In a game that was predominantly a slow-paced chess match, it seems that COVID-19 ended up being the difference.
The Patriots, playing without starting QB Cam Newton, who tested positive for the virus last week, struggled on offense in a 26-10 loss. Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham combined for four turnovers as they took the snaps in his place. Hoyer threw an interception and lost a fumble in the red zone, and he also inexplicably lost track of how many timeouts the Patriots at the end of the first half. He took a sack with his team well within field goal range as time expired.
Stidham looked competent on his first drive, finding N’Keal Harry for a touchdown in the back of the end zone to cut the deficit to 13-10 with 13:45 to play. After that, however, he threw two picks, one of which was returned by Tyrann Mathieu for a touchdown.
The Chiefs were limited to six points in the first half on a pair of first-quarter field goals, but they finally broke through late in the third quarter with an explosive drive that ended in a Patrick Mahomes shovel pass to Tyreek Hill on a jet sweep for a TD.
It was a below-average night for Mahomes, who completed 19 of 29 passes (65.5 percent) for 226 yards and two TDs, but in a game in which the Patriots left a lot of points on the field, it was more than enough.