What a performance by the Kansas City Chiefs, who distinctively routed the New England Patriots 41-14 on Monday Night Football. Should we even call it a rout? Maybe if the Patriots were a tick better, then we could call it a rout. This? No. This was domination. This was varsity versus freshmen. This was Division I versus Division III. This was starters vs. bubble players in the preseason. This was a slaughter. Maybe it was an epic implosion by the Patriots, a symbolic notification to the rest of us that this New England thing is dead. Maybe it's been dead for a while and the memo was lost in the mail.
Cincinnati watched. You can bet that the Bengals were crowding around the coffee table last night, learning, chatting football and figuring out how to be better prepared against the Patriots than the Patriots were against the Chiefs. At least that's what we'd like to believe. However, a performance one week doesn't guarantee idle replication the next. Be careful.
The Patriots defense allowed 207 yards rushing -- 199 yards to Knile Davis and Jamaal Charles. In our fan-tinted goggles, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard were watching with significant interest... "feed the birds!" Perhaps Paul Alexander was texting Andrew Whitworth, who was in turn dropping Facebook status updates to Andre Smith, Russell Bodine, Clint Boling and Mike Pollak. Maybe Kevin Zeitler's knee felt better after Monday's game. Quarterback Tom Brady was erratic with only three receivers, but the chiefs held him to 159 yards and two interceptions. It was 17-0 at half-time. It was 27-0 nine minutes into the third quarter. Yet it was over when Christian Okoye banged the drum.
Now the question: Was Monday a preview for the Bengals on Sunday night? Cincinnati plays at New England for NBC's Sunday Night Football. Or was it an aberration? The Chiefs were playing with an energized stadium behind them. New England felt unprepared. Greg Knopping with Pats Pulpit (SB Nation's New England Patriots website) writes in his postgame reaction:
We're now a quarter of the way through the Patriots season, and it's obvious this team isn't a Super Bowl contender. That doesn't mean they can't turn the ship around, but as currently constituted, this team is far from contention. The offense is an absolute mess, and the defense didn't look any better tonight. This game was an absolute embarrassment in every way imaginable. Major changes are needed, but it's hard to see where they're going to come from until the inevitable offseason overhaul on offense. 41-14. Think about that.
There are two reactions here.
1) Will the Bengals follow in the Chiefs footsteps, taking advantage of the mighty that have fallen?
2) Or is Cincinnati going to face a motivated Patriots squad who were embarrassed on Monday Night Football?