The Patriots put up more than a good fight on Monday night in Kansas City.
I know most people think NFL players are dispensable robots built specifically to play football and put up fantasy points, but what the Patriots were asked to do on Monday is the football equivalent of pulling an all-nighter and then running a half-marathon while dodging supercharged golf carts.
Some of us were fully capable of doing that in college or in our early 20s. Add a decade or two and you're wrecked for days, maybe a week.
Football, in general and moreso in the NFL, is a game of habits and schedules. There was a reason why the Patriots went out a day early for their date with the Seahawks. There's a reason why teams fly in the day before normal road games. Players need to prepare their bodies for battle or risk the consequences. They need to be finely tuned. They need proper rest and treatment the night before, and the day of the game.
So for a veteran team like the Patriots to: Wake up at 5 a.m. Monday, hoof it to Gillette to take another round of tests, wait around for those results, board buses for 40-minute treks to two different airports, depart from Providence (another group went out of Logan to avoid possible Covid issues) at 8:55 a.m., arrive in Kansas City at 11:42 a.m. ET, drive to the hotel, get a little rest, go to the stadium and then play a game against the defending world champions ... that's asking a lot. You may not believe it, but I know it is.
(Patriots also departed after midnight ET, and were scheduled to land in Providence at 2:24 a.m.)
So for the Patriots to go into Arrowhead and do what they did for over three quarters — staring eye to eye with the defending champions before succumbing to a 26-10 loss — was a phenomenal accomplishment even if they had Cam Newton under center.
But they didn't. And that was the entire problem.
For the Patriots to trail 6-3 at halftime and 13-10 early in the third quarter, 21 of the 22 positions on offense and defense had to adequately do their job.
One did not, and it ruined all that effort and energy. The play out of both quarterbacks — Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham — was not acceptable.
That was one game. Under the circumstances, it was somewhat understandable. What the Patriots have to ask themselves now is whether they're sure the play out of both backups is going to be better the next time with more prep.
Because if not, the Patriots need to go find some help. Like now. The season could depend on it.