By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Monday night’s Patriots game was, well, it was a lot to handle. From the COVID situation in the days leading up to the game, to fantastic defensive play, Brian Hoyer’s decision making, to a near comeback, to a final collapse, it was an emotional roller coaster akin to the movie Uncut Gems or licking a car battery.
It’s understandable to still be in a daze after all of that. So while you recover from the chaos hangover, I’ll empty my notebook. Here’s some little details you may have missed in the Patriots 26-10 loss.
1. The Patriots are 2-2 for the seventh time under Bill Belichick. They’ve made the Super Bowl in four of those seven seasons, winning three.
2. Even if the Patriots did have a timeout at the end of the first half, that’s still a terrible sack for Hoyer to take. It moved the ball from the 13 yard line (30-yard field goal) back to the 26 (43-yard field goal), going from Nick Folk’s comfort zone to the edge of his range.
3. If the Patriots had produced points on that final drive of the first half, we may be looking at the blown ‘in the grasp’ call very differently. Assuming it’s called correctly, the Patriots have an incredibly short field and would have likely scored quickly. That would set the Chiefs up for a two-minute drill, their bread and butter. It likely would have jump started their offense a quarter earlier than they really got going. But because they were able to drive the whole field, the Patriots were able to take five and a half minutes off the clock and essentially steal a possession away from Patrick Mahomes. Again though, that all became null and void when they came away with no points.
4. The Patriots defense held the Chiefs to 323 total yards, far and away their lowest total of the season. You have to go back to Week 13 of last season to find the last time the Chiefs were that stagnant on offense.
5. In net another example of ‘complementary football,’ the Patriots offense was one of its best defensive weapons Monday night. Their clock-killing marches resulted in a sizable play differential. New England ran 75 offensive snaps during the game, while Kansas City was limited to just 56. The best way to stop Patrick Mahomes? Keep him off the field.
6. Another weapon for the Patriots defense against the Chiefs? Jake Bailey. The second-year punter was magnificent, with all three of his punts downing the Chiefs inside the 20 yard line. He combined that precision with power, averaging over 50 yards a punt. On the season, Bailey leads in the NFL in percentage of punts downed inside the 20, and has done so without a single touchback.
7. Isaiah Zuber continues to see his stock rise in Foxborough. Elevated from the practice squad for the second-straight game, Zuber seemingly took Jakobi Meyers’ roster spot. Even though he only got one touch, he again showed a rare combination of speed and quickness. He still have one temporary elevation left, so we likely haven’t seen the last of him this year.
8. Take out Joe Thuney, and Monday night’s offensive line had a combined 14 career starts. That’s less than a full season, between four players. And 23-year-old elder statesman Isaiah Wynn had 11 of those 14. With all that inexperience, the group managed to play exceptionally well. They committed just one penalty (albeit at the worst possible time) and paved the way for 183 rushing yards.
9. Through four weeks J.J. Taylor’s stock was higher than any rookie Patriots running back in recent history. So some may be surprised to realize he didn’t see a single snap on Monday night despite being active. It’s likely not a coincidence this coincided with Damien Harris’ return from IR. Looks like with Harris back in the fold, Taylor’s opportunities could become few and far between in the coming weeks.
10. Is Chase Winovich the best player in the Patriots front seven? Probably, yeah. Wino recorded a sack in his third straight game Monday night, and was disruptive against the run and pass more often than not. He looks like he’s on the path to become a cornerstone defensive player.
11. Isaiah Wynn seemed to be limping for some of the second half of the game (he was on the injury report all week), but never came off the field. Outside of that, the game was relatively incident free (injury wise) for the Patriots.
12. Monday night’s game was the Patriots first four-turnover performance since December 16, 2012. Under Belichick, they’re now 3-16 when turning the ball over four or more times.
13. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots are now 19-9 when playing on Monday night.
14. Jarrett Stidham threw his first career touchdown pass to N’Keal Harry. Not necessarily a take, but something to bookmark for trivia down the road.
15. The CBS broadcast was rough last night. We didn’t get the usual wisdom or in-the-moment predictions from Tony Romo. I guess the Patriots offense is just harder to read this year.
16. Next week could end up being a battle of ‘hidden gem’ quarterbacks, with fourth rounder Jarrett Stidham facing off against Denver’s Brett Rypien. Some Broncos fans view Rypien (Mark’s nephew) similar to the way Stidham is viewed in these parts, especially after his semi-impressive performance on Thursday Night Football last week.