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New England Patriots most to blame for Week 15 loss to Chiefs

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Was anyone really surprised? The New England Patriots encountered yet another setback with a defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15 of the 2023 NFL season.

 

The Patriots’ offensive struggles became evident as they attempted to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Unfortunately, New England ultimately fell short in their quest for victory.

So, who bears the brunt of responsibility for this disheartening loss? Let’s delve into the key factors that contributed to the defeat.

The Patriots were unable to sustain their momentum,

succumbing to a 27-17 loss against the defending champions at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

In terms of a broader perspective, the game didn’t offer many revelations about these two teams

that we weren’t already aware of. Kansas City is honing its execution for another Super Bowl push. Meanwhile,

the Patriots’ narrative revolves around plans throughout the organization.

From this standpoint, the outcomes of this game align with everyone’s expectations.

Sadly, it was yet another reminder of how New England falls short of the Chiefs’ caliber.

Yes, this was even when facing a somewhat weakened Kansas City team.

Don’t miss: Chiefs snap 2-game skid with 27-17 win over Patriots

While the offense exhibited a strong start in the first half, it hit a roadblock during the final two quarters of the game.

Although the defensive effort wasn’t flawless, the unit did enough to provide the Patriots with a fighting chance.

The notable distinction lay in Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense consistently putting points on the board. Even amid stalled drives,

they managed to navigate down the field and score crucial points when needed.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for Bailey Zappe and the Patriots.

 

Here we will look at the New England Patriots who are most to blame for their Week 15 loss vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

Bailey Zappe

Bailey Zappe faces justified criticism for this loss. For the second consecutive game, the offense floundered in the second half.

Zappe, despite a solid start, was the face of that second half despair.

Admittedly, he faced challenges, including an ailing offensive line and a shortage of receiving weapons.

 

Following an impressive first half, the offense regressed in the last two quarters with Zappe at the helm.

This recurring issue is becoming all too familiar in New England.

Recall that he put up a 17-of-19 start for 141 yards and one touchdown.

However, Zappe’s final stats for the game stood at 180 yards,

one touchdown, and one interception. It was just night and day

In the final two quarters, he completed six of 12 passes for 39 yards,

with one interception, and narrowly avoided another potential pick.

While pressure played a role, Zappe also shoulders some blame for his declining play.

 

Kyle Dugger

Kyle Dugger is usually a reliable performer.

Having said that, he finds himself on this list due to a disappointing showing in this game.

Dugger’s intensity and effectiveness as a downhill defender are unquestionable.

However, his struggles in pass coverage have become harder to overlook.

Against an offense heavily reliant on Patrick Mahomes’ improvisation, Dugger needed to step up. Sadly, that did not happen.

This game marked one of his least impressive performances of the season.

 

Chad Ryland

Chad Ryland was already under scrutiny for consecutive missed 35-yard field goals in previous losses.

Unfortunately, he continued to struggle in this game. Coach Bill Belichick had openly acknowledged Ryland’s subpar performance.

In Sunday’s matchup against the Chiefs, the rookie fourth-round draft pick missed a crucial 41-yard field goal attempt. He left points off the board in the first half.

With a prior workout for kickers in November, the Patriots might contemplate a change following Ryland’s latest substandard performance.

 

Offensive Line Challenges

Losing Cole Strange to a knee injury was undoubtedly a setback.

That said, it doesn’t excuse the Patriots’ offensive line struggles. The ground game faltered, and Zappe faced four sacks.

When the Chiefs intensified their pressure, the New England offensive line crumbled.

This was particularly evident at the left tackle position with McDermott filling in for an injured Trent Brown.

He encountered significant problems before further complications arose with Vederian Lowe taking over.

 

Looking Ahead

The New England Patriots’ Week 15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs unveiled a series of challenges that contributed to their 11th loss of the season.

Bailey Zappe faced scrutiny for the offense’s second-half struggles.

He had issues in execution and decision-making evident. Kyle Dugger’s difficulties in pass coverage were unexpected but highlighted the need for improvement in certain defensive aspects.

Chad Ryland’s kicking woes added another layer of concern. This will potentially prompt the team to reconsider its options.

The offensive line, though hindered by injuries, also grappled with protection issues and contributed to the team’s overall struggles.

As the Patriots reflect on this disappointing performance, addressing these key areas will be crucial in their pursuit of ending the 2023 NFL season on a bright note.

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