The Patriots and Chiefs opened up the 2017 NFL season last night at Gillette Stadium. After a mediocre trophy ceremony hosted by Mark Wahlberg and an equally terrible rendition of the National Anthem, the Patriots were ready to defend their crown. The crowd was “louder than they’ve ever been” before the game, according to Tony Dungy. The Patriots came out hot firing on all cylinders after a missed connection between Dwayne Allen and Tom Brady. The drive finished with Mike Gillislee punching in his first TD in a Patriots uniform.
Everything was looking perfect for the Patriots, who came out exactly as we expected them. Though question marks were surrounding the defense and the newfound secondary, the first play from the line of scrimmage was a fumble from the Chiefs rookie RB Kareem Hunt, who never lost a fumble in his four years at Toledo.
The Pats managed to drive down the field yet again but this time were stopped short on fourth down & inches. This sparked life into the Chiefs who were able to finish up their next drive with a touchdown. The rest of the half was back and forth with really the only highlight being James White with an early candidate for stiff arm of the year.
The Patriots managed to take a 17-14 lead into halftime, so there wasn’t too much panic in the air in Foxborough. After all, the Chiefs were a 12–4 team last year — so nothing to be ashamed off. Brady looked a little off at times but as the rest of the NFL knows, nobody is better than the Patriots at halftime adjustments.
The Patriots and Chiefs traded empty possessions before this absolute bomb to a wide-open Tyreek Hill — which was the best indication of what was to come from a porous defense.
Gillislee punched in his third TD of the night and a Gostkowski FG wrapped up the third quarter scoring, and the Patriots scoring for the night. It took no time in the fourth quarter for the Chiefs to punch the Patriots right back in the mouth when Kareem Hunt got free for a 78 yard pass from Alex Smith.
From there, the Patriots never really got anything going. Tom Brady looked like Alex Smith — and Alex Smith looked like Tom Brady.
The Chiefs were able to drive down the field to put the Patriots down by 8. To which the Patriots responded … by not responding. The Chiefs then stomped on the Patriots with an embarrassing 2 play drive for 79 yards and a touchdown.
FINAL SCORE: Chiefs 42, Patriots 27
- Devin McCourty was the only one able to make any significant plays for a defense that let up 537 yards and the most points ever in the Bill Belichick era (second-most was also the Chiefs, funny enough).
- McDaniels play-calling has some work to do. Too many end-arounds and running plays that went nowhere.
- Brady finished the night 16-36 with 267 yards. He looked bad at times but was able to connect with Brandin Cooks on a deep ball late in the game. The hope is still there.
- An injury to Amendola leaves the WR corp looking a bit bland — we will most likely be seeing a lot more of Philip Dorsett once he has a full week of practice under his belt.
- The front 7 looked awful — nobody doing anything of note. A front seven that looked menacing during the off-season, with McClellan, Nink, Rivers, and all of the other scat LBs they got to replace the production of Jamie Collins was laughable. This group isn’t going to put any fear into anyone and Chris Long wannabe Cassius Marsh is going to need to step his game up.
- Gilmore, although completely burned by Tyreek Hill on the long TD pass, played decent on an island most of the game. Still need more production from him and Butler if this Patriots defense is going to be competitive.
- Sad to see Eric Berry with an Achilles injury — he made Gronk a non-factor in this game and is a class act. Hopefully it’s nothing to serious.
In the long run, this loss may be a humbling lesson for the defending Super Bowl champions. The Patriots are no doubt going to make some adjustments and have a tough week of practice because they have a top 5 QB coming into town with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on the schedule. The Saints will smell blood in the water and the Patriots will need to respond as they always do. We’re on to the Saints.