FOXBORO, Mass. — Injuries forced two New England Patriots newcomers to play larger-than-expected roles in Thursday’s upset loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Danny Amendola’s concussion — coupled with Malcolm Mitchell’s move to injured reserve shortly before kickoff — forced Phillip Dorsett to line up as the Patriots’ third wide receiver late in the game, and Dont’a Hightower’s knee injury made the Patriots find a new edge defender opposite Trey Flowers. The man they chose for that job was Cassius Marsh, who, like Dorsett, was acquired just five days earlier.
Marsh’s Patriots debut could have turned out better.
The former Seattle Seahawks defensive end was on the wrong end of one of the biggest plays of the night: a 78-yard touchdown reception by running back Kareem Hunt early in the fourth quarter that put the Chiefs ahead for good en route to a 42-27 victory.
Marsh did spell Hightower for a series earlier in the game, but there’s a good chance he would not have been in the game at that point had the star linebacker not gone down. Hunt was Marsh’s man on the play, but he simply couldn’t keep up with the rookie, who finished with 246 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns.
Speaking with reporters in the locker room, a crestfallen Marsh, who also had a running into the kicker penalty in the game, didn’t make excuses for his play.
“Hightower is a great player,” he said. I just got here, but I know that he’s a vital part of the defense. But the rest of the defense has to make up for it. Part of that being me. I just have to be better. We all have to be better, and I know that we’ll go and watch the film and work hard in practice every single day.
“I’m going to start getting myself better right now. I don’t accept that (result) for one second. I’m not OK with losing, ever. I’m not OK with being beat, I want to be great. I know this team wants to be great, and I’ll be better.”
Marsh played 24 snaps on defense in addition to his 32 on special teams. He said the Patriots weren’t surprised by the Chiefs’ speed on offense, as Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce suggested after the game.
“No, absolutely not,” he said. “I’ve played these guys before. I know who they are. We just have to be better. I have to be better, and I know I have faith in these guys. I have faith in myself. I know we will turn this (expletive) around and do what it takes to be better and get W’s like the Pats always do.”
Dorsett was a non-factor in the loss, finishing with zero catches on one target in 18 offensive snaps.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images