Game one of the regular season did not go as hoped for the Patriots. Losing their season opener by a score of 42-27 to the Kansas City Chiefs was unexpected, to say the least, for all fans. Multiple factors contributed to their loss, but a few key players kept them alive until the fourth quarter.
No single player contributed more to the Patriots offense during the game than Mike Gilleslee. Gilleslee saw 15 carries for 45 yards and three rushing touchdowns. He scored all three of the Patriots’ touchdowns. Gilleslee would have had four scores had his first one not been taken away due to a penalty. Besides having the only touchdowns, Gilleslee’s overall athleticism gave him the competitive edge. Multiple times he would sneak through the defense for first downs or dance around the Chiefs for extra yardage; other times he would use brute force to simply push through defenders. Belichick signed him for a reason, and Gilleslee has no problem delivering.
Devin McCourty’s spotty performance certainly wasn’t the best, but by no means the worst. The defensive back had 9 tackles, one assist. At the end of the first half, McCourty deflected a potential Chiefs touchdown that would have put them ahead going into the second half. However, he also gave up the Chiefs first touchdown as well as a long pass and other shorter ones. The Patriots’ defense has a lot of work to do, but McCourty was one of the more productive defenders on the field.
If anything can be said for certain, it’s that the entire Patriots team fell apart after losing Danny Amendola to a head injury at the end of the third quarter. Prior to the injury, Amendola was 6-of-7 for 100 yards and four first downs. When third downs came about, Brady turned to Amendola as his primary option. After Amendola’s exit, the Patriots offense fell to pieces with a turnover and three punts to end the game. Amendola played spectacularly while he was out there, but now that Julian Edelman’s primary backup is out (for an undefined amount of time) who is next in line to fill the vacancy?
The worst player on the field Thursday night was none other than Tom Brady. Brady should have been the shining star during the opening game; but alas, adrenaline and nerves get the best of us. Overall, Brady was 16-of-36 passes (44%) for 267 yards and 0 touchdowns. His passes were all over the place; in fact, his performance resembled that of Brissett’s. Brady’s first two passes of the game were one over thrown pass to Dwayne Allen and an under thrown pass on the next attempt. This pattern followed suit throughout the rest of the game: over throw, under throw, decent throw, over throw, under throw, etc. No one knows the real reason behind his terrible opening performance, but hopefully, we will never see that version of Tom Brady ever again.
The Patriots’ defense contributed largely to their first loss of the season. Stephon Gilmore was a factor among many other players who let the Chiefs walk all over them. Gilmore only had four tackles throughout the entirety of the game. The cornerback was beaten on the run multiple times along with his fellow defensive backs. After the game, Gilmore addressed their poor performance saying “…it’s not gonna be easy but we gonna take it one day at a time and go from there.” And that’s all they can really do.
Fellow cornerback Malcolm Butler had a performance similar to that of Stephon Gilmore…not good. Butler had four stops like Gilmore and got beaten too many times. In fact, Butler gave up a Chiefs touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first half. Then later, during the fourth quarter, Butler and another defender missed tackles that resulted in a touchdown to give the Chiefs a 28-27 lead. The Secondary has a lot of work to do before Week 2.
The Patriots’ number one priority going into Week 2: defense. The saying “a good defense is a good offense” is not an understatement or false assumption. If the Patriots can’t improve their defense then it won’t matter how many touchdowns the offense delivers. The New Orleans Saints will be their next competitor this Sunday. We hope to see a more efficient Patriots team.