, Julian Edelman, but instead of the Patriots authoring another late-game heroic drive, the defense once again stepped up as Bashaud Breeland denied the pass.
This is a game that the defense would’ve lost in 2018. While lots of improvements are still to be made, this 2019 defensive unit is entirely different and is getting better with every passing week.
Biggest Chiefs Takeaways
- The offense showed they can win against elite defenses on the road
- The defense continues to improve with each passing week
- Run game still needs work
- AFC West Champions!
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