A few random thoughts while I figure out which BBQ joint to hit in Kansas City...
- Despite the storylines coming out of the New England locker room, few thought the Patriots would lose against the Chargers. Did most people — including their own fans — think this was going to be a close game? Yes, absolutely.
- I didn't hear from anyone in the runup to the game to challenge the notion this would be a battle or that the Chargers entered the game better than the Patriots in every area except special teams and offensive line. Now? Everyone's an expert.
- What'd we get wrong?
- First of all, sometimes you just lay an egg, as the Chargers said they did in their locker room last night. Things have a tendency to steamroll on the road against a good home team, especially when you've gone coast to coast twice in a week. And just because you get blown out, it does not mean you're not a good team or worthy opponent. It just means you weren't that day. Did anyone think the Titans were better than the Patriots after their 24-point victory in November? What about the Ravens in the '12 playoffs? Or ... in Kansas City in '14? Of course not.
- The big thing was most of us, and I'm very much included in that, underestimated how stagnant and unimaginative Gus Bradley's scheme was. They showed much better ability on the short passes against the Chiefs this season. And their approach against the Ravens showed some imagination — it looked like Anthony Lynn had forced some adjustments on Bradley. WRONG. It was as vanilla a Cover 3 as you'll ever see — Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels helped it be so predictable — and there were zero adjustments. I mean, how can you not go man at some point and go for broke?
- The other thing was we all knew the Chargers went with light personnel and were terrible at linebacker (that's something we got right) and you'd figured they'd come out that way. But you figured they'd have a ready answer should the Patriots run the ball well to start the game. They decidedly did not have an answer.
- I think an underrated factor in this game when we view the film tonight will be the work done by Devin McCourty and others against the backs out of the backfield. Phillip Rivers basically looks deep and then dumps off — or goes quickly to the checkdown against free runners — but the Patriots seemed to have a very good answer there that made Rivers hold it a little bit longer and allow more pressure.
- Forget Brady or Gronk or Edelman ... the group that needed the bye worse than anyone was the offensive line. Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon had been wheezing down the stretch ... they looked great on Sunday. The offensive line just dominated that game.
- A few early thoughts on the Chiefs, looking back at the regular season game...
- The Patriots have completely changed in scheme since the first matchup. Can they run the amoeba against the Chiefs considering all they have to worry about with that offense?
- Brady didn't have much pressure against him in the first game (Justin Houston and Eric Reid were out), but the Patriots got less on Patrick Mahomes.
- The Patriots' secondary was terrible in that one. They've come a long way.
Time to hit the links...
Bedard: Tom Brady, Josh McDaniels send another scheme, coordinator into irrelevance
Price: If the Patriots look like the Patriots again, it’s bad news for the rest of the league
Patriots already have their sights on rematch with high-powered Chiefs
Even with few surprises, Philip Rivers, Chargers offense left scratching their heads against Patriots defense
BSJ Game Report: Patriots 41, Chargers 28 – Complete domination on way to KC
Podcast: Price talks Patriots-Chargers with Amy Lawrence of CBS Sports Radio 01.14.19
First and 10: Wrapping up Patriots’ thunderous playoff win over Los Angeles
Live Q&A: Overreaction Monday with Price after divisional win over Chargers, 2 p.m.
Photo gallery: Adam Richins’ top shots from Chargers-Patriots
#StayCovered Defensive Play of the Game – Albert McClellan’s fumble recovery
Podcast: Bedard on win over Chargers with Patriots Postgame Show 01.13.19
Video: Chargers react to blowout loss against Patriots: ‘It was just overall a bad day’
Video: Devin McCourty on those doubting Patriots this postseason: ‘We see it’
Video – Julian Edelman on Bill Belichick: ‘He’s the old wise owl – we just kind of listen’
Video – Stephon Gilmore on his interception: ‘I had to make up (my error)’
Video – Duron Harmon on the Chiefs: ‘An explosive offense, on all levels’
Video: Tom Brady on proving doubters wrong – ‘I just like to win’
Video: Bill Belichick – ‘We made plays in every area, played with a lot of energy’
Patriots advance to eighth consecutive AFC title game with a 41-28 blowout of Chargers
2 p.m.: BSJ Live Q&A — Price's Overreaction Monday
7:30 p.m.: NBA — Celtics at Nets (NBCSB)
7:30 p.m.: NHL — Canadiens at Bruins, NESN (Robb)
7 p.m.: MCBK — Holy Cross at Bucknell (CBSSN)
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If Tom's talking about how the team has played on the road ... then, yes.
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