It was played on Monday instead of Sunday, and the Patriots’ quarterback was Brian Hoyer instead of Cam Newton. Chris Jones was inactive, as was Sony Michel from New England. Both teams made unforced errors and were a little out of sync as they attempted to overcome the schedule and injuries.
The result was not the most fun Chiefs game to watch, but a dominant defensive performance and a 16-point win are nothing to complain about.
Here are some of the Chiefs that stood out on Monday night:
- Rashad Fenton: We saw Fenton make several plays in the first half — including a pair of tremendous pass breakups and a tackle for loss. He played physically and showed confidence in a newly-expanded role. He battled former first-round pick N’Keal Harry, contesting every play. To start the second half, it was more of the same, as he blanketed Damiere Byrd deep down the field to end the Patriots’ opening drive. Harry did get a touchdown over Fenton, but Fenton came back with an interception to cap off a great night for the Chiefs secondary.
- Frank Clark and Taco Charlton: The old friends from Michigan brought the pass rush when the team needed it the most. Clark closed out the first half with an incredible, relentless effort to sack Hoyer and keep points off of the board. He also did his usual work in the running game, with multiple stops. Taco got to Hoyer and forced a fumble in the third quarter when the Patriots were on the Chiefs’ 10-yard line. Especially with Chris Jones out, these two were huge for Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
- Tyrann Mathieu: You could see the anger and frustration building whenever the Patriots were moving the ball. He seemed to be on the verge of a significant play through the first three quarters, building up to the pick-six that put the game out of reach. After the game, in typical fashion, The Landlord wasn’t satisfied. And that’s why he is the best.
- Juan Thornhill: Mathieu’s partner in the secondary had his best game of the young season. Thornhill delivered six tackles, a pass defensed and an interception. If he’s getting back to full strength, it’s going to be a fun year to watch this Chiefs defense.
- Tommy Townsend: We saw more of the rookie punter than we’d like to have seen this week, but he really delivered. Averaging over 60 yards per punt was helpful in the field-position battle when the Chiefs offense wasn’t hitting on all cylinders.
- Mike Pennel: The Chiefs asked a lot of Pennel this week, filling in for an injured Chris Jones against a Patriots team that wants to run the football. The big guy delivered with an impressive 10 tackles to lead the team. He’s in late-season form in only his second game back.
- Travis Kelce: He’s the league’s best tight end, in part because of his ability to run elite routes down field. He had a couple of beauties Monday, including the game’s biggest play that went for 45 yards. When his team needs a spark, Zeus always delivers.
- Mecole Hardman: Two special teams mistakes and a false start penalty got Hardman into the doghouse. He did manage a touchdown on a short pass from Patrick Mahomes, but otherwise, this was not his night. He’s yet to really show consistent development we hoped to see at this point. There’s still value in what he does, but the mistakes could outweigh the contributions in a close game.
- Darrel Williams: The Chiefs’ second running back seems to have secured his role over Darwin Thompson, but he wasn’t able to get anything going against the Patriots. His one target and one carry totaled two yards.
- Derrick Nnadi: