Now? Perhaps it still will be an excellent game. But nothing about it now is normal, and the degree of difficulty for the Patriots has risen exponentially in the past couple of days, since news came Saturday morning that quarterback Cam Newton had tested positive for COVID-19.
The NFL decided Sunday morning to reschedule the game for Monday night, presuming there are not more positive tests for the virus in the interim. So the Patriots will fly to Kansas City Monday morning, without their dynamic quarterback, to take on the defending champions and the most electrifying player in the league in Patrick (Don’t Call Me Pat) Mahomes.
No, this is not ideal. Is anything these days?
The circumstances weren’t nearly as alarming when the teams met a year ago, but they were unusual in their own way. Remember? When the Chiefs visited Gillette in Week 14, there was suspense before the game as to whether their equipment would arrive on time. It finally did show up, two hours before kickoff, and the Chiefs, undistracted by the silly situation, showed up, too, holding off the Patriots, 23-16. Perhaps that win forecasted what was to come a little less than two months later, when the franchise collected its first Super Bowl win since the 1969 season.
I promise!!! I was just thinking the same thing https://t.co/1z1XNbnDa0— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) October 4, 2020
Since Mathieu and Mahomes began playing football, they’ve gotten into a routine on what they do on a game day. In addition to that, they have a specific schedule for themselves that allows them to be prepared for a game on Sunday.
Though, with COVID-19 becoming an issue, both of them will have to adjust to the climate of this year’s peculiar season. Instead of waking on Sunday and getting ready for a game, Mathieu and Mahomes will likely be watching the games with the rest of us.
The weather in Kansas City is supposed to be sunny with a high of 60 degrees when the Chiefs were supposed to face the Patriots on Sunday. Sadly, neither Mathieu nor Mahomes will get a chance to suit up on Sunday due to the unexpected events that have taken place in recent days.
Around the NFL
Why the Bills won
Buffalo’s defense got three key defensive stops during the second half. And while it allowed the Raiders to put together several lengthy drives, the defense forced three Daniel Carlson field goals while holding the Raiders to just 2-of-4 red zone efficiency. The Bills also received big plays from Diggs, John Brown, Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley. Davis and Beasley each caught first-half touchdown passes, while Brown’s incredible 14-yard catch set up the Bills’ first score of the second half.
Why the Raiders lost
The Raiders, as they did a week ago in New England, lost the turnover ratio to the Bills, 2-0. The Raiders also struggled to get their running game going, as Josh Jacobs rushed for just 48 yards on 15 carries. Carr also had several misfires, including an overthrow of Zay Jones that would have extended a second-half drive. Defensively, Las Vegas allowed the Bills to convert on over 50% of their third down opportunities. They also failed to force a turnover after forcing just one during last week’s loss to the Patriots.
Things That Made Me Giddy
Tom Brady Settles the Ship, Spreads the Wealth: After a rocky start, and despite the absence of Chris Godwin and mid-game departure of O.J. Howard, Tom Brady made good on his promise to throw a touchdown pass to everyone in the greater Tampa area on Sunday (if he did make such a promise). With their protection issues sorted out, Brady went 15-for-17 for 263 and three touchdowns in the second half as Tampa pulled out a shootout victory. On the day as a whole, he threw five touchdowns to five different receivers, none of them a member of the Gronkowski family.
A Reminder The Odell Beckham Jr. Is a Difference-Maker: Maybe a gadget play TD and another score against an utterly overmatched corner in the red zone are the kind of plays you can get from any quality starting receiver, but this game-sealing touchdown run is a huge loss of yardage for a lot of playmakers, and a modest gain for the good ones. Beckham is still as good as it gets with the ball in his hands.
Loser: The Big-Lead-Blowing Lions
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the ongoing battle between the Falcons and the Lions to be the NFL’s Kings of Choking. The Falcons have a flair for the dramatic, with massive, impossible-to-believe blown leads; the Lions are workmanlike, making blown leads a part of their day, like catching the bus in the morning. After the Falcons blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead for the second-straight week last week, I anointed them the Choking Champs.
But Sunday, the Lions reminded us what they’re made of. They quickly scored the first 14 points of the game, with Matt Stafford sandwiching a Drew Brees interception with two touchdown drives. After that, the Lions allowed five consecutive touchdowns to the Saints, turning a 14-0 lead into a 35-14 deficit.
Moments after the Los Angeles Rams secured a 17-9 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Giants wide receiver Golden Tate made eye contact, then engaged in a fight near the 50-yard line.
Punches were thrown, though it was unclear who threw the first one. Both players went down on the turf as teammates, coaches and staff broke up the fight.
In addition to the on-field scuffle, Ramsey was waiting outside the Giants’ locker room for Tate after they had left the field, a source told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. There was not, however, a second confrontation, the source said.
Nick Foles, Chicago Bears
Chicago thought it solved its quarterback woes by benching Mitch Trubisky and starting Foles. There’s no doubt the Bears don’t win in Week 3 without Foles’ incredible comeback. He is an upgrade over Trubisky, but in the same way getting punched in the stomach is less painful than getting hit by a car. That was evident in Week 4.
Before the final drive, when the Indianapolis Colts turned to a prevent defense, Foles’ stats were ugly. He completed 18-of-34 attempts for 159 passing yards, one interception and an awful 53.4 quarterback rating. Everyone likes to focus on Foles’ Super Bowl heroics, but remember how happy the Jacksonville Jaguars were to get rid of him this offseason. On a short week, we’re not expecting good things from Foles on Thursday Night Football.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
You might have wondered if it was the first time an NFL team had played on consecutive Monday night games — and reasonably so. Ever since the Monday Night Football series began in 1970, the league has avoided scheduling the same team to play on back-to-back Mondays.
But it isn’t the first time it’s happened because of unforeseen circumstances.
In the early morning hours of December 12, 2010, the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsed under the weight of 17 inches of snow.
The Minnesota Vikings had been scheduled to play a home game against the New York Giants that day. With their stadium unavailable — and not enough time to clear that much snow from the field at the University of Minnesota’s nearby outdoor stadium — the NFL moved the game to Monday night in Detroit.
A tweet to make you think
If the Chiefs do play on Monday, they could move Thursday at Buffalo to Friday and have the same number of days for the next three games.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 4, 2020