KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Forget being “all in” this season. The Patriots right now are all out — all out of answers for a leaky offensive line, all out of excuses for suiting up Danny Amendola, and all out of “In Belichick We Trust” platitudes to explain gaping roster holes.
The team that’s not “all in” couldn’t get out of Arrowhead Stadium fast enough after getting its doors blown off in a game they were never in.
The Patriots were trampled and humiliated, 41-14, by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, dropping to an unimpressive 2-2 on the season. The Belichick FC’s two victories are over the Minnesota Vikings, who were shellshocked in the wake of Adrian Peterson’s child abuse imbroglio, and the Oakland Raiders, the NFL’s perpetual black hole, not exactly the iron of the NFL.
This was a System failure. The Patriots and their first family, the Krafts, wave their finger and utter “tsk-tsk” at the notion of loading up to make a Super Bowl run, a la the Denver Broncos. It’s not prudent. Wouldn’t you just rather win 12 games in the path-of-least-resistance AFC East? They believe The System will prevail.
News flash to the lords of Fort Foxborough: Talented players win football games, not systems or value charts. If you don’t have enough of them or don’t use them correctly, what you have is hubris and a helping of humble pie served up in cherry red on national television.
This was the second-largest margin of defeat for the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era, topped only by the infamous Lawyer Milloy Game, a season-opening 31-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills in 2003.
“They all count the same in the standings. There is no way you feel good after a game like that, whenever it is,” said Belichick of the primetime pummeling his team endured.
The Patriots trailed, 17-0, at the half, 24-0 after Tom Brady was strip-sacked in the third quarter by Tamba Hali to set up Jamaal Charles’s third touchdown of the game, and 27-0 after Brady was intercepted by Sean Smith on the ensuing possession.
It was 41-7 after Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah returned a Brady interception 39 yards for a touchdown with 10:34 left. That was the last pass TB12 (14 of 23 for 159 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions, and two fumbles) threw. He was pulled for Jimmy Garoppolo.
“When you lose the way we lost there is not a lot be gained other than the feeling that we have now and that we don’t want this feeling again,” said Brady. “We’ve had it before. It’s motivated us . . . This is a tough one.”
The only way the Patriots could have salvaged this evening would have been if they kidnapped Kansas City Royals ace James Shields and brought him back to Boston for the Red Sox.
This was supposed to be a game for the Patriots to break out of their offensive funk and prove that rumors of the unit’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Instead, they were validated.
The Patriots went with a reconfigured offensive line, inserting rookies Bryan Stork at center and Cameron Fleming at right guard. Center Dan Connolly slid over to the Logan Mankins crater, otherwise known as left guard.
It was rearranging the furniture in a room with holes in the floorboards.
The Patriots were still inept. They had just 96 yards of total offense in the first half, and against a Kansas City club that was allowing 5.1 yards per rush, ran seven times for 24 yards. They finished with 75 yards on 16 carries.
The Patriots defense, which had been the pillar of the team, allowed 131 yards rushing on 17 carries to KC in the first half and 207 overall on 38 rushes. New England had surrendered 121 rushing yards combined to their two previous opponents. Kansas City racked up 303 yards of offense in the first half and 443 for the game.
On back-to-back plays, the Patriots gave up Kansas City’s longest rush and longest pass of the season.
Knile Davis knifed through the New England defense for a 48-yard rush. On the next play, Alex Smith hit tight end Travis Kelce for a 33-yard gain.
Smith then hit Charles, who was lined up as a wide receiver, with a screen pass for a 5-yard touchdown to put KC up, 14-0, with 10:58 left in the first half.
The Chiefs’ romp continued a Kansas City-Boston-themed sports milieu in KC.
The Royals made the playoffs for the first time since 1985 and will host the American League wild-card game on Tuesday against the Oakland A’s.
The A’s are sending erstwhile Red Sox ace and contract combatant Jon Lester to the mound at Kauffman Stadium.
On Sunday, the University of Kansas, less than an hour drive from Arrowhead, fired former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis as its head football coach. Weis won three Super Bowls calling plays for Brady. He has lost two college head coaching jobs since.
Chiefs fans started a “Let’s go Royals” chant at Arrowhead with 12:08 left in the game, as officials reviewed whether a Charles fumble recovered in the end zone by Kansas City would stand as touchdown.
It was overturned, so Smith (20 of 26, 248 yards) threw his third touchdown pass of the game.
In one of the league’s loudest venues, the Patriots went quietly into the night.
Arrowhead was full of sound and fury signifying the Patriots’ futility.
“I think the biggest thing we’re going to take away from this game is we’ve got to play a lot better if we’re going to be a good team and win games,” said Patriots safety Devin McCourty. “I’m disappointed, as this is the most embarrassing game I’ve ever been a part of. We lost in every aspect.”
They lost the Patriot Way.