Brady went down in the first quarter and hearts of Patriots fans everywhere dropped with him.  Globe photo.

The Result

It was a long offseason and I was glad it was over until Tom Brady hurt his knee in the first quarter when he was hit by Kansas City lineman Bernard Pollard in a play eerily reminiscent of Vince Wilfork’s run in last season with Buffalo QB J.P. Losman.  But in the absence of their true team leader the New England Patriots defense went into it’s patented bend but don’t break mode and escaped with a hard fought 17-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon.

Matt Cassel came in and on his first drive they almost had a safety against them on the first two plays but on 3rd and 11 from npot quite his own 1 yard line he went 51 yards to Randy Moss and it seemed to give him and the offensive unit confidence.  I think the hardest thing to remember about this guy is that prior to today, in his fourth NFL season, he hasn’t played in real live, meaningful game conditions since high school.  And while Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick may have “dumbed” down the playbook with Cassel in there it wasn’t that apparent if that were the case especially with the bomb to Moss.

One thing I learned today about Matt Cassel is the guy isn’t as bad as every made him out to be.  Granted he is not Brady but if he has to play for a few weeks they won’t be in bad shape.  The kid is a gamer, he is confident in his ability and it appears that Belichick and the staff have a good feel for him.  Face it if they didn’t think he could do the job he wouldn’t be here.

The offense didn’t play that bad in Brady’s absence, the defense made the plays when they needed to and the special teams executed some nice plays with the kick off return by Ellis Hobbs, some nice punts and punt/kick off coverage.

Hopefully it all gets better from here on out.

Scoring Plays

CHIEFS 0 3 0 7 10
PATRIOTS 0 7 7 3 17

1st Quarter

  • None

2nd Quarter

  • Matt Cassel throws his TD pass to Randy Moss.  Getty photo.NE – Cassel 10 yard pass to Moss (Gostkowski PAT)
  • KC – Novak 40 yard FG

3rd Quarter

  • NE – Morris 5 yard run (Gostkowski PAT)

4th Quarter

  • KC – Huard 5 yard pass to Bowe (Novak PAT)
  • NE – Gostkowski 37 yard FG

Offensive Player of the Game

It was a hard choice but I am going with Sammy Morris.  He had 51 yards rushing on 10 carries, caught 5 passes for 34 yards and had a TD.

Defensive Player of the Game

Another tough choice but it’s Ellis Hobbs.  He may not have had the most tackles but he had four tackles, 1 sack and a pick and when you add that to his 51 yard KOR and the fact he played decent coverage all day against a bigger receiver he had a good day.

Turning Point(s) of the Game

It really could have been the Brady injury but the two biggest plays of the day were Cassel’s bomb to Moss and the goal line stand on 1st goal from the five in the final two minutes.

Offensive Leaders/Notes

Matt Cassel was 13/18 for 152 yards and 1 TD pass.  Tom Brady before the injury was 7/11 for 76 yards.  Randy Moss had 116 yards o 6 catches with the long of 51 yards.  Wes Welker grabbed 6 balls for 51 yards. Laurence Maroney chipped in with 53 yards on 10 carries.

  • 1st drive from NE 22 Brady 6 yards to David Thomas
  • 2nd/4 13 yards to Wes Welker to NE 37
  • 2nd/10 7 yards to Moss to NE 45
  • 3rd/3 incomplete to Welker, Brady under pressure from Tamba Hali NE forced to punt. Hanson run into five yard penalty – 1st down at 50
  • 1st/10 12 yards to Welker to KC 38
  • 2nd/10 pass to Welker for 2 yards. Welker fumbled at KC 36 recover by KC to KC 48
  • 2nd drive from NE 16 Maroney 3 yard run
  • LoMo hits the hole.  Globe photo.2nd/7 Maroney 10 yards for 1st down
  • 1st/10 from NE 29 Brady to Moss 17 yards
  • 1st/10 from NE 46 Maroney 9 yards
  • 3rd/1 Heath Evans 2 yard for 1st down at KC 43
  • 1st/10 Brady hit on left knee as he throws to Moss pass complete to KC 15 Moss fumbles KC recovers at KC 16
  • 3rd drive from NE 2 with Matt Cassel at QB Sammy Morris run loss of 1
  • 2nd/11 Morris 0 yards to NE 1 (TO KC 1)
  • 3rd/11 Cassel to Moss for 51 yards to KC 48
  • 1st/10 Morris 9 yard run
  • 2nd/1 Cassel to Kelly Washington 1st down at KC 37
  • 1st/10 screen to Morris for 3 yards
  • 2nd/7 Morris runs 25 yards to KC 12
  • 1st/10 7 yard pass to Morris
  • 2nd/3 Morris runs for 2 yards motion penalty on NE
  • 2nd/8 from KC 10 (TO NE 1) incomplete to Thomas
  • Moss with some YAC.  Getty Photo.3rd/8 10 yard TD pass to Moss; Gostkowski PAT 7-0 Patriots
  • 4th drive from NE 15 forced to punt 4th/4 from NE 21
  • 5th drive from NE 40 Cassel sacked loss of 8
  • 2nd/18 Cassel to Morris 11 yard pass to NE 43
  • 3rd/7 pass knocked away by Patrick Surtain NE to punt 4th/7 from NE 43
  • 6th drive Cassel kneel down ends half.
  • Halftime
  • 7th drive from NE 20 loss of 3 by Maroney
  • 2nd/13 five yards to Moss
  • 3rd/8 Cassel to Thomas for 18 yards to NE 40
  • 1st/10 Maroney 1 yard 1
  • 2nd/9 Welker 13 yard pass to KC 46
  • 1st/10 Cassel 6 yard run
  • 2nd/4 screen to Morris for 3 yards
  • 3rd/1 Maroney 3 yard run to KC 34
  • 1st/10 Maroney 17 yards to KC 17
  • 1st/10 Morris 12 yard to KC 5
  • 1st/goal Morris 5 yard TD run; Gostkowski PAT 14-3 Patriots
  • 8th drive from KC 36 pass 3 and out after a Cassel sack at KC 44 forced to punt 4th/16
  • 9th drive from NE 38 Maroney 8 yard run
  • 2nd/2 Maroney 1 yard run
  • 3rd/1 Evans tackled for loss at NE 46 forced to punt 4th/2
  • 10th drive from NE 47 Maroney 1 yard run
  • 2nd/9 Welker 6 yard pass
  • 3rd/3 Cassel 8 yard run to NE 38
  • 1st/10 Morris 4 yard run
  • 2nd/6 Morris lost 3 yards
  • 3rd/9 (NE TO 1) Cassel to Welker for 12 yards to KC 25
  • 1st/10 Morris 4 yard run
  • 2nd/16 11 yard pass to Morris
  • 3rd/5 incomplete to Welker
  • 4th/5 FGA of 37 yards by Gostkowski is good Patriots 17-10

Defensive Leaders/Notes

Rodney Harrison had 14 tackles, Tedy Bruschi had 12 and Mike Vrabel had 6 with a pair of big sacks.  The defensive line also did a good job and shut down Larry Johnson for no or little gain several times especially when they needed it late.

  • 1st series from KC 48 3 and out KC forced to punt 4th/2 NE 44
  • 2nd series from KC 16 Charles 3 yard run
  • 2nd/3 Johnson 10 yards to KC 29
  • 1st/20 from KC 19 Charles 11 yard run to KC 30
  • 2nd/9 Johnson for 4 yards
  • 3rd/5 Croyle to Gonzalez for 6 yards to KC 42
  • 2nd/10 screen 12 yard pass to Johnson 1st down at NE 46
  • 1st/10 Johnson 3 yard run
  • 2nd/7 pass battled down by Vrabel behind LOS
  • 3rd/7 Pats blitz pass incomplete KC forced to punt 4th/7 from NE 49
  • 3rd series from KC 26 3 and out forced to punt 4th/1 from KC 35
  • 4th series from KC 9 3 and out (TO KC 2) KC forced to punt 4th/1 from KC 18
  • 5th series from KC 27 Johnson runs for 3 yards
  • 3rd/5 Croyle 6 yards to Gonzalez to KC 38
  • 2nd/10 9 yard pass to Gonzalez
  • 3rd/1 Johnson runs for 2 yards to KC 49
  • 2nd/9 from 50 5 yard pass to Gonzalez
  • 3rd/4 Croyle 21 yards to Gonzalez for 1st down at NE 24
  • 3rd/8 Croyle under pressure pass broken up by James Sanders in end zone
  • 4th/8 40 yard FGA by Nick Novak is good 7-3 Patriots
  • halftime
  • 6th series from KC 26 Johnson 1 yard run
  • 3rd/7 Croyle to Bowe for 11 yards to KC 40
  • Tedy Bruschi hauls down Larry Johnson.  Getty Photo.1st/10 Johnson no gain
  • 2nd/10 Johnson 6 yard run
  • 3rd/4 Charles 7 yards to NE 49
  • 1st/10 Johnson 4 yard run
  • 2nd/6 Johnson no gain
  • 3rd/6 Croyle sacked by Adalius Thomas for 13 yard loss KC forced to punt 4th/19
  • 7th series from KC 37 with Damon Huard at QB Johnson 2 yard run
  • 2nd/8 Johnson 4 yard run
  • 3rd/4 Huard 5 yard pass to Bowe to KC 48
  • 2nd/7 Johnson 22 yard run to NE 26
  • 1st/10 Vrabel sacks Huard for 2 yard loss
  • 2nd/12 Bowe 11 yard catch
  • 3rd/1 Johnson 2 yard run to NE 15
  • 2nd/8 Huard 13 yard TD pass to Bowe; Novak PAT Patriots 14-10
  • 8th series from KC 20 3 and out (including 6 yard loss on sack by Vrabel) 4th/7 KC forced to punt
  • 9th series from KC 20 Huard intercepted by Hobbs at KC 41 run back to KC 38 NE penalized 15 yards on run back for unnecessary roughness ball placed at NE 47
  • 10th series from KC 22 Huard 4 yard pass to Bowe
  • 2nd/6 6 yard pass to Gonzalez
  • 1st/10 at KC 32 Huard fumbled but he was ruled down 6 yard loss
  • 2nd/16 Huard to Devard Darling 69 yard pass to NE 5 TD saving tackle by Deltha O’Neal
  • 1st/goal pass incomplete in end zone
  • 2nd/goal Johnson no gain stuffed by Seymour
  • 3rd/goal pass knocked down by Brandon Meriweather on goal line
  • 4th/goal pass incomplete to Bowe defensed by O’Neal

Special Teams Notes

  • Chris Hanson run into on first punt for a 5 yard penalty on KC and a NE 1st down.
  • Wes Welker let 2nd KC punt go inside the NE 20 ball pinned at NE 2.
  • Hanson great punt in 2nd qtr after 4th drive to pin Chiefs at KC 9 (70 yards)
  • Matthew Slater fumbles KOR after KC FG in 2nd qtr Morris recovers at NE 19
  • Ellis Hobbs great KOR for 51 yards in 4th qtr.

Coaching Decisions

  • NE – decide to open it up on 3rd/11 from NE 1 Cassel goes 51 yards to Moss in the signature play of the first TD drive.


  • NE – Brady helped off the field with left knee injury with 7:27 in 1st qtr. – did not return
  • KC – Tamba Hali – thigh injury in 1st qtr – returned
  • NE- Hobbs hurt knee tackling Johnson in 1st quarter – returned
  • KC – Jarrad Page hip injury in 2nd qtr. – returned
  • KC – Brodie Croyle hurt shoulder on sack by Thomas in 3rd qtr. – did not return

The Officials

  • Carl Cheffers, one of the NFL’s two new head referees, was the referee.
  • There were no disputed plays.

Game Notes

  • Before the game the Patriots released recently signed P Reggie Hodges.  He was assigned to the practice squad. They know have an open spot on the 8-man practice squad.
  • The Patriots wore their white road jerseys today instead of their tradition blue home jerseys.
  • Inactives for the Chiefs: WR Maurice Price (injured-thigh), RB Colby Smith, LB Napolean Harris (injured-knee), G Brian De La Puente, OT Barry Richardson, WR Will Franklin (injured-knee), DT T.J. Jackson and QB Tyler Thigpen (3rd QB).
  • Inactives for the Patriots: TE Ben Watson (injured-knee), LB Shawn Crable, OT Wesley Britt, C/G Dan Connolly (injured-knee), WR C.J. Jones, WR Sam Aiken (injured-knee), DE LeKevin Smith (injured-knee) and QB Kevin O’Connell (3rd QB).  Note: a reminder the third QB can be dressed but can only play if there are injuries to the other two QBs.
  • We all know Tom Brady had been listed on the injury report with his shoulder for the last four years well this little tidbit from the AFC East Blog on says the QB has been on the injury list since birth:

Dylan in New York writes: Any word on Tom Brady’s shoulder? Has he overcome the injury that’s apparently plagued him for years now?

Tim Graham: For the first time in his life, Brady and his right shoulder aren’t listed on the Patriots’ injury report. Not many know this, but a strained rotator cuff is actually mentioned on Brady’s birth certificate.

  • In case you missed it the Patriots announced their team captains on Friday.  They are on offense: QB Tom Brady, WR Randy Moss, LT Matt Light.  On defense: LB Tedy Bruschi, LB Mike Vrabel, NT Vince Wilfork, S Rodney Harrison and Special Teams: LB Larry Izzo.
  • The Chiefs meanwhile have four captains: G Brian Waters (offense), CB Patrick Surtain (defense), LB Pat Thomas (defense) and S Jon McGraw (special teams).
  • The Patriots have 10 players with two years or less of NFL experience on the roster.
  • The Patriots have more players on their active roster from Fresno State (3) than they do from noted football powers Nebraska (2), Miami (2), Georgia (2), Tennessee (2), USC (1), Texas (1), Ohio State (1) and Notre Dame (1).  I should also mention they have three players from Michigan and LSU.
  • Kansas City is most represented by LSU, North Carolina State and Tennessee with three players each.
  • The two franchises are part of the original eight of the AFL. Lamar Hunt (then Texans) and Billy Sullivan (Patriots) were part of the whimsically named “The Foolish Club” because the whole idea of the AFL seemed so far fetched.  The Chiefs played their first three seasons as the Dallas Texans before moving to KC for the 1963 season.
  • The two teams first met on November 18, 1960 with the Patriots beating the Texans, 42-14 at Nickerson Field in Boston.
  • This was the 14th post AFL-NFL merger meeting between the two clubs.
  • Kansas City head coach Herm Edwards now in his third season with the Chiefs is 2-9 in his career against New England.  Today was the first time he faced them as a coach of a team other than the New York Jets.  He is now 13-20 in Kansas City and 52-61 in 8 seasons as a head coach.
  • Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez has the most catches (826) and TD’s (66) for a tight end in NFL history. He is 123 yards shy of tying Shannon Sharpe for the most reception yards by a tight end.
  • Today was the first time in 31 years that the two teams met for a season opener on September 18, 1977 with the Patriots winning 21-17 at Schaeffer Stadium.
  • The Patriots are 25-24 in season openers and have now won 5 consecutive openers.
  • Former Patriot Pro Bowl offensive lineman Bruce Armstrong is 43 today.
  • With the 51 yard catch Randy Moss now has 13, 014 yards receiving good for 13th all-time. He know has 56 career 100 yard receiving games 3rd all-time. And he has 125 TD receptions good for 4th all-time.
  • Nine players made their Patriots debuts this afternoon: LB Gary Guyton, T Mark LeVoir, RB LaMont Jordan, LB Jerod Mayo, CB Deltha O’Neal, CB Lewis Sanders, WR Matthew Slater, CB Terrence Wheatley and CB Jonathan Wilhite.

Post Game Press Conferences

Listen to what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Matt Cassel had to say about the game.

Post game press conferences via

Things To Work On For Next Week

The Patriots will hope for the best over the next day about Tom Brady.

Turnovers.  They had two costly one’s in their first two possessions and nearly had a third on a return.  Other than that they looked a little rusty at times but I think now that they have that first game under their belt with some real hits they should do better and put some more points on the board.

Next Week’s Opponent

The Patriots travel to the Meadowlands to face their AFC East rival New York Jets at 4:15 p.m. on CBS.  I hear New York has a new quarterback.