Deflated: Patriots Blow Prime Opportunity to Upset Defending Champs

The opportunity was there. The defense was playing out of their minds, and the offense was moving the ball efficiently. Then Brian Hoyer happened. For all of his veteran experience, Hoyer looked like a deer in headlights in his first career Patriots start. Horrendous turnovers, despicable clock management, the whole nine yards. Simply put, Hoyer shouldn’t start another game in a Patriots uniform. Stupid mistakes and poor clock management doomed what could have been an all-time Patriots win.

Offense

The O-Line led the way for the Pats’ offense, as they were able to move the ball fairly efficiently on the ground, and had good protection throughout. Other than that? Not much went well. Without Newton’s rushing threat, the Chiefs played a ton of man defense with safeties in the box, and the Pats’ receivers simply could not get open consistently. Damiere Byrd is currently the leader in snaps for Patriots wide receivers. That just isn’t going to fly in the NFL. They need an upgrade. Bad.

Damien Harris was the best Patriots skill player on the field all night, as he ran hard and created a lot of extra yards. He should be the early-down back for the rest of the year. Shoutout to James White for mustering up the strength to play after the horrific incident involving his parents two weeks ago. No small feat.

Once Hoyer got benched, Jarrett Stidham came in and played up and down. He led them down the field in their only touchdown drive, capped off with a gorgeous fade to N’Keal Harry on 3rd and goal. Unfortunately, Stidham ended up throwing two picks, one of which was completely on Edelman, and the other was a poorly thrown ball to an open receiver. Regardless, Stidham should remain the starter if Cam Newton isn’t ready to go on Sunday vs. Denver.

Tight end is undoubtedly where the biggest problem for the Patriots lies. Ryan Izzo is completely useless, Devin Asiasi can’t get on the field, and Dalton Keene can’t even dress for a game. It’s time to just play the rookies and roll with the mental mistakes because it’s really costing them on offense. Defenses can literally just ignore the tight end on the field and focus on their below average-at-best wide receiving group

Defense

You really couldn’t ask for much more from this Patriots defense. Save for two dropped picks by Devin McCourty and J.C. Jackson, coupled with a moronic Deatrich Wise personal foul, and this defense was near flawless.

The trio of Winovich, Simon, and Wise got pressure on Mahomes all day, and the secondary was able to stick with their receivers for just long enough to force incompletions. While everyone wants to chalk up this performance to Bill Belichick’s defensive genius, the fact of the matter was that they played a lot of man defense, and the defensive backs simply did their jobs covering receivers.

Run defense, which was a major problem the last three week, was much improved this week, despite facing a potent rusher in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler held down the fort inside and kept the linebackers clean. The Patriots played with six defensive back for the majority of the game, basically daring the Chiefs to run, and they still were able to hold the ground game in check. Mighty impressive.

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