The New England Patriots dropped to 2-2 on Monday, as quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham failed to produce in Cam Newton’s absence against the Kansas City Chiefs. While it was an underwhelming loss against the reigning Super Bowl champs, there were still plenty of positives takeaways for the Patriots. Here are some of my thoughts on the game:
Harris was activated from New England’s IR on Sunday, and Sony Michel was subsequently placed on it due to a quad injury. The second-year Alabama product didn’t disappoint in his debut as a starter, rushing 17 times for exactly 100 yards. With Michel out at least three games, Harris will have plenty of opportunities to earn the starting job.
Looking at the score, one might imagine that the Chiefs torched New England’s defense. However, that wasn’t the case at all. The Patriots were extremely impressive defensively, repeatedly shutting down the most explosive offense in the league. Patrick Mahomes threw for just 236 yards and two touchdowns, while rookie stud Clyde Edwards-Helaire was held to just 64 rushing yards. Reigning DPOY Stephon Gilmore finally showed up too, forcing a fumble at the beginning of the second quarter. Maintaining that level of play will be a key factor in New England’s playoff hopes down the stretch.
There’s no other way to put it: Hoyer was atrocious on Sunday. The veteran backup repeatedly airmailed passes to his receivers — including a first-quarter interception — capping his first-half performance off by taking a sack as time ran out in field goal range. It didn’t get much better in the second half, either. Hoyer fumbled on the Chiefs’ 10-yard line at the end of a 13-play drive in the third quarter, which Mahomes turned into a Chiefs touchdown on the ensuing drive. While third-string quarterback Jarrett Stidham wasn’t much better, he definitely overtook Hoyer on the depth chart during Sunday’s game.
Edelman may be starting to show his age, racking up just five catches for 58 yards over the last two games. He had a couple of key drops on Sunday as well, including one that slipped right through his hands to Tyrann Mathieu, who returned it for a touchdown. Edelman has now been outplayed by N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd in New England’s last two games.
Without Cam Newton, the Patriots were never expected to beat the Chiefs. While the offense faltered — as expected — the defense finally came alive after three underwhelming games. With the Bills currently standing at 4-0, New England will have to pick things up in the coming weeks to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Next up: The Patriots host Denver on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. (ET)
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