If Tom Brady’s tenure as quarterback of the Patriots truly is coming to a close in the not-so-distant future, Monday night’s 41-14 blowout loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City will likely be pointed to as the beginning of the end.
The Chiefs took it to the Pats from the get-go, and by the second half found a way to make Brady look not only mortal, but downright bad. Kansas City intercepted Brady twice in the second half, including a pick-six, and backup Jimmy Garoppolo came into the game in relief of the future Hall of Famer at the 10:34 mark of the fourth quarter.
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Leading 17-0 at halftime, the Chiefs had already garnered 17 first downs and accumulated 303 yards of total offense compared to the Patriots’ 96 yards.
Big Chiefs plays burned the Pats defense on several occasions early on. Knile Davis’ 48-yard run early in the second quarter allowed Jamaal Charles to score for the second time on the night as he took a 5-yard pass from Alex Smith into the end zone to give Kansas City a 14-0 lead.
The Chiefs tacked on three points just prior to halftime, thanks mostly to a 33-yard Dwayne Bowe reception. The rushing combo of Davis and Charles had 121 yards on the ground at the half.
The Patriots went a familiar three-and-out to start the second half but matters could actually have been much worse. Brady fumbled the ball on third down, under pressure, but New England somehow recovered. The Pats weren’t nearly as fortunate on their next drive as Tamba Hali blew by the Patriots offensive line to strip-sack Brady and force a turnover.
Kansas City’s recovery of the New England fumble set up another easy score for Charles. Charles found the end zone for the third time after the fumble recovery, scoring on an 8-yard reception.
The Patriots finally put a sccore of their own on the board at the 3:26 mark of the third quarter as Brady hooked up with Brandon LaFell for a 44-yard touchdown. Rob Gronkowski would also score a garbage time touchdown, as Garoppolo threw a 13-yard strike.
The road does not get easier for the Patriots as the undefeated Bengals (3-0) come to Gillette Stadium for a Sunday night showdown in five days. Cincy has not allowed an opponent to score more than 16 points in a game so far this season and is coming off a bye week.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS