Monday, November 21, 2011
Wrap-up: Patriots 34, Chiefs 3
By Bill Williamson
A look at a game in which the visiting Kansas City Chiefs were eventually worn down by the New England Patriots:
What it means: The Chiefs are now 4-6 after their 34-3 loss. They trail the Oakland Raiders by two games in the AFC West. Kansas City is tied with the San Diego Chargers for last place in the division. The Denver Broncos are 5-5.
Team of streaks: The Chiefs are on their second three-game losing streak of the season. They sandwiched it with a four-game winning streak.
Getting tricky: The Chiefs used a lot of fast snaps, they used the Wildcat and they tried an onside kick. In the end, it didn’t matter. But an undermanned team on the road needs to try anything, and Chiefs coach Todd Haley was up for anything.
Second-half blues: The Chiefs actually led this game in the first quarter, 3-0. The Patriots scored all but seven of their points in the final 31 minutes of the game. The Chiefs hung in this game for a while, but the Patriots eventually overtook them in every phase of the game.
Tough start to a tough stretch: It doesn’t get any easier for Kansas City. It entered the week with the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL. It plays Pittsburgh, Chicago, the Jets, Green Bay, Oakland and Denver in the final six games.
Palko wasn’t horrible: Tyler Palko had his issues and he threw three interceptions. But in his first start, Palko had his moments, especially early in the game. He didn’t look like a player who was lost. After entering the game with just 13 total NFL passes under his belt, he completed 25 of 38 passes for 236 yards. The left-hander looks like a coachable player who can improve. He’ll get his chance. The Chiefs put starter Matt Cassel on injured reserve with a broken thumb on Monday. He was injured in a loss to Denver last week. I’m interested to see how Palko responds after getting more practice time. He had a nice chemistry with receivers Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston. They had a combined 13 catches for 160 yards.
Jones plays well: Veteran running back Thomas Jones had 48 yards rushing on eight carries. The Chiefs ran for 119 yards on 26 carries.
Getting pressure: The Chiefs sacked Tom Brady three times, all in the first half. Like every other aspect of the Chiefs on Monday night, the pass rush dwindled in the second half.
Got Gronked: New England tight end Rob Gronkowski lit up the Chiefs. He had touchdown catches of 52 and 19 yards. Kansas City simply didn’t have an answer for him.
Not so special: New England broke the game open with just less than 10 minutes remaining on a 72-yard punt return for a score by Julian Edelman.
What’s next: The Chiefs are on prime time again in Week 12. They host Pittsburgh Sunday evening.