Patriots quarterbacks struggle in loss vs Chiefs, look to rebound vs Denver

Despite a strong defensive performance, abysmal quarterback play became the Patriots’ downfall in a 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 5.  

Early in the week, the entire possibility of this game being played was thrown into question when Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. Following a positive test from a Kansas City player, the game was postponed from Sunday to Monday night. 

With Newton unable to start, veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer was appointed to the starting role. Entering the game, Hoyer had played for a total of seven teams around the NFL, and had lost each of his last 10 starts. 

Thanks to an impressive defensive performance, the Chiefs were held to only six points in the first half. The Patriots even had a chance to take the lead at the end of the half, but on the final play, in field goal range, Brian Hoyer took a sack. There was no time left for one more play, and the Patriots left points on the board, going into halftime trailing 6-3. 

The trend continued into the third quarter, as the defense continued to keep Kansas City’s explosive offense at bay while Brian Hoyer couldn’t deliver. Late in the third quarter, Hoyer once again had driven the offense inside the Chiefs’ 20 yard line, when he was strip sacked, and the Chiefs recovered the ball. As time ticked down in the third, Kansas City’s offense finally broke through, scoring the first touchdown of the game. 

At this point, Belichick made the decision to bench Hoyer for the fourth quarter in favor of second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, although  he didn’t look much better. Stidham threw for the Patriots’ only touchdown, but also had a pair of interceptions. One bounced off Julian Edelman’s hands and was returned for a touchdown, while the other was horribly underthrown by Stidham, missing its target Damiere Byrd. 

In what could’ve been a competitive fourth quarter, the Chiefs ended up cruising to a 26-10 victory, knocking the Patriots’ season record to 2-2. 

The quarterbacks were clearly the number one liability of this game, as their collective four turnovers were the difference makers in the game, since most of them came at the most critical moments. Hoyer and Stidham completed only 20 of their collective 37 passes for a measly 190 yards. 

Despite the incompetence at quarterback, the defensive side of the ball was stellar, keeping the Patriots in the game by shutting down the NFL’s most explosive offense for almost three quarters. The Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, was held to 236 passing yards. The defense also forced two fumbles, but one of them was controversially overturned.

This week, the Patriots will play host to the 1-3 Denver Broncos. While it was originally scheduled for last Sunday, the game was postponed a week in light of the Patriots receiving more positive tests for COVID-19, most notably cornerback Stephon Gilmore. 

This will be a challenge for Denver, as they will be without several of their key components due to injury, including tight end Noah Fant and star linebacker Von Miller, while quarterback Drew Lock is questionable with a shoulder injury. The Patriots, on the other hand, will have Gilmore, who was cleared to play this week, and they will see the return of Cam Newton. This seems like the perfect matchup to get the Patriots back in the win column.  

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