By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
This game? This game is about the defense. And when you get right down to it, the truth is that Bill Belichick hasn’t found an answer yet for Patrick Mahomes or, for that matter, Andy Reid.
And so, amid all of the discussion about Tom Brady and the fledgling New England offense, we interrupt this programming for a certified reality check: Belichick and the Patriots really haven’t had an answer for the Kansas City Chiefs offense since Andy Reid got to Kansas City. The Patriots and Chiefs have played five times since Reid took over the Chiefs, and while the Patriots are 3-2 in those games, Kansas City has scored an average of 34.8 points per game that has made the New England defense look like the French army.
To wit: thanks to pro-football-reference.com, here are the Patriots’ five games against the Chiefs – including last year’s AFC Championship Game – since Reid became the head coach:
Now, I know what you’re thinking: yeah, but the Pats won three of those games. True enough. But that’s because the Patriots scored a combined 80 points in the two games last season. And while Kansas City’s defense is still bad – Kansas City ranks 16th in scoring defense and near the bottom of the NFL in all defensive rushing metrics – the Patriots’ offense has taken a major turn for the worse.
With Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, Kansas City has scored 71 points in the last two games against the Patriots, including 40 in Foxboro last year. (In those two contests, the Chiefs scored a whopping 62 points in the second halves, precisely 31 in each game.) Heck, with Alex Smith at quarterback, the Chiefs scored 42 at Foxboro in 2017. In the matchup of Reid’s offense vs. Belichick’s defense, Reid has won. Handily.
Belichick knows this better than anyone, which is why this year he basically brought back an entire defense that currently ranks first in the NFL in defensive passer rating. And make no mistake, it’s a defense built to defend the pass, specifically Kansas City, which entered the year as the primary threat to New England in the AFC. The Chiefs may be 8-4, but they lost Mahomes to injury during the middle of the season. When Belichick built this Patriots defense during the offseason, he did so with the Chiefs in mind.
Now here we are, in Week 14, and the Patriots have just lost their grasp on the top seed in the AFC. The Chiefs have won their last two and pasted the Oakland Raiders by a 40-9 score last week. New England’s offense appears stuck in park and the margin for error is as thin as angel hair.
So here we go, Kyle Van Noy. You too, Devin McCourty. And Stephon Gilmore. And Jonathan Jones. Here we go, Boogeymen. Belichick built you with this team, this game, in mind. You’re coming off a loss. You need a win. You’re at home.
You need to stop Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.