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Friday, 08 September 2017 00:10

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Kansas City Chiefs Upset New England Patriots 42-27

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Kansas City Chiefs Upset New England Patriots 42-27 Image via chiefs.com

The NFL season is finally here. As is custom in the NFL, the Super Bowl champions start the season on a Thursday night. This yearit was the New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs.

It was supposed to be a banner night in Foxboro on Thursday evening. However, the celebrations stopped soon after the New England Patriots fifth Super Bowl banner was raised. Bill Belichick's team opened the season and essentially laid an egg. New England did get out to an early 17-7 lead and held the lead halftime by three points. It was all downhill from the third quarter on. What exactly went wrong for the Patriots in the loss?


1. Defense, Or Lack Thereof - The Chiefs started Kareem Hunt, a rookie running back, in the season opener. What a coming out party that Hunt had. He carried the ball 17 times and tallied 148 yards and a rushing touchdown. His night didn't stop there however. Hunt also added five catches for 98 more yards and two touchdowns. That wasn't the only problem that New England had on defense though. Tyreke Hill also had a big night. Hill had seven catches for 133 yards and one touchdown. Alex Smith posted Madden like numbers in the victory has he completed 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns.


2. Lack of WR Depth - Just a few weeks ago the Patriots looked to be extremely deep at wide receiver. Oh how things change. Even after Julian Edelman suffered a season ending ACL tear there still appeared to be considerable depth at wide receiver. That took a blow on Thursday night. Prior to the game second year receiver Malcolm Mitchell was placed on injured reserve. Then during the game, Danny Amendola suffered a head injury and couldn't return. That left the Patriots with only Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, and Phillip Dorsett at receiver. Dorsett has been with the team for less than one week.


3. Injuries - Losses should never be blamed solely on injuries. However, when Dont'a Hightower left the game in third quarter, things changed for the New England defense. Hightower might be the most indespensible player on defense for the Patriots. Without a clear cut option to replace him on the edge the defense fell apart and Smith and the Chiefs took advantage. Hightower's injury will be one to watch going forward. 


4. Quiet Offense - With the offense struggling to move the ball, it would be natrual to think that Rob Gronkowski would become a focal point to try and move the ball. In Thursday's loss Gronkowski managed only two catches for 33 yards. Kansas City did a good job of taking Gronkowski away from Tom Brady. The inability to find Gronkowski limited what the Patriots could do on offense.


5. Replacing Edelman - When Edelman got hurt in the third preseason game, it was fair to wonder how New England would be able to replicate his production. In week one it appeared that Danny Amendola would be the one fill Edelman's shoes. That was until Amendola got injured. Prior to his injury, Amendola filled in for Edelman very nicely. Amendola had six catches for 100 yards before having to leave the game.


6. Offense - Tom Brady was very un-Bradylike in week one. He was just 16-36 for 267 yards. For most of the game it seemed as though the Patriots offense had transformed from the year before. Instead of the typical dink and dunk type of offense, Josh McDaniels elected to try and air the ball out and go deep. For this game that didn't appear to work out. Whether that was the gameplan or a new emphasis on the offense remains to be seen. 


Extra Point - In what appears to be a crowded backfield, none of the running backs were able to stake their claim to be the leading man. Newcomer Mike Gillislee had 15 carries for 45 yards but did add three touchdowns. Outside of the touchdowns he didn't seem very effective. It will be interesting to see how the the running back picture sorts itself out going forward.


Next up for the Patriots, is a trip to the bayou to face the New Orleans Saints. With an extended period of time to get ready for the Saints it would make sense to think that the Patriots will have a portion of their issues from week one sorted out. How much of the issues getting fixed remains to be seen but it is still early in the season. 

Billy Wyatt

Billy Wyatt is a New England Patriots beat reporter for CLNS Radio. Now covering the Patriots for multiple seasons, Billy is a veteran journalist at CLNSRadio.com A graduate of the University of Hartford with a communications degree, Billy’s prior experience was as a sports writer for the Hartford Informer.You can reach Billy via e-mail at bwyatt_91@yahoo.com. And you can follow him on Twitter @Billy_NFL.