The micro view: The New England Patriots blew an opportunity to shock the world, maybe costing them a spot in seeding in January.
The macro view: Nobody wants to play the Patriots. Not in 2020.
Enough about the “micro” and the gaffes, which were many, let’s look at what we learned through four weeks in Kansas City last night.
The Patriots, with Cam Newton at the helm, are going to be dangerous.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has exhibited dozens and dozens of examples of his aptitude, that football is as much, if not more, a mental experience as it is physical.
For two years, the Kansas City Chiefs, with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, have made this look too easy.
Everybody, in particular these short, quick, strong little guys, are open, seemingly all of them.
It’s like shooting fish in a barrel for Mahomes, a former shortstop, throwing darts to his guys.
There was no barrel last night. Mahomes shooting at birds in the air.
Mahomes converted only three of nine third down passes.
How impressive was that?
A week earlier, in the Chiefs’ “AFC Championship” tuneup with the Baltimore Ravens, Mahomes was 7-for-7.
The Patriots changed it up defensively from the opening series, particularly on passing downs, keeping as many as nine defenders back defending the Mahomes’ passes.
Belichick’s prowess was shown on offense, too.
Despite more injuries to the offensive line, Patriots running backs were able to rush for 166 yards on 36 carries, which was tantamount in limiting Mahomes’ opportunities on offense.
The Patriots are averaging 179.8 yards per game (second to Cleveland’s 204.5). That was not supposed to happen so soon after the retirement of offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
The Patriots offense, as a whole, has committed only two penalties through four games, both false starts last night.
We call that not only call that discipline, but more importantly, we call it “coaching.”
The Patriots could have won last night, but who’s to say that Mahomes wouldn’t have come through if pressed. I’m betting he would have.
The 2020 Patriots have given their spoiled fandom reason to remain, well, spoiled.
If semi-healthy, with Newton, the Patriots, with their stingy defense and power-based offense, could beat anybody on any given Sunday.
Could the Patriots use a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver? Yup.
Could they use another, veteran linebacker? Absolutely.
Those issues are both solvable.
But the Patriots have shown us, at the quarter-pole of the 2020 season, that they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Coaching is of the utmost of importance during this crazy off-season and now season. And the Patriots got the best.
You can email Bill Burt at email@example.com.