FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the first quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Chiefs (KC leads 3-0):
1. The Chiefs have come to play. The Patriots have looked sluggish.
2. Receiver Julian Edelman came on to the field as the sixth defensive back on the Chiefs’ first drive. It looked like he was serving as a spy on running back Dexter McCluster, and he over-pursued on his first tackle attempt. Edelman came on as the dime back on the third series as well.
3. With safety James Ihedigbo leaving the game in the first quarter, and heading to the locker room under his own power, Ross Ventrone came on to replace him. That is a sign of how far safety Sergio Brown has fallen in the eyes of the coaching staff. Brown’s snap counts this season show a sharp decline: 34, 62, 66, 36, 3, 0, 15, 1, 0.
4. The Chiefs’ hurry-up attack on offense has kept the Patriots’ defense off balance. At one point, the Patriots had to burn a timeout because they had a miscommunication as part of a substitution.
5. The Chiefs, as expected, are emptying things out of their playbook. On one play, quarterback Tyler Palko sprinted out wide to a receiver position and direct snapped to receiver Jerheme Urban, who then handed off to Dexter McCluster on a run play for the first down. The Patriots’ defense looks rattled at times.
6. The Patriots’ red-zone defense rose up on the Chiefs’ third possession, holding the Chiefs to a field goal after they advanced to the 5. The stop was aided by a Chiefs illegal shift penalty on first down. Still, the Patriots came up with the stop.
7. The Chiefs are pulling out all the stops, attempting an onside kick after their initial field goal (it wasn’t successful). They have to try to steal a possession or two in this game.
8. This is Tyler Palko’s first career NFL start but the moment doesn’t seem too big for him. The Patriots haven’t done anything to make life hard on him. So much for trying to get on him early so he doesn’t
9. Random thought: Given how valuable tight end Rob Gronkowski is on offense, I’m not sure how smart if is to play him on the kickoff return unit.