Here’s what we learned while watching the Patriots pound the Chiefs 34-3:
1. The end result was what everyone expected, but this game was very competitive in the first half. The Patriots offense had no points and 33 yards in their first four drives.
Once Tom Brady figured out what Chiefs coordinator Romeo Crennel was doing, New England got rolling. They had 276 yards and 20 points in their next four drives.
2. Rob Gronkowski caught four passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He’s starting to add big plays and tackle-breaking yards after the catch to his arsenal. Throw in Gronk’s blocking, and he’s the best all around tight end in football. He’s become an impossible cover and perhaps a more valuable part to the Patriots offense than Wes Welker.
3. Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko looked like he belonged at times, but he wound up throwing three interceptions. He was late throwing the ball and doesn’t have much arm strength.
The Chiefs have scored 16 points combined in their last three games. They kill themselves with penalties, pass protection, and turnovers.
4. At 4-6, the Chiefs season is already over. But we knew that before Monday night.
5. New England continues to suffer injuries in position clusters. They lost center Dan Connolly, who has been playing in place for Dan Koppen. Tackle Matt Light left late in the game with an ugly looking leg injury. Connolly was able to return.
6. New England leads the AFC East by two games and they have the tiebreak over the Jets. It’s very difficult to imagine the Patriots not hosting a playoff game this year.
7. The Patriots are going to have some laughers down the stretch. They don’t play a team that currently has a winning record again all season. Their most challenging game left is probably this week in Philadelphia. The Eagles have the offensive weapons to make New England’s makeshift defense pay.
If the Patriots can get by the Eagles, they have the Colts and Redskins after that. This Patriots team has flaws, but those flaws won’t show up against lesser competition.
New England is set up for another strong post-Thanksgiving run.