Patriots Notebook - Defense Dominates in the First Half

Kyle Van Noy Plays His Best Game as a Pats Player


Kyle Van Noy Masterful

Van Noy had 10 tackles and two sacks. It was likely his best game as a pro. Andy Reid noted after the game that the Pats played a lot of man coverage in the first half and sent a lot of blitzes. Few teams were willing to play man coverage against the Kansas City Chiefs this season and that surprised the Chiefs. Trey Flowers also had a sack in the first half as the Pats kept the pressure on Patrick Mahomes.

The Pats had to be proud of their effort on Tyreek Hill who had only catch for 42 yards in the first half. The Pats were physical on Hill for much of the game with Jonathan Jones and some Keion Crossen against Hill. J.C. Jackson mainly covered Travis Kelce and Stephon Gilmore covered Sammy Watkins. In the fourth quarter, Gilmore switched to Kelce and Jacskon was on Watkins.

The only area where the Pats defense really struggled was covering running back Damien Williams who had five catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Belichick said Andy Reid had some nice scheme plays in the second half. The defense pitched a shutout in the first half and allowed 31 points in the second half.

The run defense also was not an issue, as Damien Williams had only 10 carries for 30 yards.

Rob Gronkowski Plays Well.

Fans were complaining that Gronkowski had disappeared for much of the game. He had a big 25-yard catch on the Pats final drive of the fourth quarter and a 15-yard catch in overtime.

"I'm more proud to be out here with the boys - how hard we just kept fighting," Gronkowski said.

Both catches were against very good Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Gronkowski almost became the scapegoat for the loss when the ball tipped off his hand and Chiefs DB Charvarius Ward intercepted the pass. Luckily for the Pats, Dee Ford was offside and they had new life.

Gronkowski assisted with an offensive line that has become dominant. The Chiefs did not have a sack. Ford and Justin Houston were non-factors. Chris Jones had one pass deflection, but was unable to finish the game. The dominance of the Pats offensive line allowed them to rush 48 times for 176 yards.

Notes: Deatrich Wise and Danny Shelton were surprise inactives. The other inactives were James Ferentz, Duke Dawson, Ufomba Kamalu, Stephen Anderson and Keionta Davis. It was clear Pats wanted to play more nickel and dime defense. Andy Reid was impressed with the Pats final drive in overtime. Sammy Watkins played well with four catches for 114 yards. What a sequence of events for Julian Edelman. He nearly muffed a punt, which on replay was ruled that he didn't touch. Then a pass tipped off his hand that led to a Daniel Sorensen interception, which led to a Chiefs touchdown. Great one-handed catch by Chris Hogan in the fourth quarter. The completion was upheld on replay. The Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl in two weeks on Sunday February 3.