Bill Belichick's Success Against Mahomes Continues Despite Loss to Chiefs

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Bill Belichick continues to play chess while the rest of the league fumbles around and plays checkers.  His latest stroke of genius?  Injecting the coronavirus into Cam Newton prior to the game against the Chiefs.  That way, when these two teams meet again in the postseason, there is still some nuance and mystery to a Newton-led offense.  Just brilliant. 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Now, he's done the same for Stephon Gilmore to give him an extra week off heading into the bye, and allow him some time to rest and prepare for a string of games that includes some very talented offenses.  Point Belichick. 

In all seriousness, best wishes to Newton and Gilmore on quick recoveries and hopefully they take, or have taken, the proper precautions to protect themselves, their families and their teammates.

With all that's going on in the NFL as it relates to COVID-19, I prefer to bury my head in the sand and just address what's happening on the field.  There's plenty to unpack from Monday's loss to the Chiefs.

As somebody who back in the spring was looking forward to seeing what Jarrett Stidham could do, I honestly didn't hate the idea of Brian Hoyer under center going into Monday night.  Stidham clearly hadn't done much to separate himself during camp, and Hoyer knows the Patriot offense as well as anybody outside of Tom Brady. 

Hoyer also had nearly 40 career starts and had some pretty good performances within those starts.  So I figured for one night only, on short notice, Hoyer wouldn't be the worst option.  The game plan would be about possessing the ball, moving the chains and inching down the field.  As a 12-year-veteran, Hoyer could manage the game, make some easy throws and not do anything stupid.  Boy was I wrong.

Not knowing how many timeouts you have left, especially in a two-minute drill is inexcusable.  The sack that Hoyer took at the end of the first half, and the ensuing attempt to call a fourth timeout, took three points off the board and sucked a bit of momentum away from the Pats. 

He followed that up early in the third quarter by holding the ball for an eternity on a 3rd and 8 from the KC 10-yard line, leading to a sack, fumble and more points off of the board.  At the very least, the Patriots kick two field goals and lead 9-6 with about four minutes left in the third quarter.  Instead, between those two drives the Patriots ran 26 plays, took about 13 minutes off of the game clock and came away with a big fat goose egg. 

I honestly thought Hoyer was doing okay outside of those two bonheaded plays.  The problem is you can't overlook those two mistakes and just how much they impacted the game.  The Pats still may have lost, but things would have looked and felt a little different in that second half. 

I mean, what are we doing here?  If Hoyer is going to make mistakes that a young quarterback would make, then why the hell isn't Stidham in the game?  I'd much rather see what Stidham can do.  Apparently Belichick felt the same way after the fumble and inserted Stidham, who didn't exactly light the world on fire. 

He had a really nice throw to N'Keal Harry in the endzone to cap off a drive where Damien Harris brought the team down the field.  His first interception was one thousand percent Julian Edelman's fault, so no issue there.  The second interception was just a poor throw.  Damiere Byrd had his man beat for a touchdown, and Stidham just completely under threw it for an easy INT. 

Overall, not a banner day for either quarterback.  All I can say is thank you to Bill Belichick for signing Cam Newton.  Otherwise, we would have had to deal with these two guys all season. 

I think another important takeaway from this game is Belichick's ability to slow down Patrick Mahomes.  It's nearly impossible to shut that team down.  They eventually will break through, but Belichick has done about as well as anybody in keeping that offense in check for a portion of the game. 

Belichick has now faced off with Mahomes four times.  In those four matchups, KC has had one half where they have failed to find the endzone.  With how explosive that offense is, that's no small feat.  Once may be a fluke, you may get lucky twice, but four times is a trend, and I don't think that should be overlooked.

The defense played as well as anybody could have hoped.  They gave the offense plenty of opportunities in this one.  Nevermind the fact that they got absolutely boned on multiple calls.  The sack and fumble of Mahomes that never was.  The late hit out of bounds on Deatrich Wise Jr. which gifted Kansas City 15 yards on one of their touchdown drives. 

Meanwhile, they pick up a flag on Tyrann Mathieu for his contact with Damien Harris out of bounds.  I actually agreed with that call.  That play and the play with Wise were virtually the same in that there was barely any contact.  I was fine with the no call on Mathieu, but it's got to be consistent.  They are either both penalties, or not.

Monday night was one of those "scheduled losses".  I think at the start of the year most fans chalked this one up to an L, but it was still frustrating to watch.  With the news of Gilmore, and the uncertainty surrounding Newton, this Sunday against Denver feels like survive and advance situation.  Just grab a win before the bye and regroup before a huge stretch of games that will likely determine if this team is playoff-caliber or not.


Follow Derek on Twitter @mcvay34

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Bill Belichick's Success Against Mahomes Continues Despite Loss to Chiefs
Bill Belichick's Success Against Mahomes Continues Despite Loss to Chiefs
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