New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (26) is chased by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens (53) on a carry in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on October 14, 2018. The Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo
What a game. It had all of New England talking the day after (on a dreary Monday) even though the Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 7-5 to tie their series at 1. Based on the television ratings, far more people watched the Pats than Red Sox.
The offense was great and most encouraging was the Pats won even though Rob Gronkowski had only one catch in the first three quarters. Gronkowski had the catch that set-up the game-winning field goal when Andy Reid inexplicably played single coverage on Gronk after double teaming him most of the game. Nothing like abandoning your game plan at the most critical time. Brady completed 27 passes to James White, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Josh Gordon. The Pats showed they can win a big game if a team takes Gronk away for most of the game.
The Pats also had to be happy with the improvement of running back Sony Michel, who had his second 100-yard game rushing -- particularly his patience at the line of scrimmage.
"Yeah, that's probably fair," said coach Bill Belichick. "Sony gets better every day. He gets better every week. He's still got a long way to go, but he does a lot of good things out there. We'll just keep trying to get him more experience and get him more reps and opportunities to see different things. The defenses that we've seen the past few weeks from Miami to Indy to Kansas City last night were quite different, especially on the line of scrimmage, even going back to Detroit. Kind of a new thing -- in some ways -- new things every week even though it might be the same plays but the way that they play it and what they do up front is quite different; has been quite different from week to week. But yeah, he's certainly improving in all areas and he's running hard and taking care of the ball. Those are good things."
Chris Hogan also emerged and had four catches for 78 yards, including a big 42-yard catch in the fourth quarter. The Pats will need Hogan to take advantage of one-on-one matchups in the future.
"Chris is one of the hardest working guys on our team. He's got really good stamina. He can kind of run all day and works extremely hard. Also, last night he was in on a lot of kicking game plays, too. He was able to help us in a number of different areas. He's a tough kid that really competes hard and, as I said, has good stamina to stay on the field for a long time," Belichick said.
--The Pats must be impressed with the progress of Josh Gordon. Gordon is unlikely to be the player he was in 2013, when he had 87 catches for the Cleveland Browns. Gordon, though, had five catches for 42 yards Sunday night and drew a pass-interference penalty that led to a Pats touchdown. Not completely sure why the play was interference but Gordon adds a deep threat that defenses must respect.
--CB Stephon Gilmore played well -- holding Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins to two catches for 18 yards. The rest of the secondary aside from Gilmore is struggling.
--CB Jason McCourty clearly expected help from someone over the top on that long touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt at the beginning of the second half, maybe his brother, Devin, and didn't get it.
--S Duron Harmon took a bad angle on the 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill that tied the game at 40. But there was clearly a blown coverage because no one picked up Hill in the intermediate zone. Communication must improve in the Pats secondary. "I'd just say that was just bad defense, bad coaching, bad playing, bad everything. It wasn't really an extended play. No, it wasn't a scramble. The one to (Kareem) Hunt was more of a scramble play, which that was more of the same -- bad coaching, bad playing, just bad defense," Bill Belichick said.
--DE Adrian Clayborn had two quarterback pressures on third down. Still, he does not have a sack this season. It would be nice to see more pressure from him and the rest of the defensive line.
--LB Dont'a Hightower had a nice interception of Patrick Mahomes. Hightower blitzed and dropped back into coverage. Mahomes didn't see him and threw the ball right to Hightower. Hightower is improving.