In one of the worst losses of the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots were dominated on both sides of the ball Monday night in Kansas City, as the Chiefs crushed New England, 41-14.

The Patriots were absolutely manhandled in dropping a xxx decision to the Chiefs Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

There was plenty of blame to go around. Exactly how should it be distributed?

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Blog Author: 
WEEI
Tom Brady and the Patriots were crushed Monday night. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots were crushed Monday night. (Getty Images)

In one of the worst losses of the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots were dominated on both sides of the ball Monday night in Kansas City, as the Chiefs crushed New England, 41-14.

On defense, the Patriots provided little resistance against Alex Smith and the Chiefs — the Kansas City quarterback had few issues shredding the New England defense. Over the first two quarters (the only sequence of the game where the score was in doubt), the Patriots were gashed for 303 yards, including, 131 rushing yards on 17 carries (7.7 yards per carry). Smith ended 20-for-26 for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, New England was unable to generate any sort of offensive consistency, as Tom Brady was yanked in the fourth quarter after going 14-for-23 for 159 yards with one touchdown and a pair of picks. Brandon LaFell was the only offensive skill position player who was worth mentioning on the night, and he ended with six catches for 119 yards and a touchdown.

Here’s what we learned about the Patriots Monday night.

– Tom Brady deserves all the criticism he will receive for this one.

You could blame some of the other hideous performances over last couple of years on new receivers, offensive line or bad matchups. On Monday against the Chiefs, he was pretty brutal with some bad throws, delivering one pick right into the hands of Kansas City Sean Smith early in the second half and throwing another ugly pick in the fourth quarter straight down the middle of the field — his final throw of the night. The picks were the first of the year for Brady, who was also strip-sacked by Tamba Hali in the second half.

– This offensive line combination isn’t much better than what we saw through the first three games.

The Patriots shuffled things up up front going into the game, moving rookie Bryan Stork into the starting role at center and doing some work at other spots in the interior. While the Patriots appeared to get some good work in pass protection, there was not much good about the rest of the performance. Tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder were in and out of the game throughout the night, and the Patriots did the same along the interior.

– Logan Ryan has had better nights.

It’s probably unfair to pick on the second-year cornerback out of Rutgers, but he pretty much exemplifies the struggles of the young defensive backs. At first glance (and it needs to be looked at again on film), it looked like the Chiefs picked on Ryan throughout the first half. It wasn’t coincidental that he was yanked in favor of rookie Malcolm Butler. At the end of the first half, he took his fifth penalty of the season (tops on the team) that led to a Chiefs field goal. This week, the Patriots are expected to welcome back — expect a serious dip in playing time for Ryan as a result.

– It’s easy to run at Chandler Jones.

The defensive end had a good start with a nice sack of Smith on the first series, but the Syracuse product disappeared for most of the rest of the evening. The Chiefs appeared to have good success running at him for much of the night. It’s probably unfair to pick on Jones, as he was just one of a collective group of defensive line who were blown off the ball for much of the evening.

– There are some real hard questions looming for Josh McDaniels.

The Patriots decided to go into the game with just four wide receivers after decided that Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins should both be a healthy scratch. With five backs (including James Develin) against one of the softest run defenses in the league, New England came out wide and started to throw the ball. The play-calling was certainly suspect at best in the early going — the decision not to go for in on 4th and 2 at midfield twice in the first half with the game still in doubt was a missed opportunity to make a statement. The fact that the Patriots fell behind early turned them into a one-dimensional team that was incapable of developing any sort of offensive rhythm.

– The punt team was maybe the best and most consistent unit all night.

Matt Slater had a pair of really nice open field tackles (one in the first half and one in the second half), and punter Ryan Allen did more than enough to tilt the field for the Patriots throughout the evening. Problem was it really didn’t do much for the New England defense, who failed to provide much resistance all night.

– Brandon LaFell had his moment Monday evening.

In the best game of his New England career to this point, the former Panthers wideout ended up with a 14-yard pickup in the first half, and a 44-yard touchdown catch that featured a nice display of yards after catch at the end of the play to make it 27-7 late in the third quarter. (The first second-half touchdown of the year for the Patriots.) The receiver was the only one who showed himself to be a dependable target throughout the contest, and despite the fact that he was ineffective as a pass catcher for the first three games, had a nice outing against the Chiefs.

– There was a certain amount of deja vu.

The 2013 Patriots were able to make their bones as a mentally tough team that routinely bounced back after rough starts, including coming back from a 21-point deficit in a dramatic regular-season win over the Broncos. There was none of that fight from New England Monday against the Chiefs, a embarrassing loss that sparked memories of the 2009 road trip that included shameful back-to-back losses at New Orleans and Miami, a double-dip that provoked quarterback Tom Brady to offer the ultimate indictment of that year’s team following the loss in Miami: ‘€When things don’€™t go your way you have to fight back — that’€™s a challenge for all of us,’€ Brady said after that defeat. ‘€œI think at times we do. And at times I don’€™t think we fight very hard.” That’s not too far removed from where we are at this point.

– There will be a lot of come-to-Jesus talks this week around Foxboro.

The 2013 Patriots made their bones with gut-check performances in the second half throughout the season, distinguishing themselves as one of the more mentally tough teams of the Bill Belichick era. There was none of that Monday night in Kansas City, as New England dug a sizable hole in the first half and never managed to fight its way out. Things get no easier for the Patriots this week, as they face the 3-0 Bengals this weekend at Gillette Stadium. A short week will provide no comfort for this team, which will be tested again by Cincinnati.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Alex Smith and the Chiefs have dominated the first half. (Getty Images)

Alex Smith and the Chiefs have dominated the first half. (Getty Images)

The Chiefs have dominated the first two quarters against the Patriots, and hold a 17-0 lead.

Tom Brady is 9-for-15 for 72 yards, while Stevan Ridley has three carries for 15 yards and Brandon LaFell has three catches for 28 yards.

Meanwhile, Alex Smith is 14-for-17 for 180 yards and one touchdown, Jamaal Charles has 10 carries for 58 yards and Dwayne Bowe has five catches for 81 yards.

Here are a couple of quick notes.

– The Patriots got off to another sluggish start on offense, running just seven plays in the first quarter and coming away with one first down. Meanwhile, on their second series, the Chiefs offense had a really sharp 11-play drive that went 73 yards and consumed 5:58. It ended with a 2-yard run from Charles right up the gut, the first touchdown the Patriots have yielded since they allowed a first-quarter touchdown on Sept. 14 against the Vikings.

– The Patriots were faced with a 4th and (about) 2, but decided to punt the ball away — a mistake, given the fact that New England needed to gain some sort of offensive traction. (Faced with a similar situation on their next drive — a 4th and 2 at midfield — the Patriots punted again. Another mistake.) The Chiefs took the ball back and seized control of the action with a quick-strike drive that included a 48-yard run up the gut from Knile Davis, and ended with a 5-yard pass from Smith to Charles that made it 14-0 with just over 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

– For the Patriots, the two best offensive plays of the first half were a 14-yard pickup by LaFell, and an 18-yard pass play to Gronkowski. But they were few and far between.

– Chandler Jones had the big defensive play early on for the Patriots, helping put the Chiefs into an early hole and leading (indirectly) to a punt three plays later. Jones was not much of a presence the rest of the way for New England, as Kansas City left tackle Eric Fisher pretty much handled him the rest of the way, and was regularly shoved out of the way when it came to the Kansas City running game.

– Marcus Cannon was inserted at right tackle midway through the second quarter in place of Sebastian Vollmer, while Chandler Jones was also lifted in the second briefly for Michael Buchanan. (Jones was back on the field four plays later.) Meanwhile, Vollmer didn’t appear to be injured, as he was spotted standing on the sidelines with no medical staffers around him.

– When it came to special teams, Matthew Slater had a terrific open-field tackle on punt coverage in the first quarter, dropping returner Frankie Hammond in the open field for no gain. But, Julian Edelman was crushed when he failed to call a fair catch on a second-quarter punt return.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Live Blog Patriots at Chiefs Monday Night Football Live Blog
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI

The Patriots released their inactive players for Monday night’s game against the Chiefs in Kansas City. They are: wide receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, offensive linemen Jordan Devey and Josh Kline, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, defensive end Zach Moore and defensive lineman Casey Walker.

The Patriots released their inactive players for Monday night’s game against the Chiefs in Kansas City. They are: wide receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, offensive linemen Jordan Devey and Josh Kline, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, defensive end Zach Moore and defensive lineman Casey Walker.

Rookie running back James White will be active for the first time this season.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

The Patriots are expected to shake up the offensive line on Monday night, moving rookie Bryan Stork to the role of starting center, while installing another rookie — Cameron Fleming — at right guard and slotting the versatile Dan Connolly at the other guard position.

Meanwhile, Marcus Cannon and Jordan Devey, who have seen the bulk of the work at guard for the first three games, will apparently sit, at least for now. In addition, Ryan Wendell will move to a backup role. The moves come in the wake of some struggles up front over the course of the first three games of the season, a stretch where the team has had issues when it comes to pass protection.

Stork, who stepped in at center in the late stages of last week’€™s win over the Raiders, arrives at the NFL level with a peerless resume, having played some guard before moving to the pivot, where he eventually won the Rimington Award last year as college football’€™s best center. A captain and three-year starter at Florida State, he was a part of last season’€™s national championship team.

“€œHe’€™€™s really a football guy; loves football, works really hard at football,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Stork on Saturday. “He wants to be a football player and he’€™€™s dedicated himself to it; all those qualities that you love in any player but especially an offensive linemen. He’€™€™s got strength; he’€™€™s got a good frame for a center. He’€™€™s got good length and height. He played in a good program, he’€™€™s well coached, pretty good fundamental player. I thought he was as good as any center that we saw this year, the last couple years.”

Fleming played right tackle over the course of his career at Stanford — he said he got some work at right guard in college “as a joke” — but took some reps at right guard this week in practice. In his relatively brief NFL career, he has shown himself to be a steady and dependable blocker, mostly working as an extra tight end/tackle eligible in running situations.

As for Wendell, he could be in the mix now to serve as a backup at either guard or center going forward.

“He’€™€™s played both for us,”€ Belichick said of Wendell, who has fundamentally been the starting center in New England since 2012. ‘€œRyan’€™€™s a really smart player. He’€™€™s one of the smartest players that we have, that we’€™€™ve had. He really understands everything that we’€™€™re doing, including all the communication with the quarterback and so forth.”

The news was first reported by Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Zach Moore

Zach Moore

The Patriots will announce their inactives 90 minutes before kickoff on Monday night, but based on what we’€™ve seen this week and the matchup on Monday, here’€™s our guess as to which seven players might be inactive:

Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard — The third-year corner was downgraded Sunday night — expect Logan Ryan to get the bulk of the snaps in his place.

Running back James White — Unless there’s a major injury in the backfield, the rookie out of Wisconsin appears to be a ticketed for a redshirt year.

Safety Don Jones — Jones, who was signed earlier this month, was listed as probable on Saturday’s injury report, as he’s been nagged by a hamstring issue that kept him out of last Sunday’s game against the Raiders.

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell — The Patriots have a surplus of wide receivers — Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thomplins have each taken at least one health scratch over the course of the first two weeks. From this viewpoint, it’s no disrespect intended toward Lafell — he’s just the one who drew the short straw this week.

Defensive end Zach Moore — Now that second-year defensive end Michael Buchanan is back to full health, the rookie out of Concordia appears to be the odd man out, at least at this point.

Offensive lineman Dan Connolly — The veteran was limited over the course of the week with a knee issue, and with Bill Belichick talking up both Ryan Wendell and Bryan Stork on Saturday, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Patriots sit Connolly for a week.

Defensive lineman Casey Walker — Walker, who was signed off the Panthers practice squad on Saturday following the announcement that Sealver Siliga was placed on short-term IR, will almost certainly take a seat for Monday’s game against the Chiefs as he literally just showed up.

Here’€™s a look at the inactives over the first three weeks of the season:

Week 1
DE Michael Buchanan
WR Aaron Dobson
LB Darius Fleming
DT Chris Jones
G Josh Kline
C Bryan Stork
RB James White

Week 2
DE Michael Buchanan
LB Jamie Collins
CB Alfonzo Dennard
DE Zach Moore
WR Kenbrell Thompkins
C Ryan Wendell
RB James White

Week 3
WR Aaron Dobson
CB Alfonzo Dennard
OL Ryan Wendell
OL Josh Kline
DE Zach Moore
RB James White
S Don Jones

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The NFL finishes its first quarter Monday night with the Patriots-Chiefs game in Kansas City. And a common complaint from New England has been: "We don't know who the Patriots are so far!"



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