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Random Thoughts: Patriots at Chiefs

There wasn't much to be happy about after the Patriots 41-14 defeat in Kansas City.

Here are some random thoughts from the Patriots 41-14 loss in Kansas City:

Run deficiency – Chandler Jones got off to a quick start with a tackle for loss and a sack on the Chiefs first possession but things quickly went downhill from there. Kansas City blatantly went after Jones in the run game from there and had tremendous success. Several Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis runs went to the offensive left, right at the undersized Jones, who was once again manning the defensive end spot in New England's 3-4. With Sealver Siliga out of action for a while with a foot injury, the Patriots are once again a bit light up front with only Vince Wilfork possessing legitimate size for the 3-4. The Patriots will need to make some adjustments up front in the coming weeks.


Lone bright spot –** Brandon LaFell came up with a 44-yard touchdown catch after the outcome had been decided but it was a play he made in the first half that stood out. Facing a third-and-four early in the second quarter and a fierce Kansas City blitz, LaFell and Tom Brady were on the same page and read the play perfectly. LaFell recognized he was the hot receiver on the play and Brady hit him for 14 yards and a first down. It was the kind of subtle read that Brady needs to see from his receivers in order to give them more opportunities, even if it happened in such a lopsided affair.

Reshuffling up front – The Patriots made wholesale changes along the offensive line as Dan Connolly moved from center to left guard while rookie Bryan Stork (center) and Cameron Fleming (right guard) made their first career starts. Marcus Cannon and Jordan Devey were replaced and Devey was actually inactive. Cannon subbed in at both tackle spots for Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder, and later in the game Ryan Wendell saw action at left guard. Clearly the starting jobs are very much in flux, and the bottom line is the protection wasn't all that much better than it has been. Brady was able to get off some early throws with quick screens and other short drops but eventually the Chiefs came up with a pair of strip sacks and Brady finished the game on the bench.

Defense exposed – During the first three weeks of the season the Patriots defense generated a lot of excitement in New England, particularly during the past two weeks. The Chiefs put a stop to that at least for the week, lending credence to the theory that Minnesota and Oakland had more to do with the stellar numbers than anything the defense itself was doing. 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.

Lone bright spot II – Can you have two lone bright spots? Hey, when you lose 41-14 you take any good news you can get. Matthew Slater's work on special teams was simply outstanding. He had a pair of remarkable stops in punt coverage, burying Frankie Hammond immediately each time. An argument could be made that Slater and kicker Stephen Gostkowski have been among the Patriots best five players thus far this season.

Tricky Bill – The Patriots appeared ready to go for a fourth-and-two late in the second quarter after first sending the punt team on the field before rushing the offense back into the game. The move forced Kansas City's Andy Reid to burn a timeout but accomplished little else. The ball was at the Kansas City 46 at the time so going for it wouldn't have been out of the question, but Belichick's decision to try to trick the Chiefs seemed like an example of too much thinking. I'd rather see the offense stay on the field, line up and try to simply pick up the first down rather than hoping the opponents gets caught sleeping. It turned out to be a non-factor in the end.

Extra points – Despite struggling through another less-than-dominant performance, Rob Gronkowski found the end zone for the third time this season. It was the 45th touchdown reception of his career, and obviously the first from rookie Jimmy Garoppolo. It was also the 54th consecutive game that Gronkowski recorded at least one catch. … Rookie James White was active for the first time this season and picked up 21 yards on three carries and added three receptions for 15 yards. … According to ESPN, the game marked just the third time in Brady's career in which he faced a deficit of 27 or more points. The other two came in defeats against Buffalo in 2003 and San Francisco in 2012.

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