The New England Patriots looked like anything but a dynasty and defending champions during Thursday's 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in their home opener, and quarterback Tom Brady was not pleased.
"We have to be a lot better in a lot of areas, starting with our attitude and our competitiveness," he said, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
As Brady suggested, the Patriots did struggle in a number of areas. For one, he was outplayed by counterpart Alex Smith in the quarterback battle with Brady finishing 16-of-36 for 267 yards and zero touchdowns and the Utah product putting up a Brady-like stat line of 28-of-35 for 368 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
What's more, New England's offensive line allowed three sacks, per ESPN.com, and the defense gave up 42 points and a record-setting performance to rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Hunt tallied 148 rushing yards, 98 receiving yards and three total touchdowns—one of which was a critical 78-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter when the Patriots held a six-point lead.
According to Graham Barfield of Fantasy Guru, Hunt's 246 yards from scrimmage were an all-time record for a Week 1 rookie debut.
NFL Research noted just how bad it was for the Patriots defense:
NFL Research @NFLResearch
42 points is the most allowed by the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era2017-9-8 04:14:31
One silver lining for the Patriots was Mike Gillislee's three rushing touchdowns. If he continues to be a reliable option in the backfield and red zone, opposing defenses will have to honor the run even against Brady and the Patriots passing attack.
That will make the offense all the more dangerous, which is worrisome news for a New Orleans Saints defense that finished 31st in the league in points allowed per game last year and must face the Patriots in Week 2.
New England now has 10 days to improve its attitude and competitiveness before its Sept. 17 showdown with New Orleans.