Official website of the New England Patriots

replay
Patriots Replay Tue Jan 21 | 02:00 PM - 11:59 PM

After Further Review: Patriots can't walk their narrow path to victory this time

20191209-AfterFurtherReview-PDC

First Quarter

-The Patriots came out leaning into their two tight-end personnel, something they've only run about seven percent of the snaps this season. Now with Matt LaCosse and Ben Watson healthy and putting a string of games together there was an obvious effort to incorporate them more. LaCosse played 81 percent of the snaps, his second-highest total of the season (Washington - 94 percent). They'd get into more 11 personnel as they fell behind but still ran almost half their snaps with two tight ends on the field.

-After getting two pass interference calls that prevented punts, the offense didn't wait to break out a flea flicker which worked to perfection, going 37 yards for the touchdown. Given how the Patriots have played after an early lead vs an early hole, it shouldn't be a surprise they aggressively went after the first score.

-The good start would continue as the defense grabbed an interception on their first third down. J.C. Jackson was in perfect position as he and Jonathan Jones had Robinson bracketed. Not sure what Mahomes saw there as there wasn't much pressure on him.

-Sony Michel had no success early on and didn't see the field again after another bad start. After the interception he didn't have much chance on a first down run as James Ferentz was put on roller skates into the backfield.

-After a Brady sack on second down that saw a Chiefs linebacker power through Michel's block, Shaq Mason was quickly beat by Chris Jones forcing a third-down incompletion with two running backs (White and Burkhead) on the field. The Patriots inability to take advantage of the quick takeaway and chance to go up two scores less than five minutes of the game was symptomatic of a lot of their problems this season.

-The Chiefs would get on the board with a field goal on their second drive, powered by the passing attack as the Patriots defense struggled to disrupt Patrick Mahomes. A Chiefs holding penalty helped set the drive back.

-It wasn't a dominant drive but the Patriots third possession saw them move the ball from their own 22 to Kansas City's 23. James Ferentz runs well for a center but is undersized and is often easily controlled. But he's the third-string center and the other offensive linemen, who are the chosen starters this year, don't have the same excuse for their inconsistencies.

-The blocked field goal came from pressure between Marshall Newhouse and Marcus Cannon as Kpassagnon split them. It was an uncharacteristic special teams breakdown and the first time on this night the Pats would lose points from the board.

Second Quarter

-After an impressive Dietrich Wise sack the Patriots gave up a conversion on 3rd-and-19 to Tyreek Hill with Jonathan Jones in coverage. Of all the plays the Patriots might want to have back this was a big one. Two plays later Mahomes would find Hardman for a 48-yard touchdown on 2nd-and-25 and the Chiefs would never trail again.

-The touchdown was a great throw by Mahomes with pressure right in his face. Jones again was in coverage and fell down after the catch. Duron Harmon compounded the problem by having a bad angle on the speedy Hardman and was unable to stop him from running into the end zone. It was a frustrating sequence as sacks and penalties should've gotten the Patriots off the field, instead the relinquished the lead with big plays.

- It got worse when Tom Brady threw an interception targeting LaCosse on the very first play of the Patriots next possession. It was a great read by the KC corner Breeland, as LaCosse had beaten the linebacker covering him, but Breeland dropped off of Edelman and jumped the route.

-The Chiefs would get another big play to Travis Kelce with the Patriots in Cover 2 Zone. Van Noy stepped up to disrupt Hill's crossing route but in doing opened the zone for Kelce. The mistake was compounded when Van Noy failed to tag Kelce down and allowing him an extra 10 yards.

-Kelce would take a direct snap into the end zone three plays later from a wildcat, inverted wishbone formation. Teams continue to put special plays and packages in for the Patriots in the red zone and this one worked. Jamie Collins biting on the play fake moved him over enough to be blocked as Danny Shelton was sealed and John Simon couldn't get there from the backside.

-After spending most of the first quarter-plus running two tight end sets, the offense shifted to three wide receivers and it produced two nice plays -- a 19-yard run by James White and a 18-yard pass to Edelman that moved Edelman past Troy Brown into fourth place all time in team receptions. They'd stall out as the Chiefs began to bring more pressure that the offensive line couldn't pick up long enough for Brady to complete a pass.

-The Patriots defense would force their first punt of the game and the offense went right to back-to-back unsuccessful screen passes that went nowhere. It was a disappointing three-and-out that left too much time on the clock.

-The Chiefs offense got the ball back with just under three minutes in the half and would put together one of their better drives, moving down the field in chunk plays, including passes of 19, 12 and 16 yards. A lot of the yardage was picked up after the catch. The Patriots defense would button up, holding KC to a field goal.

Third Quarter

-The Patriots defense would give up their final three points of the game on the opening drive of the second half, another bend don't break drive that lasted 11 plays but went just 52 yards.

-After a Patriots three-and-out, the defense had a really good attacking possession. The front picked up their disruption of Mahomes in the second half and it made a big difference.

-The Patriots began to make a run off of Nate Ebner's blocked punt. Ebner came right up the middle, making a game-changing play. Once again it was the special teams giving the team a needed spark. Two plays later they would score on another Brandon Bolden jet sweep.

-The two-point conversion would fail on a hand off to White though, as the right side of the line, including Mason, Cannon and LaCosse were unable to open up a hole. Last year the Pats had success on critical goal line runs against the Chiefs but this is a much different point of attack crew than last year's.

-Sammy Watkins was stopped short of the 39-yard-line but the ball was marked at the 40 and the play was upheld under review, starting the stretch of game-deciding head scratchers from the officials.

-Devin McCourty's forced fumble was the second big play by the defense/special teams in the quarter but of course it was initially missed and blown dead by the refs costing the Patriots significant field position and perhaps even a defensive scoop and score.

Fourth Quarter

-Yes the officials blew N'Keal Harry's touchdown which was clearly not out of bounds. It was a great effort from Harry to make a tough catch then power through three defenders to get in for what should've been a touchdown that made it a three-point game. Harry barely played in the game but this was a good play that should be considered a positive building block despite the fact that it didn't count.

-Still, with a first-and-goal from three the Pats offense couldn't get in. It started with a stuffed outside run by James White, then a drop by Jakobi Meyers in the end zone. Brady looked to the rookie in some key spots and aside from a drawn penalty he had two bad drops and just one catch on the night off a halfback pass from White.

-On third down Marcus Cannon was overpowered, forcing pressure on Brady and a sack. Cannon is still recovering from an illness that hit him over two weeks ago, but his season hasn't been a very good one.

-The defense would respond with another three and out and on the punt the Patriots wouldn't line up a returner, overloading the line and going all out for the block. They just barely missed it and paid for it with a favorable roll on the punt that set the offense back to their own 20. It was an aggressive gamble that didn't pay off.

-After the Patriots moved the ball 30 yards and punted, the defense would give it back to them with a nice three-and-out in crunch time. Gone were the explosive downfield plays, instead the defense forced the Chiefs to try horizontal plays that they couldn't break.

-The offense got things going with another gadget play, this time a halfback pass by White to Meyers that went 35 yards and set the Pats up at the KC 33. It would take a 17-yard scramble by Brady on fourth down to keep things alive and then a nine-yard psas to Edelman set up the final fourth-down play of the game from the Chiefs five-yard-line.

-There was no doubt this play was going to Julian Edelman but Breeland did a great job to navigate traffic and defend the pass. Game over.

-There were no new revelations about the 2019 Patriots in this game. The defense and special teams made big plays but they were not enough. The offense's red zone failure at the end of the game has been a season-long problem. They might be able to overcome their continuing weaknesses but it's a narrow path to victory and one that requires opponent turnovers.

Personnel Packages

Offense

  • 11 personnel - 31 snaps
  • 12 personnel - 26 snaps
  • 10 personnel - 5 snaps
  • 20 personnel - 1 snap
  • 22 personnel - 1 snap

Defense

  • 2-3-6 - 30 snaps
  • 1-4-6 - 16 snaps
  • 2-2-7 - 7 snaps
  • 2-4-5 - 7 snaps
  • 3-3-5 - 5 snaps
  • 1-3-7 - 4 snaps

Related Content

Advertising