Patriots vs. Chiefs: Inside the numbers

Inside the stats from the Chiefs win over the Patriots on Monday.

Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs have now defeated Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots in back-to-back meetings, which already cements this win as an impressive one in and of itself. However, it also lifts the Chiefs to 4-0 for the fourth time in a row (first team to do it in NFL history) and gives the Kansas City Chiefs their 13th straight victory. (According to the Pro Football HOF, the longest winning streak that includes both the post season and regular season is the New England Patriots 21 game streak in 2003 and 2004).

Figuring out how the Chiefs won their third primetime game of the season is important for trying to gameplan and analyze how the Chiefs are going to perform in their next few games. Let’s look at the stats from the game to see what we can learn.

Defensive Numbers

Starting with the obvious, the Kansas City Chiefs defense grabbed 3 interceptions from Patriots quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham. Tyrann Mathieu took one to the house off of a Julian Edelman dropped pass, Juan Thornhill went up and grabbed a floated pass with his best “Angels in the Outfield” re-enactment, and Rashad Fenton capped off his dominant performance and essentially put the game on ice by picking off Stidham’s deep shot.

The last time the Patriots threw three interceptions was September 25th, 2011 against the Buffalo Bills. Add a fumble on there, and the Patriots had four turnovers overall, which they have not done since December 16th, 2012.

Speaking of Rashad Fenton‘s dominant night, he ended the night with 3 tackles (one behind the line of scrimmage), 4 pass breakups, and 1 interception. Fenton was targeted quite a bit early in the game, and quickly showed why that was not the brightest idea, making some big plays to stall the Patriots’ drives.

The secondary as a whole only allowed 172 yards through the air, which is only 4.4 yards per pass. On top of all of the turnovers and tight coverage, they forced two coverage sacks, one of which kept the Patriots from scoring at the end of the first half. Not bad for a secondary that most fans and analysts predicted would be abysmal.

The defense overall was elite with 4 turnovers, 7 pass breakups, 6 QB hits, 2 sacks, 4 tackles for losses, and as many touchdowns scored as allowed. They held the Patriots to 6 of 15 on third down, only gave up one first down via penalty (Tyrann Mathieu‘s DPI in the end zone), and held the Patriots to a 33 percent success rate in the red zone. They actually allowed scores on only 2 of 11 opposing drives, largely thanks to their ability to hold the Patriots to 20 of 37 passing.

Just a reminder, this defense is without L’jarius Sneed, Bashaud Breeland, or Chris Jones. If the Chiefs can keep this up defensively, then it is definitely the “Run It Back” campaign.

Offensive Numbers

Offensively, the Chiefs’ performance left a lot to be desired.

On third down, the Chiefs converted only 4 of 11 opportunities, and had it not been for the two first downs gained through penalties, the Chiefs would have only earned 10. The ground game was just not working, with only 3.8 yards per rush, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire only grabbing 64 yards on 16 carries. Sammy Watkins had a timely fumble that could have shifted the momentum of the game if the Chiefs’ defense had not been smothering.

Most surprising of all was Patrick Mahomes‘ poor performance.

Mahomes completed 19 of 29 passes for 236 yards and, technically, 2 touchdowns, although both of his touchdowns came as the results of shovel passes, which are essentially hand offs. He threw three passes that should have been intercepted but were dropped and had another interception/fumble that the refs stole from the Patriots. Fortunately the Patriots offense was inept against the Chiefs defense.

The team’s offense was not without some upsides, however, specifically in the receiving group.

The receivers beat some of the best corners in the league on routes. They were great at breaking tackles after the catch and grabbing yards after catch down the field, including an amazing 45-yard catch and run by Travis Kelce. Tyreek Hill showed off his incredible athleticism when catching the ball, making a great leaping catch when running full speed. Tyreek also grabbed his fourth touchdown of the season, keeping him on pace with his average of 1 per game.

There were quite a few reason why the offense fell short early, from the conservative and underwhelming playcalling, to Bill Belichick’s ability to pressure Mahomes, or even CEH’s love for one-yard runs on second down. However, the offense did just enough to put the Patriots away and move on to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5.