It was an uncharacteristic outing for the Patriots on Sunday.
New England hasn’t been playing phenomenal football of late, but Gillette Stadium has been a safe haven for the Pats in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. In fact, New England entered Week 14 having never lost a regular-season game in Foxboro to an AFC opponent when both Brady and Julian Edelman played.
That streak came to a halt courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs, who managed to come out victorious despite losing the turnover battle and taking on double the number of penalties as New England. The referees certainly left their mark on the contest, but the Patriots also didn’t do themselves any favors, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
If you ask Rodney Harrison, it looks like the reigning Super Bowl champs might be pressing.
“The Patriots, they have a lot of problems. They’re in trouble,” Harrison said Sunday night on NBC. “They have to try to fabricate to try to create some offense. They’re very frustrated and you can start to see that Tom Brady, he’s just not the same player.”
Harrison continued: “When I’m looking at the Patriots, it’s almost a sense of panic. You see Tom Brady blow up last week and you see the frustration. Even you look at Coach Belichick, he’s blowing up and swearing and things like that. You’re starting to see a lot of panic from the guys in charge.”
Yes, the Patriots have quite a bit to figure out over the course of the home stretch, but let’s not act like it’s doomsday in New England. The Patriots still control their own destiny as it pertains to securing a first-round bye, and the toughest game left on their regular-season schedule — Week 16 against the Buffalo Bills — will be played at home. The stage still is set for New England to host a divisional-round matchup, and as we saw last season, anything can happen in conference title games.
So while the Patriots might not be the odds-on favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIV, we probably shouldn’t count them out just yet.