Pa­tri­ots in­vest ex­tra prep on recipe to slow Chiefs

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Bill Belichick did his patented best to down­play any ex­cite­ment gen­er­ated by a matchup his New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots face Sun­day night against the un­de­feated Kansas City Chiefs in Foxbor­ough, Mass.

Asked if the AFC show­down had a spe­cial feel to it, the Pa­tri­ots coach dead­panned: “Feels like we’re play­ing Kansas City.’’

With that, how­ever, Belichick recog­nised the Chiefs’ po­tent of­fen­sive strengths, fo­cus­ing on the en­tire ensem­ble rather than just the daz­zling pres­ence of Pa­trick Ma­homes, Kansas City’s first-year start­ing quar­ter­back.

“It’s re­ally for­tu­nate that we’ve had a cou­ple of ex­tra days to work on Kansas City,’’ said Belichick, whose Pats (3-2) are com­ing off a Thurs­day night vic­tory over In­di­anapo­lis. “They give you a lot of prob­lems with their scheme and the way they’re coached.’’

Throw it all to­gether, es­pe­cially with the way Ma­homes can throw it, and the Chiefs (5-0) are ca­pa­ble of burn­ing op­po­nents from just about any­where on the field.

“You don’t want to give it all to ‘em in one play,’’ Belichick said.

With an ex­tra day to spend on Ma­homes, Belichick did come away im­pressed.

“He can throw it out of the sta­dium,” he said.

Added safety Devin McCourty: “It’s a team that doesn’t even need to get to sec­ond down a lot of times. You’ve got to force them to move the ball (grad­u­ally) down­field, but they can do that too.”

The last 10 quar­ter­backs with 10 ca­reer starts or fewer when pit­ted against New Eng­land went 0-10.

Such his­toric trends seem to have lit­tle bear­ing on Ma­homes.

Kansas City be­came the first vis­i­tor at Den­ver in 56 games to rally from a deficit of 10 points or more and beat the Bron­cos, do­ing so in Week 4 on a Mon­day night. Also, dur­ing their tor­rid start, the Chiefs won in Pitts­burgh for the first time since 1986. Last week, Ma­homes ended a streak of 15 games in which Jack­sonville had not al­lowed a 300-yard passer.

As good as Ma­homes has been get­ting the Chiefs off to a fast start, his coun­ter­part has a much more ex­ten­sive list of achieve­ments.

That hap­pens to be Tom Brady, who will op­pose a Kansas City de­fense ranked last in the NFL in yards al­lowed (461.8).

“He is one of the great­est quar­ter­backs, if not the great­est, to ever play,’’ Ma­homes said. “I am go­ing against their de­fense, but as a team we are go­ing to go in and try to com­pete.’’

Each team has al­lowed just six sacks, which is tied for first in the league.

Ma­homes had not thrown an in­ter­cep­tion un­til last week, when he was picked twice by Jack­sonville. The Pa­tri­ots have an in­ter­cep­tion in all five games us­ing schemes Belichick read­ily changes.

“He is the best at that,’’ said Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “He mixes and matches.’’

The Chiefs will be with­out start­ing right guard Lau­rent Du­ver­nay-Tardif, who frac­tured his fibula and suf­fered torn an­kle lig­a­ments in the Jack­sonville win. The sec­ondary also re­mains thin, prompt­ing Kansas City to work out wide re­ceiver Mar­cus Kemp as an emer­gency safety, a po­si­tion where vet­eran Eric Berry has yet to play be­cause of an in­jured heel. Line­backer Justin Hous­ton is also doubt­ful.

Run­ning back Sony Michel (knee) and wide re­ceiver Chris Ho­gan (thigh) were new ad­di­tions this week to the Pa­tri­ots list of nine who were lim­ited in prac­tice on Wed­nes­day.

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