Patriots

Patriots-Chiefs Madden simulation: Pats D can't contain Patrick Mahomes

Patriots-Chiefs Madden simulation: Pats D can't contain Patrick Mahomes

Sometimes, Madden simulations can be spot-on. Other times, they don't turn out to be anything remotely close to what actually happens on the football field.

Patriots fans will hope for the latter on Sunday.

We simulated the much-anticipated Patriots-Chiefs matchup on "Madden 20," and the results weren't exactly kind to New England. The simulation predicts the Pats offense's struggles will continue in the first quarter, but it'll turn a corner in quarters 2 through 4.

Unfortunately, the Patriots' usually-stingy defense didn't fare as well vs. the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs offense.

Here's how it all went down:

PASSING

Patrick Mahomes was nearly perfect in this one as he lit up the Patriots secondary all game long. The 2018 NFL MVP tossed four touchdowns (three in the first quarter) to keep this one out of reach for Tom Brady and the Pats offense.

The beginning of this game was disastrous for Brady as he tossed two interceptions in the first quarter alone, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller. Other than the abysmal start, though, the 42-year-old QB did his part by completing 32 of 46 pass attempts for 413 yards and three TDs. The third INT came as time expired in the fourth quarter.

RUSHING

Neither team had much luck on the ground in this game. Chiefs running back Damien Williams was the only remotely effective player out of the backfield, carrying the ball 17 times for 71 yards.

Patriots RB Sony Michel had a miserable game with 12 carries for a mere 26 yards.

NOTE: The simulation was done before Williams was ruled out with a rib injury.

RECEIVING

The one bright spot in this game for the Patriots was the performance of their wide receivers. The Tom Brady-Mohamed Sanu connection was strong, as Sanu reeled in eight catches for 117 yards and a TD. Rookie wideout N'Keal Harry caught the second TD of his NFL career, and tight end Matt LaCosse added a score of his own.

On the Chiefs side, there was no stopping star TE Travis Kelce. He caught two of Mahomes' four TDs and tallied eight catches for 97 yards. Receivers Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson found the end zone as well.

DEFENSE

This was by far the worst game of the season for the Patriots' vaunted defense, which only forced one turnover in the simulation. The pass rush was virtually non-existent as linebacker Kyle Van Noy was the only Pats player to notch a sack on Mahomes.

It was a different story for the Chiefs D as Kendall Fuller, Morris Claiborne and Damien Wilson each picked off Tom Brady. Kansas City also sacked Brady four times.

TEAM STATS

SCORING SUMMARY

FIRST QUARTER

  • K Harrison Butker 24-yard FG (3-0 KC)
  • QB Patrick Mahomes 13-yard TD pass to TE Travis Kelce (10-0 KC)
  • QB Patrick Mahomes 1-yard TD pass to WR Tyreek Hill (17-0 KC)
  • CB Kendall Fuller interception return for TD (24-0 KC)

SECOND QUARTER

  • QB Tom Brady 6-yard TD pass to WR N'Keal Harry (24-7 KC)
  • QB Tom Brady 1-yard TD pass to WR Mohamed Sanu (24-14 KC)

THIRD QUARTER

  • QB Patrick Mahomes 2-yard TD pass to TE Travis Kelce (31-14 KC)
  • QB Patrick Mahomes 58-yard TD pass to WR Demarcus Robinson (38-14 KC)
  • K Nick Folk 18-yard FG (38-17 KC)

FOURTH QUARTER

  • QB Tom Brady 8-yard TD pass to TE Matt LaCosse (38-24)
  • K Harrison Butker 22-yard FG (41-24)
     

FINAL SCORE: Chiefs 41, Patriots 24

Kickoff for the real thing is set for 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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Here's why a lot of Patriots recent draft picks have Senior Bowl experience

Here's why a lot of Patriots recent draft picks have Senior Bowl experience

Bill Belichick was there. Josh McDaniels was there. The Patriots had a large contingent down in Mobile, Ala. for this week's Senior Bowl practices (the game will air Saturday on NFL Network at 2:30 p.m.), which should come as no surprise.

Just look at how the Patriots have drafted of late. 

In 2019, they selected Jarrett Stidham, Byron Cowart and Jake Bailey -- all of whom participated in the Senior Bowl. They also signed undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers, who played in the game. 

In 2018, they grabbed Isaiah Wynn in the first round, Duke Dawson, Ja'Whaun Bentley and Braxton Berrios after they'd competed in the Senior Bowl.

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Three of their four draft picks from 2017, plus two undrafted rookies, were in the Senior Bowl. 

From 2013-16, they brought aboard 20 Senior Bowl participants as rookies.

"The great thing about the Senior Bowl is that you're seeing some of the best players," Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said last spring. 

"There have actually been some underclassmen who have been incorporated into that mix. So you're seeing them against good competition and it's a different dynamic or different situation that they've been placed in. You're kind of taking them out of their environment that they've been in and kind of giving them something new and seeing how they handle it against good people."

The small-school players -- or the players who are asked to do something they didn't do much as collegians -- are the ones who have an opportunity to really land on radars during Senior Bowl work. For the Patriots, who constantly harp on the benefit of having seen players work against great competition on a regular basis when they hail from an SEC program, seeing some of the best in the country work against one another matters.

"It’s one thing if they do it against a lower-level team," Caserio said back in 2016, when asked about the Senior Bowl. "I mean, look, not all teams are created equal. Not all conferences are created equal. That’s just a fact. We can’t control that. So when you can see them actually play against really good players or good players that are at a comparable level of competition that they’re going to see every Sunday, that has to be a part of [the evaluation], no question."

The next year, the Patriots took two Senior Bowlers from smaller programs: Youngstown State's Derek Rivers and Troy's Antonio Garcia. 

"Where [the Senior Bowl] probably helps a little bit is players on a lower level that maybe haven’t competed against the same level of competition," Caserio said back in 2017. "Obviously, they’re making a big jump. . . Garcia was down there. That’s going to be a big jump in competition because this is what they’re going to be playing against. 

"With all due respect to whatever conference Youngstown State is in, there’s not a lot of NFL players in that conference. I mean, that’s just the way that it is. You’re going to have to see him against NFL competition, which the Senior Bowl is usually a pretty good indication of that because you’re talking about the top seniors in the country. It’s a part of the process. You’re not making a decision based off of that, but maybe a player who doesn’t have as much experience against that level, you’re going to see how he fares, and then you just kind of continue to move forward."

Some small-school prospects who may have caught Belichick's eye this week? 

Dayton tight end Adam Trautman was already considered one of the better tight ends in the draft class and seemed to only help his stock.

Safety Kyle Dugger -- who hails from Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University -- impressed. Ditto for Division III offensive lineman Ben Bartch out of Saint John's, who saw rushers from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Ole Miss and other high-end programs and reportedly held his own.

Perhaps the most recent success story out of Senior Bowl week for the Patriots wasn't with a small-school prospect, though. It might've been with Shaq Mason, a guard coming out of a run-heavy system at Georgia Tech. The Patriots simply hadn't seen him do much in the way of pass protection for the Yellow Jackets.

But Mason got to the Senior Bowl, took to the coaching he received, and the Patriots took notice. 

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"The thing I’ll say about Shaq," Belichick said after drafting Mason in 2015, "is just watching him at the Senior Bowl, I mean it was only one week, but he made a huge improvement just in those, whatever it was, four or five practices, whatever it was down there. His stance is different. You could see each day progressively how he was taking to the coaching down there and his footwork and his hand placement and his body position. I know it was basic. It wasn’t like it was a big scheme thing at the Senior Bowl, but just doing things on a daily basis better than the day before, looking more comfortable doing them. And it was different than what they did at Georgia Tech."

Big school. Small school. Everyone had something to gain in Mobile this week. And that includes the Patriots. That's why -- with more time off this year than recent years -- they were well represented down there.


 

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

The New England Patriots reportedly have made an addition to their coaching staff.

According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, they've hired ex-Los Angeles Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

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Fisch's official role with the Patriots offense is to be determined. But now that there's an opening at wide receivers coach with Joe Judge joining the New York Giants, Fisch could be a candidate for the job.

He brings plenty of experience to the table having coached Denver Broncos wide receivers in 2008 and Michigan receivers from 2015-16. Fisch also coached Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks in 2010 and was the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator from 2013-14.