The New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs during Monday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday, September 29, 2014.
A month into the new season Bill Belichick's Patriots are a surprisingly-disappointing 2-2 team following Monday night's flat-line loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City.
While the offense had been in the cross-hairs of criticism in recent weeks, the latest loss came as the New England defense was put on its heels by Alex Smith and the Chiefs. The home squad put up more than 300 yards in the first half alone, the first time a Belichick defense has allowed that plateau in a half in his time with the Patriots. That led to a 17-0 deficit that ballooned into a 41-14 blowout.
It was ugly on both sides of the ball as the Patriots couldn't make anything happen on offense or do much to slow the Chiefs on defense.
At the quarter pole of the season New England is a .500 team that's played pretty poorly in a lot of areas on the way to a mediocre start. There's plenty of work on and few things to build on coming out of a Monday nightmare in Kansas City.
Here's the rundown of the personnel highs and lows from the disappointing trip to Kansas City:
Matthew Slater** – In a game lacking success on either side of the ball, the Pro Bowl special teamer Slater continued to wow with his tackling on punts. He had one tackle for no-gain. Another for barely a 3-yard return. Slater has been one of the best players on the field for four games, at least in terms of his role on special teams.
Brandon LaFell – The first-year Patriot receiver looked a bit more active in the offense and hit New England's play of the game on his 44-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the third quarter to avoid the shutout. He added another long catch-and-run later from Jimmy Garoppolo to finish with six catches for 119 yards. Maybe that's a springboard for his role in the offense?
Bryan Stork – The rookie center made his first NFL start in a hostile environment in which the crowd broke the Guinness record for outdoor noise and didn't exactly wilt under the pressure. While the line wasn't dominant by any means, it didn't fall apart any more than previous weeks with the youngster in the middle.
Nate Solder – 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. Solder even spent some time on the bench in the second half.
Logan Ryan – The second-year cornerback couldn't tackle in Kansas City. He struggled to cover. And he drew a penalty late in the half that drew the ire of Belichick. Ryan's been struggling with his tackling since the summer, and with Brandon Browner set to come off suspension this week the young corner's reps could be in line for a major reduction. This comes after Ryan was seemingly benched in favor of Malcolm Butler in the second half in Kansas City.
Chandler Jones – Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs ran right at Jones in his spot trying to set the right edge of the Patriots defense. Jones had a couple nice plays early, including a sack, but overall the Kansas City offense took it to the Patriots third-year defensive playmaker who was pushed around and turned by Chiefs blockers all too often.
What do you think of our list? Others who should be included? Let us know with a comment below!