New England Patriots: A Closer Look

The New England Patriots have long been known to be a prolific offensive team, at least over the past decade or so during quarterback Tom Brady’s reign under center.

The 37-year old quarterback is in his 15th NFL season and while he’s a first ballot hall of famer once he decides to hang it up, the 2014 season hasn’t seen that same kind of success we’ve come to know from the Patriots.

The Patriots come into the Monday Night matchup with the Chiefs with a 2-1 record. They opened up their season by falling to the Miami Dolphins 33-20, and then had back-to-back wins against the Oakland Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders.

Coming into this season, Brady had averaged 254 yards per game, completing 63.4 percent of his passes at 7.46 yards per attempt over the regular season in his career.

Right now, Brady is averaging just 210 yards per game, completing just 58.8 percent of his passes at 5.54 yards per attempt, which ranks 30th in the NFL.

The Patriots offense averages 4.3 yards per play, which ranks last in the NFL.

Through three games, there are only two players on the Patriots roster that have more than 55 yards receiving. Receiver Julian Edelman leads the team with 22 catches for 260 yards and one touchdown, and tight end Rob Gronkowski has 11 catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

In comparison, the Chiefs have five players with at least 55 yards receiving in Travis Kelce (166), Donnie Avery (110), Anthony Fasano (91), Dwayne Bowe (72) and Joe McKnight (64).

Brady has completed just one pass in 13 attempts at 20 yards or beyond.

The big play hasn’t been a part of their offense so far this season. They have five touchdowns this season and none of them have come on a play 10 yards or longer.

The Patriots have just 31 offensive plays of 10-plus yards, which ranks 28th in the NFL. In comparison, the Chiefs have 41 plays of at least 10 yards, which ranks them 10th in the NFL and have three touchdowns that went for more than 10 yards.

A lot of the issues for the Patriots offense have seemed to come from the inability to protect Brady. They’ve given up 30 quarterback pressures and seven sacks in three games, including four sacks against the Oakland Raiders last Sunday.

The Patriots traded Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the season in return for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth round draft pick.

Brady hasn’t had time to deliver the ball down the field for those big plays, and the Chiefs defense will try and make sure that doesn’t happen on Monday night either.

Stevan Ridley leads the Patriots running game. He’s carried the ball 52 times for 176 yards (3.4 ypc) and one touchdown.

On the defensive side, the Patriots have seven sacks through three games. They’re also leading the NFL in turnover differential at plus-6.

Although most of these defensive numbers came in their Week 2 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, where they sacked former Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel six times and had four interceptions.

They have plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball, starting with the big man in the middle: nose tackle Vince Wilfork. He sets the tone for their defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the NFL in opponent passing yards (168.7) and 11th in rushing yards (104).

Led by a talented pair of defensive backs in Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis, the Patriots rank third in the NFL in long-yardage pass plays given up, only allowing six passes of at least 20 yards through three games. In this area, they trail only the Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks, who have only allowed five long-yardage pass plays this season.

The combined record of the two teams the Patriots have beaten this season is 1-5. The only Patriots loss of the season came against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 by a score of 33-20.

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