<
>

Patriots' 4th-quarter review: Jimmy G time

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Picked-up pieces from fourth-quarter review of the New England Patriots' 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night:

1. While the game was over at that point, and the Chiefs might have exhaled a bit, it was nicely done by Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in leading a seven-play, 81-yard touchdown march on his first drive of the game. The ball was out quickly and delivered mostly with good accuracy. One can see the obvious traits that drew the Patriots to Garoppolo, as he showed good command and didn't appear to have any major issues when it came to getting the play-call, delivering it in the huddle, and running the overall offense.

2. Rookie running back James White showed some of the spark that had first been seen on the practice fields in offseason camps but wasn't quite there in preseason games. After he bounced an 11-yard run around right end (9:58 remaining), this note was jotted down: "As decisive as we've seen from him in a game." He looked quick and might have earned himself some more playing time in the weeks to come.

3. For those who view tight end Tim Wright as a catch-only tight end, evidence to the contrary could be shown on Brandon LaFell's 37-yard catch-and-run (8:17 remaining). Wright helped pave the way with a solid block (possible hold?) as he could also be positioning himself for more playing time in the weeks to come.

4. Footing was an issue for several players, as the field was slick. Cornerback Malcolm Butler slipped on Donnie Avery's 27-yard catch (13:42 remaining) and I wonder if the unfamiliarity with the venue (first trip since 2005) might have been a factor.

5. One pressure (third quarter) and one sack surrendered (by Justin Houston, fourth quarter) for rookie right guard Cameron Fleming in his NFL debut. Is that enough to earn him a second start? One question to monitor this week.

6. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is starting to do more things, a sign that he's on the cusp of becoming a full-time player once again. With 8:45 remaining, he motioned right to left and helped lead the way on Stevan Ridley's 8-yard run with a solid block. Four plays later, he was barreling into the end zone on a 13-yard catch-and-rumble (a.k.a. smashing and dashing). On a day when there weren't many highlights, Gronkowski's late-game work draws a mention.