After a turbulent start to the 2014 NFL Season, the New England Patriots gained momentum and eventually became the top team in the AFC. Let's start at the beginning and see how the Patriots got here.
GAME 1: PATRIOTS AT DOLPHINS
FINAL SCORE: DOLPHINS 33, PATRIOTS 20
The Mankins trade received much more attention than the Tommy Kelly release, and his presence was also sorely missed in Miami. The offensive line featured a couple of different looks and neither did an effective job opening holes in the running game or protecting Tom Brady. Mankins may have been slipping in recent years, but like Kelly, his presence certainly would have been an improvement over what was left behind. - Paul Perillo More>>
It's not that Revis was horrible. It's just that the expectations for the greatest free agent addition in Patriots history, a Hall of Fame talent in the middle of his prime, were much higher. Revis trailed Mike Wallace too often. *- Andy Hart *More>>
The front seven, an undersized 3-4 base with Chandler Jones playing right end, got pushed around to the tune of 191 yards on the ground, the bulk of which came from running back Knowshon Moreno. Missed tackles, many by Collins, also hurt the defense and sustained Miami drives. - Erik Scalavino More>>
Team photographer, David Silverman, offers his best photos from the Patriots game against the Dolphins on Sunday, September 7, 2014.
GAME 2: PATRIOTS AT VIKINGS
FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 30, VIKINGS 7
The offensive line was overrun for much of the opener but on Sunday the group was much better at keeping Tom Brady on his feet. That was particularly evident in the play off the edges. Everson Griffen and Brian Robison are capable pass rushers and they were kept at bay by Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, respectively. - Paul Perillo MORE>>
The Patriots came out looking to establish the run and create play-action passing chances. Ridley was the lead dog in the plan finishing with 25 carries for 101 yards and a hard-fought 1-yard touchdown. Ridley's numbers didn't look great in the first half when he had 29 yards on 11 attempts, but even then he'd run well and seemingly maximized the yards in front of him. - Andy Hart MORE>>
The absence of Adrian Peterson certainly affected how the Vikings were able to operate against New England's amorphous defense. Without their star ball carrier – deactivated because of domestic violence charges that came to light this past week – Minnesota rushed for a net of 6 yards in the first quarter and 41 by halftime. - Erik Scalavino MORE>>
Team photographer, Keith Nordstrom offers his best photos from the Patriots game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, September 14, 2014.
GAME 3: RAIDERS AT PATRIOTS
FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 16, RAIDERS 9
Linebacker Don't'a Hightower continued his impressive start to the season. He appears more and more comfortable operating around the line of scrimmage, which is something he spoke a lot about during the offseason. - Paul Perillo MORE>>
The Patriots have scored a sum total of 12 points in the second half of three games this season. New England has yet to score a touchdown after halftime this fall. A team that's been known for its in-game and halftime adjustments just hasn't been able to muster much up after the break. The Patriots have tallied a total of 41 net yards on three drives coming out of halftime this season – two punts and a fumble. - Andy Hart MORE>>
New England had virtually no pass rush against Carr, allowing the youngster to stand in the pocket and complete passes. Carr was far from perfect, but there he was, late in the fourth quarter, driving his team to a potential tying touchdown – in fact, they scored it with about a minute to go, but it was nullified by a holding penalty. - Erik Scalavino MORE>>
GAME 4: PATRIOTS AT CHIEFS
FINAL SCORE: CHIEFS 41, PATRIOTS 14
Kansas City racked up 303 yards of total offense in the first half alone, the most allowed by the Patriots under Bill Belichick. The Chiefs were able to run and pass with equal efficiency, exposing the light defensive front and a secondary that has feasted on overmatched opponents. - Paul Perillo MORE>>
Putting Dan Connolly at left guard didn't fix all that ails Solder. The fourth-year tackle gave up the edge with regularity once again, including a strip sack by Tamba Hali in the third quarter. Solder is supposed to be the Pro Bowl young talent on the line, but he's struggled mightily over the first four games of the season. - Andy Hart MORE>>
Against the Chiefs Monday night, the Patriots made more much-needed changes, inserting rookie Bryan Stork at center and fellow 2014 draft choice Cameron Fleming at right guard. Co-captain Dan Connolly, who'd played at both center and right guard this season, started at left guard. - Erik Scalavino MORE>>
Team photographer, David Silverman, offers his best photos from the Patriots game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, September 29, 2014.