The Kansas City Chiefs delivered one of the most complete beatdowns of the Tom Brady era in a 41-14 throttling of the New England Patriots on Monday night. Our takeaways:
- The Chiefs are a much better team than they showed when Dwayne Bowe and Travis Kelce were non-factors in a Week 1 loss to the Titans. Andy Reid's gameplan placed an emphasis on getting the ball to his playmakers. The result was a 303-96 advantage in total yards at halftime, the first time a Bill Belichick defense allowed at least 300 yards in one half, per the Boston Globe. Between Bowe, Kelce, Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, the Chiefs' offense suddenly has quick-strike potential.
- Patriots fans finally got a glimpse of the vintage Rob Gronkowski. Much to their dismay, it came in the form of Kelce. The Chiefs' impressive second-year tight end isn't quite as physical as Gronk, but his wheels and run-after-catch ability are superior to the All-Pro's right now. We fully expect Gronkowski to catch up as the season goes along. In the meantime, there aren't a handful of NFL tight ends who are bigger threats than Kelce in the passing game.
- Bill Belichick coached this game as if he was experimenting to find exactly what exactly his team can hang its hat on. Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, the only receivers capable of making plays downfield and outside the numbers, were healthy scratches. Passing-down specialist Shane Vereen replaced Stevan Ridley between the tackles. Several members of the offensive line were shuffled in and out. Multiple players were benched for mistakes. Belichick's squad is struggling to find an identity.
- The Patriots' offense is dysfunctional. Over the past four years, they have gone from third in yards per play to dead last in 2014. Tom Brady has certainly been part of the problem, but we can't blame him for being frustrated with a subpar supporting cast after accepting a significantly below-market deal to finish his career in New England.
- Opposing quarterbacks no longer fear Darrelle Revis. Rookie Derek Carrwent after him in Week 3, and Bowe matched his output from the first three games by halftime of Monday night's game.
- Charles looked nothing like a player coming off a high-ankle sprain. He showcased his trademark explosiveness on his way to a trio of touchdowns.
- It's safe to attribute the Patriots' No. 1 standing in pass defense to a schedule that offered up Carr, Matt Cassel and Ryan Tannehill over the first three weeks. The run defense has been a major problem going back to the start of the 2013 season.
- The Chiefs lost wide receiver Donnie Avery to a groin injury that will likely leave his status in doubt for Week 5 at San Francisco.
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