FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – If you're looking for nuts-and-bolts coverage of the Patriots' 23-16 loss in Week 14 to Kansas City, you've come to the right place, here on patriots.com.
There are also plenty of opinions circulating throughout the football world this Monday, following New England's second consecutive defeat and first one at Gillette in quite some time.
A Boston Globe writer flat-out states that the Patriots are no longer the AFC's dominant team.
"It's a strange day in the NFL. The Patriots are offensively deficient. They're the ones getting jobbed and robbed [by the officiating crew]. They don't have the inside track for home field… This loss shows just how narrow the path to playoff victory is for the Patriots," he writes.
Across town in the Boston Herald, you'll find a critical take on the offense and QB Tom Brady.
"Brady can no longer will this offense to score points when it has to produce," the author declares. "He can no longer deliver the Patriots when the defense has one bad half, and one good half. This offense went 2-for-12 on third down, and 1-for-3 in the red zone against the Chiefs during Sunday's 23-16 loss.
"Blame the officials all you want, and they certainly deserve blame for botching calls that impacted the outcome. But the Patriots still had their chances to tie the game, or even win the game, but couldn't put the ball in the end zone."
A Providence Journal columnist agrees that New England needs to look in the mirror to find fault.
"The talk in New England over the next few days will focus on the officials and the blown calls. Maybe this game will forever end the false narrative that the NFL is always in [Bill] Belichick's back pocket.
"But the real talk should spotlight just where this team is… The Patriots aren't likely to enter [the playoffs] as the favorites. That mantle belongs to the Ravens, and maybe even the Chiefs. Until this team's offense perks up, the Patriots will continue to need huge plays from special teams and on defense to beat good teams. That's a dangerous football road to travel."
If New England is looking for immediate help offensively, the services of a certain 31-year-old pass catcher are NOT an option, according to unspecified ESPN sources.
However, there are just as many positive Patriots forecasts to be found amongst the pigskin pundits this Monday.
Take this, for example, from The Athletic website:
"To look at Sunday's loss to the Chiefs as a jumping-off point to the annual declaration that it's all over, that the dynasty is dead, that Tom Brady is too old and spent to handle the rigors of big-boy football… would be a huge mistake," the writer warns.
"This doesn't mean the Patriots are going to magically return to the days of scoring a ton of points and wiping up the opposition. If the Patriots are to return to the Super Bowl it's going to take a massive showing by the defense and an offense that can summon creativity in the absence of old-fashioned thunder."
An NBC Sports Boston analyst also offers this ray of hope:
"It's still there and it's what will define this season no matter where it leads, how it ends and what happens after. The [Patriots'] refusal to tap out," he observes in a lengthy column.
"And that's why there was no grave-dancing from the Chiefs after they knocked off the Patriots at home, 23-16… Because even when the Patriots look dead, you're wary they may just be sleeping."
Finally today, kicker Nick Folk's sudden, unexpected ordeal with appendicitis. Just 10 days removed from surgery, he kicked for New England yesterday, then spoke to reporters afterward about his unplanned experience. NESN posted a brief blog entry on its website.
"It was some of the worst pain I've ever felt in my life," Folk remarked, "and I'm just happy I caught it before it burst because at that point they said it would be a long recovery. Just happy that it happened how it happened, but I'm also upset because I missed last week, obviously."