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NFL Draft

Chiefs’ Victory Over Patriots Symbolic Of New Norm

  • The Draft Network
  • October 6, 2020
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Well, the New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs game was anything but a regular game. It was a rescheduled game after the Patriots starting quarterback and the Chiefs third-string quarterback both tested positive for COVID-19. Bill Belichick, who not only coaches the team but runs the entire personnel operation, had to devise and execute two game plans. The initial game plan for arrival to the game consisted of splitting the team into two groups—divided by those who interacted with Cam Newton and those who didn’t. They then took a bus to two separate airports, in two separate states. They arrived to play the Super Bowl champs on the same day (which is rare in itself), with all players and coaches COVID-free. 

The plan was executed to perfection. The game plan for the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs was just as brilliant, but struggled some in the execution department down the stretch. 

Belichick has always been revered for several things, primarily his masterful managing of situational football, his attention to detail, and his ability to devise a defensive plan to take away what the opponent’s offense does best. Andy Reid has constructed his offense around a generational talent at quarterback, and dynamic skill position guys who beat you with speed, quickness, and always seem to win their one-on-one matchups. But the Patriots secondary was up for the challenge and should have had a couple of interceptions by J.C. Jackson and Devin McCourty on errant passes from Mahomes. 

For the first three quarters, the Patriots defense frustrated the dynamic Chiefs offense. They kept one of the best offenses in the NFL out of the end zone until late in the third quarter. In fact, the Chiefs have been held to no touchdowns in the first half only three times (out of 40 starts) with Mahomes at quarterback, all by the Patriots. 

One of the Patriots’ team philosophies is to build a team that plays tough and plays smart. A team that plays with discipline and prides itself on taking care of the football. Although their defense played tough, the Patriots quarterbacks were ineffective and hindered their offense with their turnovers. When Jarrett Stidham relieved Brian Hoyer, he gave the team an initial spark, but also finished with a mere 60 yards passing and two turnovers of his own. You just can’t give a dynamic offense that many chances. Eventually, they do what they’re accustomed to and come alive in the second half. 

The Chiefs’ defense played exceptionally well and got pressure with Frank Clark and Taco Charlton. They allowed 10 points and caused four turnovers. Turnovers and an inept offense were the downfall of the Patriots, and that rarely happens with a Belichick-coached team. As it stands, the Chiefs are now the first team to start 4-0 for four consecutive seasons. 

This game was symbolic to some degree—a microcosm of what has now become the new norm. The notion may no longer hold true that defense wins championships. In a league of dynamic, elite athletes, scoring touchdowns at a high clip now gives you a better opportunity at success. The Patriots have also effectively closed the door of a dynasty era, against the team that many believe has opened the door to the start of theirs.

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