The Patriots struggled to extend their lead and handed their opponent the ball twice on consecutive drives in last Thursday’s 38-24 win against the Colts, which allowed Indianapolis to remain in striking distance longer than the final score indicated.
Tom Brady threw two interceptions – the first of which bounced off Chris Hogan’s hands and directly into those of Colts defensive back Matthias Farley. The Colts fumbled on the ensuing possession, but the next Brady interception – intended for Rob Gronkowski, ultimately resulted in an Indianapolis touchdown that cut the Patriots deficit to 24-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Both Patriots turnovers occurred in Colts territory, which underscored an unfamiliar trend for New England’s offense. The Patriots offense has turned the ball over at least once in every game this season, a malady they’ll look to curb this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City, meanwhile, is coming off a breakout defensive effort in which it forced five turnovers against Jacksonville in a 30-14 win.
“Haven’t had a game yet without a turnover so that’s definitely a goal for us every week so we’re hoping we could hit that this week,” Bill Belichick said on a conference call Monday morning.
Consider last season that the Patriots started the year with just five turnovers in their first 10 games and didn’t cough the ball up until Week 3.
In 2004 the Patriots turned the ball over at least once in their first 10 games – a season that ended with a Super Bowl win. Perhaps ball security, or the lack thereof, won’t doom the Patriots in the long run but there’s no doubt they’re looking to correct it.
Brady’s six interceptions this season is only two less than his 2017 total, and he hasn’t had at least 10 interceptions in a season since throwing 11 in 2013.
“It’s part of the execution of the passing game,” Belichick said of dropped passes that result in interceptions. “Sometimes the timing between the quarterback and receiver, where the ball is located, what the receiver does at the end of the route, if he does what the quarterback thinks he’s going to do or vice versa. Those are things you just have to work on and fine-tune and execute. That’s why the execution of the passing game needs to be so precise in this league. Defenders are close by and if the ball is not caught cleanly it could get into their hands.”