1. RB Mike Gillislee is going to be the team’s goal line running back.
Gillislee ran for three touchdowns and was the lead back whenever the Patriots were on the goal line. Rex Burkhead is definitely down the depth chart, with James White a better receiver and Gillislee the preferred runner. White actually showed up as a strong runner, too, and could be due for a larger role between the 10s.
2. WR Danny Amendola will eat...if he stays healthy.
Amendola snagged 100 yards on the day and was selected to be the Patriots punt returner. Amendola will have a lot of space to roam with TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Brandin Cooks drawing double teams, and he looks to be the favorite to take on the Julian Edelman slot role, if he can stay healthy. He had the wind knocked out of him on one pass and was taken out of the game after suffering a concussion on a punt return.
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
3. But where was WR Chris Hogan?
Chris Hogan was targeted three times and collected zero catches through the first three quarters and ran 3 times for 17 yards. But with all the expectations for Hogan to replace Julian Edelman in the offense, Hogan definitely came up short with just 8 receiving yards on the day.
4. QB Tom Brady looked sloppy.
Brady finished the day 16/36 (44.4%) for 267 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a passer rating of 70.0. He looked like he really missed having Edelman as a target in the offense as he didn’t have a receiver capable of getting open in a short area once Amendola was taken out of the game. That illegal forward pass was just laughable and Brady was chucking prayers down the field all night.
5. The offensive line looked really good.
LT Nate Solder looked rusty in his first game back from his injury, but the other four linemen had strong games. Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason were excellent run blockers, while David Andrews did a good job helping with protections. Marcus Cannon had a strong game against Justin Houston, apart from a late sack.
6. EDGE Trey Flowers is going to be a superstar.
Flowers recorded two sacks and generated a lot more pressure on Chiefs QB Alex Smith. He let a tackle get through his fingers on TE Travis Kelce, but was otherwise his regular stout self on the line.
7. The Patriots were gashed against the run...
Chiefs rookie RB Kareem Hunt picked up 148 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts and the Patriots struggled to contain him in the backfield. It felt like every time Hunt had a clear lane, he would drag the Patriots defenders an extra few yards. Charcandrick West picked up 21 yards for a touchdown on his first carry of the night. I think that’s because the Patriots used Jordan Richards at linebacker and New England lacked the weight to defend the run.
Hunt also picked up 98 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns to bring his game totals to 248 yards and 3 touchdowns on 22 touches. Brutal.
8. ...and also struggled against the Chiefs horizontal receiving routes.
It seemed like the Patriots were able to defend Kansas City when the Chiefs were moving vertically (Tyreek Hill’s big touchdown the exception), but the New England defenders were a step behind whenever Hill was moving across the field. Tyreek Hill finished the day with 133 yards and a touchdown.
9. K Stephen Gostkowski was great.
Gostkowski connected on all 5 of his kicks against the Chiefs and looked comfortable on each kick. He also did a great job on kickoffs, as the Chiefs started drives on the own 13 and 10 yard line late in the third quarter.
10. The Patriots record is now 0-1.
They will not be going 19-0. New England is on to the New Orleans Saints.