The Kansas City Chiefs remain perfect on the season, moving to 4-0 to begin 2020 after defeating the New England Patriots (2-2), 26-10, at Arrowhead Stadium. The final score doesn’t exactly paint the picture of just how close this game was as it wasn’t exactly the sharpest night for the defending Super Bowl champions. Nevertheless, it was enough to get the W.
Patrick Mahomes struggled early, but came up clutch late, helping Kansas City on back-to-back touchdown drives in the final two quarters to really separate from New England. As for those Patriots, it was a rough night offensively as Brian Hoyer took over for Cam Newton, who was sidelined for this matchup after testing positive for COVID-19. He completed 15 of his 24 passes for just 130 yards, no touchdowns, a pick, and a fumble before being replaced by second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
Both defenses played well in this one as each was able to create turnovers and allow a combined 16 points through the first three quarters, but Kansas City’s offense woke up just in time to edge out Bill Belichick and company. As we put this game in the books, check our main takeaways below.
Why Kansas City won
The Chiefs were able to withstand a rough start offensively and flip the switch late in the second half. After the defense recovered a fumble by Brian Hoyer in the third, Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City on an 85-yard drive that resulted in their first touchdown of the game. That sparked back-to-back touchdown drives for Andy Reid’s offense, which was enough for the defense to help put away a lowly Patriots offense. Speaking of that defense, they were able to create four turnovers on the night, including a pick-six by Tyrann Mathieu to completely erase any sort of talk of a comeback with Jarrett Stidham under center for the Patriots.
While it wasn’t one of his strongest performances, Mahomes was able to finish with 236 yards passing and a 65 completion percentage with two touchdowns. He also rushed for 28 yards. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had arguably his best game since the opener, rushing for 64 yards and catching all three of his targets for an additional 27 yards.
Why New England lost
The Patriot surprisingly beat themselves — rare for a Bill Belichick team. The first example came on the opening drive of the game by Kansas City when safety Devin McCourty dropped what may have been the easiest interception opportunity he’ll have in his career. The Chiefs ultimately weren’t able to take full advantage of that missed opportunity but did come away with a field goal.
The next two miscues came at the hands of Brian Hoyer. With time ticking down before the half, the Patriots starter took a sack on third-and-9 instead of throwing the ball away. That forced the clock to hit triple zeroes for the half and the Patriots — who were inside the Chiefs 10-yard line — to walk away with zero points. The nail in the coffin on Hoyer’s night came on a strip-sack that also occurred deep inside Kansas City territory, which then thrust Jarrett Stidham under center.
The final significant flub by New England — and the one that ultimately proved to be the difference — was a pass delivered by Stidham that hit the hands of Julian Edelman. The veteran receiver couldn’t haul it in, the ball was tipped and picked off by Tyrann Mathieu, who took it 25 yards to the end zone to give Kansas City the 26-10 lead. That was essentially the ballgame.
After a rough start to the game, Brian Hoyer seemed to get into a bit of a rhythm in the third quarter. He completed five of his six passes for 57 yards as he drove New England’s offense all the way to the Kansas City five-yard line. It was at that point, however, that the veteran quarterback committed his second turnover in the game, fumbling at the Kansas City 16-yard line.
The Chiefs recovered and processed to go on a seven-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in a Tyreek Hill touchdown reception. Hoyer was replaced by Stidham on the ensuing New England drive.
Play of the game
While the Patriots were on the losing end of this game, Jarrett Stidham had arguably the throw of the night: a fade to N’Keal Harry in the corner of the end zone for the team’s first touchdown of the game. That was on Stidham’s first drive upon coming in for the benched Brian Hoyer, which deserves a bit of credit considering the lack of reps he received throughout the week. He finished with just 60 yards passing, that touchdown and two interceptions, but that toss could have been a small flash of potential for the long haul.
Damien Harris’ 41-yard rush on this drive also deserves some serious consideration after the second-year back impressed in his first start of 2020, rushing for 100 yards on the night.
From here, the Patriots will head back to Foxborough and prepare to host the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium prior to their Week 6 bye week. As for the Chiefs, they’ll stick around Arrowhead Stadium and await a visit from the Las Vegas Raiders. This game with New England began a tough stretch for the defending Super Bowl champions as they are in the midst of a short week to prepare for Las Vegas and then will visit the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football to begin Week 6. That’s three games in just over a week.