FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the second quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Chiefs (New England leads 10-3):
1. Not the Patriots’ best effort, but they're still in good position. Credit to the Chiefs for coming to play with an aggressive plan that has featured the hurry-up on offense with some creative wrinkles in the run game. Defensively, the Chiefs have successfully pressured Tom Brady. Still, it’s hard to imagine the Patriots -- who have looked lackluster for long stretches of the action -- not pulling away in the end.
2. Feel like I’ve asked the question each week this season: Is Rob Gronkowski the best tight end in the NFL? Great speed on his 52-yard touchdown catch and run. It looked like a bad breakdown defensively for the Chiefs. This is the type of performance that figures to have more national reporters and analysts talking about Gronkowski.
3. The Chiefs’ pressure has made life tough for quarterback Tom Brady. On the sideline, Brady was lighting into his teammates. Brady doesn’t look like himself, but at the same time, he hasn’t had much time to make plays. His 52-yard TD pass to Gronkowski was made possible by him hanging in the pocket with the pressure closing on him.
4. Julian Edelman is playing a lot as the dime back (10 snaps). He drew a holding penalty on tight end Leonard Pope and also has been credited with a tackle.
5. The dime package consists of Antwaun Molden, Kyle Arrington, Phillip Adams, Julian Edelman, James Ihedigbo and Sterling Moore at defensive back. That reflects an injury-ravaged situation in the defensive backfield. Haven't seen the Patriots play this much dime this season.
6. Arrington picked up his sixth interception on the season when receiver Steve Breaston couldn’t corral a pass thrown behind him. Arrington has been in the right place at the right time and has made the most of his opportunities this season. That was one of the swings in the first 30 minutes as the Chiefs were driving and the Patriots turned it into a field goal.
7. Linebacker Rob Ninkovoch had the strong rush on quarterback Tyler Palko on the interception, laying the big hit on him. Ninkovich is playing in base and sub tonight.
8. The Patriots have used rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder as an extra blocker/tight end on the final five plays of their initial touchdown drive (52-yard pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski). That seemed to help settle the offense down, with the run game becoming a factor. Overall, Solder was on for nine snaps in that role.
9. Receiver Chad Ochocinco continues to work as the third option. He was on for nine snaps. Taylor Price, the No. 4 receiver tonight, was on for one.
10. In the base 4-3 defense, second-year man Brandon Deaderick is playing over veteran Shaun Ellis at left defensive end.
11. Logan Mankins picked up his team-high seventh penalty on the season, a false start on the Patriots' final drive of the quarter. He has five false starts and two holding penalties.
12. No catches for receiver Wes Welker in the first half. That's who the Chiefs have focused their plan on, with some double teams. Welker wasn't targeted once.
13. The Patriots get the ball to open the second half.