Former Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman was asleep at the wheel Monday in Kansas City (the same could be said of quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, neither of whom looked remotely capable of leading an NFL offense in Cam Newton’s absence), dropping two passes including one that led to a fourth-quarter pick-six.
Between Hoyer’s struggles, an uncharacteristic lapse by coach Bill Belichick late in the first half (Hoyer’s sack was a gut punch but Belichick’s clock management still left a lot to be desired) and a flurry of unfavorable whistles, Monday’s 26-10 loss—New England’s largest margin of defeat since Week 3 of 2018—couldn’t have gone much worse for the 2-2 Patriots. Even when the sky is falling, the Pats can usually count on their veteran slot man to save the day, but that certainly didn’t materialize at Arrowhead as the 34-year-old ran his season drop count to five, an alarming total for a player of Edelman’s experience and stature.
We know what the 12th-year wideout is capable of when healthy and focused—two weeks ago he posted a career-high 179 yards in a Sunday night shootout against Seattle. But the drops are adding up. In fact, no receiver has flubbed as many catches as Edelman since 2018 (hat tip to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal for dropping that tasty stat nugget). Edelman’s high-volume role as New England’s go-to receiver could have something to do with that, but what he did against the Chiefs, serving Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu the ball on a silver platter at a time when the Patriots were still within striking distance, was costly, bordering on unforgiveable.
Conventional wisdom suggests Edelman will bounce back. Similarly, one nightmare performance in a game the Patriots probably would have lost anyway doesn’t erase Edelman’s past heroics (given the circumstances, his between-the-legs catch against Atlanta in Super Bowl LI may be the greatest we’ve ever seen). But in an offense with little in the way of sure things, Edelman was supposed to be a consistent producer for the Pats, and to this point, that has not been the case.