The Kansas City Chiefs were successful in their quest to Foxborough and defeated the New England Patriots. From the jump, the Chiefs were fired up. The defense, once again, played their hearts out to best a hard-fighting Tom Brady. Now, Kansas City has made people aware just how good their defense can be. With that said, let’s look more into that and other major points from this Chiefs versus Patriots contest.
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Passing The Test
Despite some struggles offensively, the Patriots still presented an interesting test to Kansas City’s defense. The stats are fun to look at. But overall, you can see that this group of defenders is passing the eye test. They made more plays, compared to the big plays allowed.
After a couple of penalties and getting fooled on a flea flicker, the Chiefs stepped up to the plate. The defensive backs continue to communicate well and disguise their tendencies. Tyrann Mathieu flew around and led by example. How about Bashaud Breeland? After a couple of tough plays to open the game, Breeland constantly jumped off the screen. He lit up James White right before halftime. Finally, his pass breakup against Julian Edelman at the end of the game, sealed the game for the Chiefs.
Elsewhere, the defensive line provided constant pressure. Brady rarely had more than three seconds to stand in the pocket. Frank Clark and Chris Jones set the tone for the rest of the defensive unit. Then on running plays, Mike Pennel and Derrick Nnadi did their jobs well to plug up holes.
Another Slow Start
Offensively, Kansas City looked off kilter. The Patriots did a nice job of disguising zone coverage. On many plays, some receivers looked open. However, the ball was already out of the hands of Patrick Mahomes and early on, New England fooled him.
It was also tough to thwart the New England defensive line early on. They read the Chiefs tendencies and forced negative plays. This is something we have seen throughout the season for the Chiefs. For the most part, they have woken up better late than never. It is difficult to know how Kansas City went from starting so hot last year, to bumbling out of the gate. In the postseason, the Chiefs will look to be more clean from the get go.
Making A Difference
This game showed just how essential the offseason moves were for the Chiefs. We mentioned Mathieu and Clark earlier. It’s clear their teammates understand what they are trying to preach. As a unit, Kansas City has looked to utilize their abilities, rather than running the same dull game plan.
That all starts with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. He understands what each player does well. He knows how to create different looks and fool offensive play callers. Most of all, he believes in all of these defensive players. Even if the personnel doesn’t always jump out to what is seen on other teams, the talent has grown and matched what the Chiefs wanted to do to the Patriots and other teams.
Additionally, credit goes to general manager Brett Veach. Some teams would have kept the majority of the defensive personnel just for reaching the AFC Championship Game last year. However, he knew where the weaknesses were and what kind of players the team needed to bring in. Also with a similar amount of draft picks in similar spots, Veach cashed in with better results in the 2019 NFL Draft compared to the 2018 selections.
The Right Stuff
Going back to the offense, they haven’t been perfect. But, the Chiefs made all the right plays at the right time, and that continued against the Patriots. Mahomes bruised hand forced Andy Reid to utilize more crossing routes and the running game. We saw Travis Kelce have an effective game. Besides his fumble, he was locked in and came up big.
Darwin Thompson, LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware all capitalized on the running back splits. What stood out a lot to me, was how Ware looks to have hardly missed a beat. For not playing much this season, the return to the Chiefs was a nice, welcoming surprise.
Most of all, Mahomes was making smart decisions after a slow start. He was effective when maneuvering in the pocket. To boot, his ability to extend plays took New England defenders out of position. It may have been short, quick striking passes that mostly got the job done, but that’s just fine. The Chiefs offense overcame mistakes and kept control of the ball enough to keep the Patriots uncomfortable.
The Chiefs clinched the AFC West on Sunday with their win and an Oakland Raiders loss. Now, they’ll head back home to face an AFC West rival. Kansas City will welcome in the Denver Broncos, who are suddenly feeling good being led by rookie Drew Lock. It should be a fun rivalry game at Arrowhead Stadium.
That will wrap up our Chiefs versus Patriots game recap. Be on the lookout for plenty of Chiefs content throughout this week. Stay tuned to Full Press Coverage, for more great sports and NFL content.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.