After a promising begin on offense, New England ran out of steam within the second half towards the Chiefs en path to a 27-17 loss at Gillette Stadium.
Regardless of some stretches of sturdy play on each side of the ball, a sluggish second half and a number of other expensive penalties at vital junctures of the sport restricted New England’s capacity to maintain up with the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Co.
The Patriots are actually 3-11 on the season, whereas the Chiefs are 9-5.
Listed here are a couple of early observations from Sunday’s loss in Foxborough:
Bailey Zappe begins sturdy … however fades down the stretch.
Has Bailey Zappe … mounted New England’s offense?
You may actually make the case — within the first half of video games.
After throwing three first-half touchdowns in New England’s street win over the Steelers on Dec. 7, New England’s second-year QB as soon as once more saved his group within the struggle within the first half of Sunday’s showdown towards the reigning Tremendous Bowl champions.
Zappe has developed a knack for beginning off sturdy since taking on as QB1 for New England. In his final two video games, Zappe has accomplished 31-of-40 move makes an attempt with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions within the first half.
New England trailed KC, 14-10, on the half. However Zappe couldn’t sustain his excessive stage of play as Sunday’s recreation progressed.
After KC padded their lead with a subject aim from Harrison Butker simply 4:31 into the third quarter, Zappe’s subsequent throw was simply snagged out of the air by Chiefs linebacker Willie Homosexual for a brutal interception.
Simply two performs later, Patrick Mahomes hit Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a six-yard landing to offer Kansas Metropolis a 24-10 lead.
It was a brutal sequence for a Patriots group that had little margin for error towards a group like Kansas Metropolis.
New England finally discovered the tip zone once more within the fourth quarter — with an interception from linebacker Jahlani Tavai setting the stage for an 18-yard dashing rating from Kevin Harris with 8:24 to go in regulation.
However by that time, it was too little, too late towards a Chiefs group that added to its lead all through the afternoon.
Regardless of their sturdy begin, Zappe and New England gained simply 57 complete yards on their eight drives of the second half. Zappe completed the sport 23-of-31 on move makes an attempt for 180 yards, one landing and one decide.
Zappe’s pocket poise and arm power have supplied a lot increased returns than what Mac Jones supplied throughout his prolonged reign as New England’s beginning QB.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t been sufficient to raise a Patriots offense nonetheless severely missing when it comes to expertise and execution.
Penalties loom giant
Regardless that New England did fade down the stretch of Sunday’s loss, a couple of brutal penalties restricted the Patriots’ capacity to construct some early respiration room.
New England’s second drive of the afternoon supplied loads of promise, with Zappe airing the ball out towards KC’s protection and marching 63 yards down the sphere. However after beginning a 1st-and-10 on the Chief’s 12-yard line, Demario Douglas was whistled for a facemask that put the Patriots again one other 15 yards.
The drive finally stalled out in irritating vogue when rookie Chad Ryland missed a 41-yard subject aim.
Within the second quarter, New England gained new life after Zappe hit Hunter Henry for a 16-yard landing off of a 4th-and-2 sequence.
On Kansas Metropolis’s subsequent offensive play, Mahomes was picked off by rookie Marte Mapu for the primary interception of his profession — giving New England one other drive that began on the Chiefs’ eight-yard line.
On a Third-and-3 play, Zappe evaded strain and hit Henry for an additional landing that will have given the Patriots a 14-7 edge — solely to have the rating get nullified by a holding penalty towards left deal with Conor McDermott. Ryland finally linked on a subject aim to cap off the drive, however New England nonetheless left 4 factors on the market on the sphere.
As has been the case all 12 months, Jabrill Peppers sparked some momentum for New England’s protection within the third quarter, recovering a fumble and bringing it to New England’s 41-yard line.
However Peppers’s turnover was shortly turned apart after nook Alex Austin was whistled for defensive holding, permitting KC’s drive to proceed. Butker finally linked on a 29-yard-field aim to offer the guests a 17-10 lead that will proceed to construct.
Accidents strike New England’s O-line
The damage bug stung New England as soon as once more on Sunday. Already with out beginning left deal with Trent Brown on Sunday attributable to sickness, the Patriots additionally misplaced their beginning left guard Cole Unusual halfway by means of the second quarter.
The Patriots’ second-year guard wanted to be carted off the sphere after struggling a knee damage — with each New England and Kansas Metropolis gamers kneeling round him earlier than he was shuttled off the sphere.
The Patriots instantly dominated Unusual out for the rest of the sport attributable to a knee problem. With Unusual out, rookie Atonio Mafi changed him at left guard for the rest of the sport.
Unusual, who missed many of the preseason attributable to a knee damage, was taking part in his finest stretch of the season earlier than happening along with his damage.
Within the fourth quarter, New England tabbed McDermott as questionable to return attributable to a head damage, prompting Vederian Lowe to step in at left deal with. McDermott didn’t return to the sport.
New England’s offensive line relinquished 4 sacks and 6 quarterback hits within the loss.
Particular-teams woes proceed
Many of the criticism doled out towards the 2023 Patriots has centered round their lackluster offense.
However New England’s special-teams unit — as soon as a pillar of power in Foxborough — has left an entire lot to be desired.
Brendan Schooler received New England began on the unsuitable foot, along with his team-leading fifth penalty of the season negating what was a 46-yard return from Jalen Reagor on the primary play of the afternoon. Because of this, New England needed to begin its opening drive by itself 13-yard-line en path to a 3-and-out.
As noted by 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Alex Barth, Schooler now has extra particular groups penalties this 12 months than each your complete Eagles (3) and Chargers (4) rosters.
To make issues worse, New England left factors on the board later within the first quarter after Ryland missed his 41-yard subject aim try within the fourth. Ryland has now solely made 13 of his 20 field-goal makes an attempt this season.
For these retaining observe, veteran kicker Nick People — who New England let go in favor of Ryland this preseason — entered Sunday afternoon with 26 made subject targets on 27 makes an attempt with the Titans.
A Swiftie Exhibiting
In fact, loads of the headlines drawn from Sunday’s showdown between the Patriots and Chiefs had little to do with what performed out on the sphere — however fairly, who was taking within the recreation from the posh suites.
After loads of rumors swirled all through the week, music celebrity Taylor Swift was in attendance for Sunday’s recreation to observe her boyfriend — Chiefs star tight finish Travis Kelce — play.
Swift drew a loud cheer from the Gillette Stadium crowd when she was proven on the videoboard within the second quarter.
Regardless of Swift’s look, Kelce didn’t find yourself doing all that a lot in Sunday’s win — catching 5 balls for simply 28 complete yards.
Odds and Ends
New England’s O-line was removed from the one phase of the roster that was crushed by accidents on Sunday. Particular-teams captain Matthew Slater frolicked within the medical tent within the third quarter after showing to injure his knee throughout a punt-return sequence.
He was later joined within the blue tent by tight finish Hunter Henry, who was sluggish to rise up on a number of events attributable to some low hits doled out by KC’s protection. Later within the fourth quarter, veteran linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley was banged up after a scrum close to the road of scrimmage, however later returned to the sport.
Henry — who was tabbed as questionable to return attributable to a knee ailment — completed the sport with seven catches for 66 yards and a landing in Sunday’s loss.
One factor value retaining tabs on postgame: Cornerback J.C. Jackson didn’t play a single snap on Sunday towards the Chiefs, despite the fact that he was on the energetic roster.
Alex Austin began in his place for many of the afternoon. Contemplating that backup nook Shaun Wade was inactive, it was a perplexing resolution, even when Jackson has struggled over a number of stretches throughout his second go-around in Foxborough.
3:37: Kevin Harris runs it in from 18 yards out. New England trails, 27-17, with 8:24 left within the fourth quarter.
3:36: Tavai picks off Mahomes. New England’s protection continues to be attempting to maintain this group in it.
3:34: One other punt for New England results in loads of boos.
3:33: Henry is questionable to return with a knee damage.
3:29: Smart and Wilson group up for a sack on Mahomes. Punt for KC.
3:25: Now Ja’Whaun Bentley is down for New England.
3:20: One other hit towards Henry has him hobbling to the sidelines.
3:16: Finish Third: Patriots path the Chiefs, 27-10.
3:14: Good hit from Jon Jones to interrupt up a move.
3:13: Matthew Slater is clearly hurting after that punt return.
3:11: Man, Zappe is getting crushed over these previous few drives.
3:05: Kansas Metropolis is admittedly beginning to draw back. Butler hits on a 54-yard subject aim and the Chiefs take a 27-10 lead.
2:50: Mahomes connects on a TD move. 24-10 Chiefs with 9:22 left within the third.
2:48: A brutal throw from Zappe there. Chiefs now begin at New England’s 7 after that decide.
2:44: A pleasant stand by New England’s protection within the purple zone. Butker connects on a subject aim to offer KC a 17-10 lead.
Fairly a couple of flops from Kelce on that drive.
2:38: Penalties proceed to plague New England. A fumble restoration by Jabrill Peppers is negated by a defensive holding name on Alex Austin.
2:37: That didn’t final very lengthy. Jones is again on the sphere.
2:35: Jonathan Jones is questionable to return with a knee damage.
2:21: Halftime: KC takes a 14-10 lead. KC will get the ball within the second half.
2:17: Mahomes to Jerick McKinnon for an 8-yard landing. Kansas Metropolis takes a 14-10 lead with 35 seconds left within the half.
Chiefs will even get the ball within the second half.
2:09: This Mahomes man is fairly good. 31-yard throw to Watson on a Third-and-8.
2:02: Ryland’s kick from 25 yards is nice. Patriots take a 10-7 lead off of Mapu’s clutch decide.
2:00: Zappe evades strain and hits Henry once more for a landing, nevertheless it’s known as off for a maintain on McDermott.
1:58: What a play by Marte Mapu. He picks off Majomes and New England begins from KC’s 8-yard line.
1:53: A clutch play from Zappe. On a 4th-and-2, Zappe hits Hunter Henry for a 16-yard landing. 7-7 recreation.
Zappe is 16-18 passing for 135 yards and 1 TD right now
1:50: Contested catch for Parker for 19 yards. Good seize.
1:47: Cart is popping out for Cole Unusual. Loads of teammates knelt down round him earlier than he was loaded on the cart.
1:45: Henry has been having a robust recreation. 5 catches for 41 yards. Doing loads of harm over the center.
1:42: Your scheduled Taylor Swift replace.
1:39: Christian Barmore continues to wreak havoc. 7-yard sack on Mahomes. Crew-leading 5.5 sacks for him.
1:36: Finish First: KC leads, 7-0. Chiefs will begin on their very own 27 yard line to begin the second.
1:29: Rice finds the tip zone. McKinnon with the passing landing. 7-0 Chiefs with 1:30 left within the first.
1:28: Edwards-Helaire picks up 48 yards for KC off a display. Loads of actual property in entrance of him.
1:22: Wooof. Chad Ryland misses on a 41-yard subject aim. Nonetheless 0-0 with 3:35 left within the quarter.
1:20: Pop giveth … Douglas whistled for a face-mask. New England goes again 15 yards.
1:18: Welcome again, Pop Douglas. He picks up one other first down. 16 yard pickup.
1:17: Henry with one other good achieve however he’s banged up. He’s slowly making his manner off the sphere.
1:16: Again-to-back first down completions by Henry and Parker.
1:14: Alex Austin began over J.C. Jackson on that opening drive.
1:11: Kansas Metropolis can’t convert on its first drive. Butker’s kick from 39 goes large. Nonetheless scoreless. First miss this season.
1:06: Patriots go 3-and-out.
1:06: New England’s beginning O-line: LT: Conor McDermott LG: Cole Unusual C: David Andrews RG: Sidy Sow RT: Mike Onwenu
1:04: One other brutal penalty from Brenden Schooler. His fifth of the 12 months. Jalen Reagor’s return initially went 46 yards, however now New England’s begins at its 13.
1:02: There are a LOT of Chiefs followers right here.
1:01: Kansas Metropolis wins the coin toss and defer. Patriots offense up first.
12:59: New England’s response?
12:53: And sure, Taylor Swift is right here.
12:50: Not good new so far as inactives go for New England. Trent Brown is a large loss on the O-line, particularly with Chris Jones lining up towards the Patriots right now.
12:45: How are we feeling?
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