The New England Patriots have given a Foxboro chill of a welcome to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs through the first half of their Sunday Night Football showdown, with the Patriots leading 24-9.
Tom Brady has put the Patriots on the board behind a 11-of-15 start for 113 yards and a touchdown, while rookie running back Sony Michel continues to shine, with 11 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been forced to settle for field goals on all three of their scoring drives.
Here are three thoughts from the first half…
Bend Don’t Break
The Patriots are allowing the Chiefs offense to pick up some yards, but it’s yet to result in a touchdown against ’em. This is the old Bend Don’t Break philosophy actually working out in New England’s favor. Perhaps the Patriot Defense’s most important stop came in the second quarter, as Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore prevented a would-be touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins on a third-and-goal from the N.E. six and forced Kansas City into their third field goal of the night.
If this game is the shootout many expect it to be, field goals ain’t gonna cut it.
Patrick Mahomes looks uncomfortable
Another thing helping the Patriots? Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks straight-up unsettled in the pocket. In addition to taking away some of Mahomes’ favorite weapons — Tyreek Hill has caught just three of his six targets for 43 yards — the Patriots continued to trick Mahomes into thinking they were sending the house. You saw how this often led to Mahomes panicking around and forcing plays, and playing at a tempo that was not ideal. The Patriots have found success when sending the house, too, especially against a K.C. offensive line missing its key pieces.
New England also forced Mahomes into two first half interceptions, including one given up to the Patriots’ Duron Harmon with just seconds left in the half and the Chiefs threatening for a touchdown.
Mahomes finished the first half with completions on 14 of his 23 passes for 164 yards.
Edelman scores first touchdown of year
For the first time since Jan. 22, 2017, Julian Edelman is on the board with a touchdown.
The 32-year-old has caught all three of his first half targets for a total of 33 yards.
Mahomes and the Chiefs will get the ball to begin the second half.