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Patriots vs. Chiefs: Fan Notes from the Game

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Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots’ 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Patriots lost an ugly game to the Chiefs. Let's break it down.

Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Thursday, September 7, 2017

Welcome back to the season!

The Patriots lost, everyone is injured...and I’m quite alright with it all. I’m already over it. Plenty to break down over the coming days, but let’s just get right to the Fan Notes so we can move on with the season and keep enjoying hoisting that Fifth Banner!

Sorry. I know I shouldn’t be happy right now. But seeing that banner hanging up there...it’s going to take a while for me to come down off this one.

  • First off...to those of you in the New York City area who are looking for a great place to catch a Patriots game, I highly recommend Paddy’s Irish Pub in Park Slope, Brooklyn. They may think that they’re a Giants bar, but they’re a Patriots bar through and through - Irish bartenders, great beer selection, the best pint of Guinness on the east coast, and a crowd of surly fans who yell at the TV. I’m going to be spending a fair amount of time there this NFL season, so if you’re interested in meeting up with some fellow Pulpiteers and watching the Pats play, hit me up.
  • Secondly - not sure if anyone caught any of the pregame coverage, but man was it great. Super Bowl replays. More Super Bowl replays. Interviews with players. Footage of Tommy B’s first LET’S GO! of the season. And perhaps best of all, a whole slew of loud, clear, obnoxious boos as Roger Goodell took the field for about three minutes before running away to wherever it is he watched the game last night. Man I love football.
  • And speaking of football... part of the James White interview, conducted by Rodney Harrison, touched on a crucial block that White threw when the Patriots were facing 3rd and 10 from inside their own end zone, a play that ended with a Brady to Hogan connection to keep the drive alive. White diagnosed the blitz, adjusted his positioning, and was able to clip the nickel defender just enough to give Brady the time he needed to make the throw. Brady, trusting White completely, didn’t move in the pocket at all. Goosebumps. threw on
  • The Goosebumps I got from White got goosebumps of their own when former Patriots Kevin Faulk, Matt Light, Dion Branch, and Julian Edelman came out to hoist the first four Lombardis. Then the Brady tribute and the team running out of the tunnel by a cluster of American Flags carried by active duty soliders. That entire ceremony was just one big pile of clean up, aisle me.
  • Even seeing Chris Collinsworth again couldn’t dampen my spirits...and that’s saying something.
  • I could honestly do an entire Fan Notes on everything that happened pregame. But we’re all here for the actual game recap. So let’s move on.
  • I forgot how much I hate it when the Patriots get the ball first.
  • It took Tommy B all of one series to get a defensive matchup he liked. The result was a switch to no-huddle, motioning at the line, and empty shotgun sets. The Patriots didn’t even need a third down to get in the end zone after that.
  • Based on a limited sample size, if I’m a defensive player and I have to tackle Mike Gillislee in a short yardage situation I’m harnessing my inner Goodell and running away like a coward as fast as I possibly can.
  • Granted, I run away from pretty much everything, but still, the point remains.
  • Of course, soon after I write that, Gillislee gets stopped on a 4th and short to give the Chiefs the ball, My fault, guys.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tight end run back and forth across the line of scrimmage as much as Dwayne Allen did last night. He’s either an incredibly versatile blocker or Belichick decided to punish him for some infraction by giving him in-game sprints.
  • Usually, when all you can see of a defensive coordinator is his eyes as he holds the playcard up to his face, it’s because he wants to avoid any potential lip reading that might be going on. But last night, in Bob Sutton’s case, I think he was trying to hide.
  • On the Gronk TD that wasn’t, it kind of looked to me like the ball was definitely loose, but his hand came down under the football and it never totally touched the ground. But it wasn’t all that clear, to be honest. It seems to me like that’s one of those plays that whatever the call was at the time has to stand due to a lack of conclusive evidence.
  • Then again, since when has the NFL ever given a whit about conclusive evidence?
  • I wish Tommy B would just call out “QB sneak! QB sneak!” every time he’s facing 4th and inches. Even if he doesn’t run it, who cares?
  • Just as everyone predicted, Jordan Richards saw time at linebacker last night.
  • New England showed so much respect to the big play ability of Tyreek Hill that they more or less completely surrendered the under routes and checkdowns. And this is against a quarterback who lives almost exclusively in the world of under routes and checkdowns.
  • New England had a lot of trouble generating pressure, and since they left the middle of the field wide open, Alex Smith was able to feast on those gaps.
  • The Patriots in the first quarter reminded me of 3AM after Free Hot Dog Night at Paddy’s - fast, fun, and dangerous, but then when it was time to go to bed, not something you enjoy in the slightest.
  • Run blocking on the off-tackle plays was on point last night. It goes to my earlier point about Allen running around the LOS like a madman to open up the cutback lanes.
  • “Running back by panel.” That’s a good line, Collinsworth. Well done. Don’t get used to this.
  • Al Michaels, not to be outdone, came back with Sometimes I think the Patriots have better Buffalo players than Buffalo has." How am I supposed to compete with that? Out Fan Noted by Michaels in Week One. Dammit.
  • I worry that, as the year goes on and the Patriots start improving and mixing up the offensive looks, I’m not going to give James Develin the credit he very much deserves. Not only is he the best blocking fullback in the game, but he’s smart. He reads linebackers. He adjusts his blocking angles to force defenders into each other. Running backs of New England, buy that man a beer.
  • My dream of the Patriots not having to punt all year always gets shattered during Week 1. It’s inevitable. It never stops me from hoping, but ultimately, I know it’s too much to ask. So thank you to the Patriots for keeping that dream alive for me for almost an entire half this time around.
  • What was with all of the end arounds to Chris Hogan? Why not send Cooks on that route?
  • There has to be an unwritten rule in the NFL that players aren’t going to grab other players pants when trying to bring them down. Otherwise, there would be very large manbutts on display nonstop.
  • Which is as good a time as any to give a massive thank you to the Legends Football League for opting not to observe that rule.
  • Fumble aside, you have to love what you saw from Kareem Hunt last night. What a burner, and great cuts.
  • Not a fan of Dont’a Hightower on the edge, to be honest. Doesn’t quite have the size to really make it work.
  • Also really, really not a fan of 90+ yard drives against the Patriots defense that end in touchdowns. Both of KC’s 1st half scoring drives were over 90 yards.
  • In general, my first overreaction on the special Friday edition of Overreaction Monday is going to focus on the defensive front, both in run defense and consistent pressure. Odds are good that much of it was gameplan-specific in order to limit Alex Smith making plays with his legs, but consider that particular panic flag officially free of the lock switch.
  • Also going to overreact about the lack of tackling. Too many Chiefs broke out of initial contact.
  • A lot of deep floating sideline passes from Tommy B last night, almost all of which were overthrown. Hope that’s just a little early season rust.
  • If you were to tell me that Tommy B wouldn’t have taken a single sack through three quarters and the game was still close, I would have called you nuts.
  • The big concern was always the home run ability of KC and Tyreek Hill. You could kind of see it coming, the way the Patriots kept committing and funneling. But that was completely on Gilmore there. Completely lost track of Hill and there’s no way around it.
  • However, for it to have happened twice...inexcusable. That Hunt TD was more on the pass rush than anything else - Alex Smith had all day to survey the field and exploit the matchups.
  • Note to the Patriots: if you guys see KC again this season, always make sure they start all their drives outside the 10 yard line.
  • It seems that the refs decided to allow a lot of KC defensive contact against the New England receivers, which I’m actually totally fine with. We can’t complain about how many flags defenders draw and then complain when they don’t get flagged.
  • Did KC have a single non-sack negative play all night?
  • The key to beating Tom Brady has always been rush and get pressure with three or four, drop seven or eight, and hit Brady so he gets rattled and throws it away early. KC dropped eight but got zero pressure, and that was enough to really throw the Patriots off their game. Massive credit to them.
  • Time for the “bench Tom Brady” takes, right? I sure hope so; those are my favorite. Especially after the absolute dime he dropped into Cooks’s arms on that Go Route.
  • That Hightower injury is on one of those knee tweaks that you don’t want to watch more than once - kind of like any remake of any movie made ever. That he wasn’t carted off the field is nothing short of a miracle.
  • I’m a big fan of the injury tent. It’s so mysterious.
  • “The Tent” also sounds like the next soon to fail CBS drama we’ll have shoved down our throats next year. Look for it on the bottom right hand corner of your screens soon.
  • Phenomenal punt coverage from KC last night. I don’t think Amendola ran a single yard on the return all night.
  • I hope all you fantasy nuts drafted Gillislee!!
  • I forgot how long football games are. Sweet Tebow I didn’t get to bed until almost 2 in the morning. The NFL’s efforts to speed up the game are, thus far, a colossal failure.
  • To the league’s credit, though, there were ample opportunities for single play/commercial sandwiches last night, and they opted to stay with the game.
  • How many times can a team run a shovel pass to a tight end before you catch on?
  • As amped as the fans were last night, very little energy or enthusiasm from the Patriots as a whole. They seemed perfectly content to just go out there, run some plays, and head home.
  • What’s nice about a loss like this is that it came early, it’s the slap in the face the team may have needed, and there’s no chance they play this mellow again.
  • Also on the plus side, a good friend of mine is getting married this weekend, and he’s a huge Chiefs fan. Nice to give him a nice lead-in to his wedding.

. Maybe I’m still just riding high from knowing that Tommy B has 5 rings and everything from here on out is just gravy. Maybe it’s because it’s only Week 1 and ultimately this one won’t make much of a difference. Or maybe it’s because Kansas City is just one of those teams that seem to give the Patriots trouble. Whatever it is, I slept like a baby last night and am already all set to move on to New Orleans.

Have a great weekend, everyone! May you all spend your entire Sundays speaking to nobody and watching all the games.