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Patriots Replay: Key plays from New England’s loss to the Chiefs

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Here’s our weekly look at the key plays in the Patriots’ game after reviewing the film.

Shaky start

Quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots got off to a shaky start immediately.

On the first play of the game, the Patriots dialed up a wheel route for tight end Dwayne Allen.

The play worked — the Chiefs were confused and Allen was wide open for a potentially big gain.

But Brady’s throw was high and to the wrong shoulder, making it a nearly impossible catch for Allen.

Containing Gronk

Tight end Rob Gronkowski had a tough time getting open, with safety Eric Berry shadowing him all game and linebacker Justin Houston often chipping him at the line of scrimmage.


New-look defense

Meet the Patriots’ new-look defense: Devin McCourty and Jordan Richards playing down in the box, Duron Harmon playing free safety, Kyle Van Noy patrolling the middle and Dont’a Hightower on the edge.

The Patriots also played a lot of zone defense, which was surprising given that they have two excellent man cornerbacks in Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler.

Tyreek Hill’s 75-yard TD — how did it work?

Once again, the Patriots came out in a zone defense. Gilmore’s body positioning is the giveaway.

The Chiefs run three vertical routes, with Hill at the bottom. The question: Were the Patriots playing Cover 2 (two deep) or Cover 4 (four deep)? Should Gilmore have stuck with Hill, or was he McCourty’s responsibility?

It was easy to blame Gilmore, but considering he and Butler were on about the same yard line, it looks like the Patriots were in Cover 2. McCourty probably should have covered Hill. Running three vertical routes against Cover 2 is the perfect play.

Offensive snap counts
Chiefs (81)
LT Nate Solder 81
RT Marcus Cannon 81
G Shaq Mason 81
G Joe Thuney 81
C David Andrews 81
QB Tom Brady 81
TE Rob Gronkowski 78
WR Chris Hogan 73
WR Brandin Cooks 67
RB James White 43
WR Danny Amendola 32
TE Dwayne Allen 27
RB Mike Gillislee 24
FB James Develin 19
WR Phillip Dorsett 18
RB Rex Burkhead 10
OT LaAdrian Waddle 8
RB Dion Lewis 6
Defensive snap counts
Chiefs (69)
LB Kyle Van Noy 69
CB Stephon Gilmore 69
CB Malcolm Butler 69
DE Trey Flowers 69
S Devin McCourty 68
S Duron Harmon 63
DT Malcom Brown 49
S Patrick Chung 45
S Jordan Richards 42
DT Alan Branch 42
CB Eric Rowe 37
LB Donta Hightower 35
DE Lawrence Guy 26
DE Cassius Marsh 24
DT Adam Butler 21
DE Deatrich Wise 18
LB Elandon Roberts 9
CB Jonathan Jones 3
LB David Harris 2

Follow Ben Volin on Twitter @BenVolin.