1. Second half defense – After giving up 20 points in the first half, the defense allowed just three points for the remainder of the game. This group has been terrific at adjusting all season long.
2. James White – White is the epitome of doing what whatever the coaches ask. The veteran running back rushed for 33 yards while adding 27 receiving yards, and he even completed a 35 yard pass to Jakobi Meyers in crunch time. White has been one of the lone bright spots among a struggling unit.
3. Nate Ebner – The Patriots have four blocked punts this season. Today's came from special teamer Nate Ebner in the third quarter. Two plays later, Brandon Bolden found his way into the end zone for a touchdown. Crucial plays on defense and special teams have been the story for the Patriots all season long and today was no different.
1. Officiating – The officiating crew played a major role in the outcome of the game particularly in the second half. In the third quarter, Patrick Mahomes looked to Travis Kelce down the right side. Kelce was tackled by Devin McCourty. The defensive back forced a fumble on the tackle. Stephon Gilmore scooped up the football and raced towards the end zone. The officials blew the whistle to stop the play and ruled Kelce down on contact. Upon review, it was clear that the ball was indeed fumbled. The whistles on the play halted Gilmore's run and perhaps cost the Patriots a touchdown or at minimum, field position deep in Kansas City territory. Later, Brady looked to N'Keal Harry down the left sideline. The rookie made a terrific catch on just his second snap of the game. After breaking tackles and making his way within diving distance of the goal line, he reached out over the pylon for the score. However, the officials ruled Harry out of bounds. The Patriots were out of challenges, and the play could not be reviewed. Once again, the call cost the Patriots a touchdown. The referee pool report, which can be found on Patriots.com, didn't do much to lessen the pain for Patriots fans.
2. Offense – The Patriots relied on pass interference calls and creativity to move the ball. On the first scoring drive of the game, two defensive pass interference calls put the Patriots in Chiefs territory. Then, a flea flicker from White set up a Brady to Julian Edelman touchdown. The Patriots were 2 for 12 on third down. The offense line struggled, and Brady was under pressure all night. In the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, Brady didn't have any options and was forced to run the ball himself. The 42-year-old quarterback galloped 17 yards before sliding safely to pick up a first down. Outside of Edelman and White there is little for Brady to work with.
3. Kicking unit – On Saturday, the Patriots signed back kicker Nick Folk after he underwent an appendectomy. On his first field goal attempt of the game, the kick was blocked by the Chiefs Tanoh Kpassagnon. It appeared that Kpassagnon broke through the gap between Marshall Newhouse and Marcus Cannon.