Patriots

Patriots vs. Chiefs Notes: Tom Brady's elbow injury 'going to be a thing'

Patriots vs. Chiefs Notes: Tom Brady's elbow injury 'going to be a thing'

FOXBORO -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady showed up to his postgame press conference Sunday with a good-sized wrap over his right elbow, but he doesn't expect the injury to prevent him from playing in next week's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I just got hit right on my elbow. It's fine," Brady admitted after his team's 23-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. "It'll probably be on the injury report, but I'll be there next Sunday."

Brady has been on the injury report with a right elbow issue for the last couple weeks, but he hasn't missed any snaps because of it.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Brady's practice time has been limited due to the injury and is "going to be thing" to monitor down the stretch.

The 42-year-old quarterback completed 19 of 36 pass attempts for just 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception versus the Chiefs. He's averaging only 225 passing yards per game over the last four weeks, and his completion percentage hasn't been over 60 percent in any of those matchups.

The Patriots offense has scored just 17.6 points over the last five games, and while Brady deserves his fair share of blame for these struggles, the entire unit has to play a lot better for the situation to improve. New England's only two touchdowns against the Chiefs were the result of a flea-flicker and good field position that resulted from a blocked punt. That's not good enough to win games in the regular season, let alone the playoffs.

Here are some other notes from the Patriots' loss to the Chiefs:

-- Brady isn't going to win many foot races, but he still has the ability to escape the pocket and pick up crucial first downs. His 17-yard run in the fourth quarter was a prime example.

-- The Patriots saw their 21-game home win streak snapped. In fact, with the Chiefs leading 17-7 in the second quarter, the Patriots trailed by double digits at home for the first time since the 2017 AFC Championship Game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. New England won that game, but similar heroics weren't in the cards versus a Chiefs offense that scores the third-most points per game. 

New England's streak was tied for the third-longest in league history among those that include playoff wins.

-- Another historic streak ended Sunday. The Patriots were 42-0 at home during the regular season against AFC opponents when Tom Brady and Julian Edelman both played. 

-- New England's defense has given up more big scoring plays to Kansas City than any other opponent since the start of the 2017 season. 

The Chiefs took a 10-7 lead on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman. Kansas City converted on 3rd-and-19 and 2nd-and-25 before Hardman's score.

--The Patriots received almost no production from two of their three first picks over the last two drafts. Second-year running back Sony Michel carried the ball five times and tallied eight rushing yards. He did not receive a single carry in the second half and played nine snaps overall. Rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry caught only one pass for 12 yards and played two offensive snaps.

--Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman passed Troy Brown for fourth place on the team's career receiving yards leaderboard. Brown tallied 6,366 receiving yards in his 15-year career with the Pats.

--Patriots punter Jake Bailey has enjoyed a tremendous rookie season.

--Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce ran for a touchdown in the first half, but he also made some history as a pass-catcher in the second half.

--Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland intercepted a Brady pass in the first quarter and broke up the Patriots' pass attempt on fourth down late in the fourth quarter that sealed Kansas City's victory.

Breeland sees Sunday's win over the Patriots as a significant step for the Chiefs.

"Oh yeah, it's taking us in the right direction," Breeland said. "This is the type of game that we wanted to come play to really test where we're at. We've had our ups and downs throughout the season. We felt like this was our point that really can help get us over that hump and propel us to where we want to be."

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Patriots Talk Podcast: Youth - that means draft success - will have to fuel Pats' reboot

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Patriots Talk Podcast: Youth - that means draft success - will have to fuel Pats' reboot

It's simple, really. If the Patriots are going to avoid staying home again after the Wild Card Round of the playoffs next season and seasons to come, they've got to get younger.

And to get younger, they've got to be more successful in the draft.

In the latest edition of Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast, Curran and Phil Perry focus on the last time New England was sent home this early in the playoffs a decade ago and if there can be lessons learned from that roster reboot in 2010. 

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The biggest issue confronting the Pats this time around is their age, which averages 31.6 years old (a 42-year-old quarterback skews that a little, of course). By comparison, the Super Bowl 54 opponents, the Kansas City Chiefs (26.8) and the San Francisco 49ers (26.6) are considerably younger.

Click here to listen and subscribe to Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: 

The age factor is why, as Perry pointed out, "the pressure is on for them to hit not only in this 2020 draft, where they do have 12 picks, they have no second-round pick, but 12 shots at the dartboard. Last year, they had 10 [picks] and nine guys are still with the team.

"It's clear they have told themselves, 'We need to get younger. We need to start hitting here if we want to sustain this success.' The draft is the lifeblood of any team."

The 2018 team and its victory in the Super Bowl over the Rams last February worked to hide some of those flaws from recent low-yield draft classes.

"They had a great quarterback when they needed him. They had a Hall of Fame quarterback when they needed him. The defense looked tremendous we know how that story played out," Perry said. 

What kind of draft yield are we talking about to fuel the next generation of Patriots' success?

Curran goes on to rattle off the names from 2008-2012 drafts (Mayo, Slater, Edelman, Vollmer, Butler, Chung, Gronkowski, McCourty) that fueled the second half of the Pats dynasty.

"I have upwards of 30 names from 2008 to 2012 who were contributing players to the Patriots. I'm not even talking a little contributing, but massive contributing...," Curran said.  

There's also a discussion of how the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady will impact the 2020 draft strategy. Listen and subscribe to Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

 

That 617 Life Podcast: Patriots' ties to a Pats-less Super Bowl

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That 617 Life Podcast: Patriots' ties to a Pats-less Super Bowl

The Patriots may have been missing from the NFL's Championship Sunday, but that didn't stop them from being mentioned and having their former personnel play prominent roles in the AFC and NFC Championship Games.

Whether it was former Pats linebacker Mike Vrabel coaching the Tennessee Titans against the Kansas City Chiefs or former New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo helping the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers to reach Super Bowl 54, the Patriots continue to be a talked-about team. 

On the latest edition of the "That 617 Life" podcast, Leroy Irvin, Shanda Foster and Cerrone Battle discussed how the Pats still loomed over the games on Sunday.

"You can not say anything bad about the Patriots because we are always constantly producing talent," Foster said. "I think this is the perfect testament to Bill Belichick."

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Battle said it speaks to the dominance of the Patriots the past two decades that connections to their former players and staff are now all over the league.

"That's what happens when you win," Battle said. "When you win, everybody wants a piece. They want your waterboy. Look at the new head coach of the Giants [Joe Judge, the former Patriots special teams and receivers coach]?... When you're good for 20 years eventually you're going to have your roots all over the league. After years and years of success, I'm not shocked by it."

Irvin and Foster said instead of lamenting a rare NFL Final Four without New England, Pats fans should be grateful.

"I wish Patriot Nation would grow up," Irvin said. "By that I mean I'm tired of seeing on social media people just crying and complaining, 'Oh it's boring without the Patriots.' We've had almost two decades of excellence. We're not there. Get over it."

Said Foster, "I was grateful more than anything. Filled with gratitude. We may never see a run like this again."

In his "Hot Takes and Cold Cuts" segment, Battle says those crowning the Super Bowl 54 opponents as the next dynasties might want to pump the brakes a little. 

"First thing I heard [after the games] is, 'Kansas City they're gonna be around for years and San Francisco they're gonna be around for a long time. They're gonna be contenders forever,' " Battle said. "That was the story all day. 'What is anybody gonna do about these teams next year?' What are they gonna do next year? Not even worry about them. Why? Because this is the Not For Long League. The NFL. Every year, the teams that were hot the year before are never guaranteed to be hot the year after that. Unless you're the Patriots."

The crew also gives their reactions to the new Aaron Hernandez Netflix documentary. It's all in this week's "That 617 Life" podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. Click here to listen and subscribe.