The New England Patriots fell to 2-2 on the season with a 26-10 loss in Kansas City that was straight up ugly at times. Despite the inexcusable quarterback play, two dropped interceptions, idiotic penalties, and a horrendous missed call, we have another instance of feeling good about this team despite a loss. Wait, what’s that?
Their two best players have Covid-19 and the immediate future of the team is in jeopardy because the NFL wants to push through a season that will forever be marred in controversy because of their handling of the situation? Well that sucks.
Anyway, we’re going to just push through (the NFL would be proud) and focus on the positives that came out of Sunday’s loss by taking a look at the guys who deserve a little more credit than they’re getting for their on field performances.
Jake Bailey: Weapon
The drop on this Jake Bailey punt is freakish. If Bethel doesn’t think Hardman touches it it has a chance to roll about 20 yards, after traveling about 45 in the air. #Weapon pic.twitter.com/pF1QWEGD3J— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 6, 2020
It is often joked about how punters are “weapons” or “elite” but I am dead serious when I say this: Jake Bailey is the best punter in the NFL. His three punts on Monday went for 51, 47, and 58 yards and landed at the Kansas City 15, 5, and 11-yard line respectively. The last one of his kicks was especially impressive.
Big Bad Lawrence Guy
In the day and age of the athletic-pass rushing DT, Lawrence Guy remains a throwback. Technically proficient and a ton of fun to watch in the trenches. pic.twitter.com/WOIMNtrILz— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 6, 2020
One of my favorite things ever said about Vince Wilfork was, “1-gappers attack gaps, 2-gappers attack people. Vince Wilfork is an attacker of people.” The same thing can be said for Lawrence Guy.
The referees help in a big way.
Oops, this isn’t Arrowhead Pride. Carrying on.
Shilique Calhoun for President.
The Shilique Calhoun section of my heart grew by two sizes yesterday. pic.twitter.com/9euMOiMXpK— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 6, 2020
This was funny and definitely deserved a spot on this list. The definition of heroic.
Chase Winovich’s play recognition is improving each week.
Life is meaningless but Chase Winovich is really good at football. pic.twitter.com/hxYZd5oM6j— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 7, 2020
The man tied for second in the NFL in pass rush win rate (25%) just so happens to be turning into a very good run defender as well. The sky is indeed the limit for Winovich moving forward.
Damiere Byrd is the best receiver in New England right now.
He’s been much more involved than I ever thought he would be. 14 catches for 179 yards through four games while leading the receivers in snaps played. He also led the team in catches and yards on Monday. pic.twitter.com/LfLjiG6TKZ— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 7, 2020
Strong words, I understand. Also most people wouldn’t view this as a positive but the truth is no receiver on the Patriots’ current roster has been as consistent (or played as much) as Damiere Byrd. Right now, he’s the only guy getting separation and making catches.
OG Michael Onwenu
Onwenu was our unsung hero in Week 1 so I thought about having someone else in this spot, but the fact of the matter is there is no other player deserving of it. Not because there were no other players who played well — Justin Herron filled in admirably for Jermaine Eluemunor, Jake Bailey was outstanding, the entire defense played about as well as possible for three quarters.
Michael Onwenu just happened to be damn near perfect.
In a game where he was finally able to play his natural position of right guard, Onwenu had a clean sheet. He didn’t let up a single quarterback pressure and stayed true to his roots as a road-grader in the run game.
We all know the rookie has been great. The thing that lands him as our unsung hero this week is his mobility. The biggest knock on him pre-draft was that he wasn’t mobile enough to be effective at the second level. This offseason he slimmed down and so far has shown that he moves plenty well enough to not only be effective but, at times, dominant:
I’ve run out of things to say. Michael Onwenu is fantastic. pic.twitter.com/7GIHSQn1ZU— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 7, 2020
Michael Onwenu continues to be one of the best players, let alone rookies, on the Patriots’ roster. The only problem is they’ve already got two top-tier guards slotted into the lineup in Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason. An embarrassment of riches is never a bad thing, but it can always be used as ammunition to make a move later in the season.
That will do it for this week, I know we’re all upset about the handling of this situation by the NFL but hopefully this took your mind off of it for 10 minutes, if not, read it again. We will be back (TBD).