FOXBOROUGH — Sunday was another instant classic between the Patriots and Chiefs.
Trailing 20-7 at the half, the Patriots found life in the second half and were able to make it a compelling game, only to fall 23-16.
The officiating was a major issue in the game. The crew blew a Travis Kelce fumble dead, as Stephon Gilmore picked it up and had a chance to score, which forced Bill Belichick to use a challenge. Then, on the ensuing drive, N’Keal Harry appeared to score a touchdown, but was ruled short. The Patriots were out of challenges because of the Gilmore play, so it could not be reviewed. New England kicked a field goal on that possession.
Here are 10 quick other thoughts on the game.
1. While it took until the second half, the Patriots offense was able to finally move the ball late in the game, and make it come down to the end. A fourth down pass from Tom Brady in the end zone was broken up with around a minute left to seal the win for Kansas City. Brady finished 19-for-36 with 169 yards and a touchdown. While his numbers were down, Brady played well.
2. The Patriots defense would like to have the first half back. The unit shut Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense down in the second half, but the second quarter struggles were too much to overcome. Ultimately, the Chiefs had too much speed and created a few too many mismatches.
3. New England got back into the game late in the third quarter after a Nate Ebner blocked punt, which put the Patriots offense in the red zone for the first time. Brandon Bolden scored on a 10-yard jet-sweep to cut the deficit to 10 at the time. It was the fourth blocked punt of the year for the Patriots special teams.
4. The thought going into the game for the Patriots to have a good chance of winning was with the running game. Instead, the Patriots finished with 94 yards on the ground. This was particularly bad considering the Chiefs entered the game as one of the worst run-stopping teams in the league, allowing over five yards per carry.
5. Josh McDaniels’ flea-flicker on the opening drive was a terrific play call. There were a number of runs before that and he was able to lull the corners up towards the line of scrimmage, which then allowed for Edelman to run free over the top without anyone there. It does say something about the offense that the only score of the first half came on that play.
6. Cornerback Jonathan Jones has been beat several times in recent weeks. While he’s the fastest player on the Patriots, he had a great deal of trouble catching up with the speedy Kansas City receivers. Jones also had a tough game last week against Houston’s receivers.
7. While the running game was poor, it appeared the team went away from Sony Michel. The second-year player did not have a single rush in the second half. He finished the day with five carries for eight yards. It was mostly James White in the final 30 minutes.
8. Following the end of the first half, where the Patriots trailed 20-7, there were a good amount of boo’s from the Gillette Stadium crowd. While it has happened a few times before, this was as restless as a home crowd has been in a long time.
9. On top of blown calls, there were a number of penalties in the contest, and even more flags that were picked up. This ruined the flow of the game, and the crew lost all control of the game in the second half where things were chippy after every play. In all, 15 penalties for over 150 yards were called.