All posts by Troy Jefferson

Atlanta Falcons vs Cleveland Browns, 11-11-18: In-game report

In his second game as Cleveland's head coach, Gregg Williams unleashed an aggressive defensive game plan that reminded people why he was a hot coaching commodity in the late 2000s.  The Browns defeated the Falcons, 28-16. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

Baker Mayfield 

Mayfield showed the Browns his potential in a near perfect game against the Falcons. The rookie out of Oklahoma completed 17-of-20 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. 

"When I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty dangerous," Mayfield said during the post game press conference. "I just woke up feeling really dangerous."

Former Oklahoma Sooners signal-caller Baker Mayfield was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens gave Mayfield his full trust and it was evident in his play calling.  After a successful goal line stand in the fourth quarter, Kitchens called a passing play for Mayfield despite being on the team's own one-yard line. Mayfield, like he did all game, didn’t disappoint as he fired a pass on a comeback route to Antonio Callaway for a first down.  The rookie signal-caller completed all types of passes on Sunday: comeback routes, crossing routes over the middle across his body, check downs, play actions, etc.   He completed his first 13 passes to start the game while showcasing the skills to back up his confidence.  After watching the film from Sunday, he should continually be given the full playbook to work with. 

Browns defense

Gregg Williams is known for his aggressive 4-3 defense. Against the Falcons, his plan of attack was to make the Falcons one-dimensional. Not only did the Browns shut down the Falcons running game (71 rushing yards on 19 carries),  but they stopped Atlanta’s other receivers not named Julio Jones.  Jones caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown but it took him 11 targets and he accounted for more than a third of the offense.  The Browns also forced two fumbles and had two sacks on Ryan.  The stats might not jump out at first glance, but the intensity was there for Cleveland’s defense, which routinely rallied to the football for gang tackles. 

Falcons inconsistency 

Atlanta is 4-5 for a reason.  In one week they’re playing well on both sides of the football and the next they can’t get anything going.  The Falcons had a three-game losing streak followed by a three-game winning streak and then went to Cleveland and laid an egg.  Dan Quinn is in his fourth season as the head coach but despite his experience at the helm, Cleveland looked like the more prepared and better coached team.  Defensively, the Falcons linebackers and safeties took bad angles to the football, which was apparent on Nick Chubb’s 92-yard touchdown run.  Offensively, the Falcons couldn’t run the football or pass to its second and third receivers. 

"I told the team I thought we took a step back," Quinn said during the postgame press conference.  "That's tough to see and tough to say. I also told them we must regroup. We're trying to fight for consistency, and we certainly made improvement over the last three weeks, and we didn't get the job done."

As the playoff picture takes shape, the Falcons will have to find better balance if they want to compete in the NFC. 

Mississippi State vs. Alabama, 11-10-18: In-game report

A pair of sophomores on different sides of the ball are leading the charge for the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.  Behind its star quarterback and dominant defensive line,  Alabama defeated Mississippi State, 24-0.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

13 Tua Tagovailoa (6’1, 218) Alabama QB-Sophomore  

While a bit undersized, Tua Tagovailoa has the traits of an NFL starting quarterback.  His excellent feet and natural throwing motion stood out once again on Saturday.  In the first quarter, the sophomore perfectly lofted a pass to junior tight end Irv Smith, Jr. (6’4, 240) at the one-yard line near the sideline between two defensive backs. The pass led to a one-yard rushing touchdown. The Hawaii native is also athletic enough to still be able to evade pressure even while dealing with a knee injury that requires him to wear a brace. When the pocket breaks down, Tagovailoa is able to sense it and tries to run.  This can be good and bad.  The positive is that once it led to a 10-yard first down pickup.   On the negative side, Tagovailoa was sacked four times partly because he refused to throw the ball away and sank in the pocket.  He has a lot of the tools to be successful at the next level but I will be interested to see how he improves when it comes to not taking unnecessary sacks. The sophomore quarterback completed 14-of-21 passes for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 

92 Quinnen Williams (6’4, 289) Alabama DL-Sophomore 

Williams is one of the coveted defensive lineman in college football because he can play both the run and the pass. Against the pass, Williams was able to use a rip move and get up field to force a sack at the end of the first quarter.  Against the run, Williams plays with great leverage, which allows him to keep a low base and take on multiple interior linemen.  Williams (5 sacks on the season) is violent with his hands and should be able to contribute immediately in either a 4-3 front as a defensive tackle or 3-4 scheme in the NFL as a defensive end. 

Mississippi State blitz packages 

The Bulldogs mustered just 169 yards of total offense but on defense, they may have been on to something that could help other teams in their quest to dethrone Alabama.  Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop’s unit held Alabama to 305 total yards, which was 200 less than its season average.  They sacked Tagovailoa four times when Alabama had come into the game with just six sacks allowed.  Shoop did it with a variety of blitzes from a number of directions. Three different players accounted for the four sacks.  Sophomore linebacker Willie Gay, Jr. (6’2, 235) led the team with two sacks and also had an interception.  Gay, Jr. was used as a blitzer on multiple occasions prior to his interception, and he was able to fool Tagovailoa by dropping into coverage on the pick.  The numbers will show a blowout but the Bulldogs defense gave Alabama all they could handle. 

Stanford vs. Washington, 11-3-18: In-game report

Washington and Stanford squared off in Seattle as both teams try to keep pace with first place Washington State in the Pac-12. The Huskies got off to a quick start and were able to hang on for a 27-23 victory. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

13 Alijah Holder (6’2 188) Stanford CB-Senior 

Holder may not have the height of former Cardinal CB/WR Richard Sherman, but there are some striking similarities. The senior cornerback is always around the football like Sherman and has eight pass deflections on the season and a forced fumble. Holder is best in press coverage but again -like Sherman- could be susceptible when forced to move his hips and keep up with quick-twitched receivers. The senior projects best at the next level as a Cover 3/ press-man cornerback.  Against Washington, Holder finished with three pass deflections and seven tackles. His production and big play ability (five forced fumbles and two interceptions on the season) will grab scouts attention as we move closer to the end of the regular season.

3 Jake Browning (6’2 210) Washington QB- Senior 

Browning may have done himself a disservice by returning to school as this season his numbers are more pedestrian, throwing 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions. The senior quarterback was benched against California earlier in the season,  and this comes just two seasons after leading the Huskies to a College Football Playoff Appearance by throwing 43 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Browning has somewhat of a herky-jerky delivery and throws the ball with little arch.  However, Browning , who grew up just two hours away from San Francisco, could be beneficial in an offense like the 49ers for example, who move the pocket and value accuracy. The Folsom, California native has a slight frame but he is an experienced leader with four years of experience behind center.  Look for Browning to be drafted in the later rounds and start his career as a backup. 

20 Bryce Love (5’10 202) Stanford RB- Senior

The first thing that jumps out about Bryce Love is his excellent vision and patience. The senior running back allowed the play to develop in front of him before cutting back and breaking a tackle to score a touchdown in the third quarter. Love, who has 490 rushing yards on the season, won’t come close to the 2,118 yards he posted a year ago.  The Wake Forest, North Carolina native has dealt with an ankle injury this season and his team has been behind in a fair share of their contests, nullifying his ability out of the backfield. The production, vision and experience are there for Love, but he will have to work on his pass protection and catching ability at the next level.  Against Washington, Love finished with 71 rushing yards on 18 touches.  

Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers, 11-1-18: In-Game Report

A battle of the Bay Area featured two of the worst teams in the NFL. However, San Francisco thoroughly dominated its area rivals on Thursday Night Football, winning 34-3. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

Nick Mullens 

Undrafted second-year quarterbacks don’t usually complete 16-of-22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns in their first career start.  But thanks to a poor defense and an excellent game plan, Mullens was aided in his debut. Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s first 15 script of play calls allowed his quarterback to get comfortable through the use of bootlegs, screens and power running.  The 49ers scored their first touchdown of the game with a play action pass from Mullens to wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who ran wide open over the middle.  Mullens' teammates said his ability to perform on the primetime Thursday night stage didn’t surprise them.

"It was cool that he didn't change under the big lights and these circumstances," cornerback Richard Sherman said, during a postgame press conference according to ESPN.  "We're not really surprised. We've seen him do it in practice. He plays with a lot of confidence."

Mullens executed the game plan to perfection and might see additional playing time as the team’s primary backup, thanks to a strong performance. 

George Kittle

Mullens looked to tight end George Kittle whenever he needed a big play.  Kittle finished with four catches on four targets for 108 yards and one touchdown.  The second-year tight end made an impressive one-handed grab over the middle on 2nd and 12 and sprinted for a 71-yard gain to open the third quarter.  On the season, Kittle has caught 41 passes for 692 yards and three touchdowns.  As the 49ers cycle through quarterbacks, Kittle has remained a constant at tight end and his production hasn’t slipped no matter who has been behind center. 

Raiders miscues 

The 49ers had their way with the Raiders but Oakland committed more than their fair share of mental mistakes.  On offense, Derek Carr was harassed all evening due to a  shuffling offensive line because of injuries. The Raiders gave up eight sacks and as a team totaled just 242 yards of total offense. Defensively, the Raiders were penalized for having too many men on the field in the second half, left receivers wide open on bootlegs and couldn’t set the edge to prevent long runs.  Oakland traded away young talent in Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack and it looks like their eyes are on the future. The Raiders might not win many games in 2018 thanks to a lack of talent but that doesn’t excuse the mental errors that plagued both sides of the ball against the 49ers. 

New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings, 10-28-18: In-game report

In a rematch of last year's NFC Divisional Playoff matchup, Minnesota and New Orleans put on a less entertaining showing on Sunday Night Football.  New Orleans took advantage of two costly Vikings turnovers to win 30-20.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

Saints Quarterbacks 

Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill (pictured at BYU in 2016) has been a jack of all trades for the team.

Sean Payton is one of the most innovative play callers in the NFL and he lived up to the hype on Sunday night against the Vikings, who came into the game ranked No. 10 in  total defense. The former quarterback, turned head coach, used backup quarterback Taysom Hill in Wildcat formations and empty sets and even lined him up at wide receiver while Drew Brees was under center. Hill is 6’2, 220 pounds and can run in-between the tackles and throw the football. His ability forces opposing defenses to have to game plan for something else while still preparing for Brees, the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards.  On one possession in the red zone, Payton even put Hill in shotgun and lined quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees out wide.  Hill ran up the middle for no gain but it goes to show Payton isn’t afraid to experiment with some new alignments and he may have used the wacky formation to get something on film for a later use.  Hill finished with one completion for 44 yards and three rushing attempts for -2 yards.  The former BYU quarterback has run for 123 yards and one touchdown so far this season. 

Vikings Receivers 

The Minnesota Vikings have two number one receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.   Against New Orleans, Thielen caught seven passes for 103 yards and set the record for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start the season with his eighth straight.  He ranks first in the NFL in receiving yards and receptions. On the other side, Diggs caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.  Most impressive is that the two combined for 17 receptions on 18 targets. Not only are Diggs and Thielen productive, but they make sure to catch anything and everything that comes their way. The Vikings made an effort to attack Saints cornerback P.J. Williams instead of testing Pro Bowler, Marshon Lattimore. Minnesota has two number one level receivers which allows them to pick on cornerbacks, who they deem more of a liability.  Both players made critical mistakes that resulted in big plays for the Saints defense.  With the Vikings up 13-10 and driving in for a score at the Saints' 18-yard line with 1:11 left in the second quarter, Thielen fumbled after a hit by linebacker Alex Anzalone.  The fumble was recovered by Lattimore and took potential points off the board.  Then, in the third quarter (5:58), Diggs failed to continue to run across the field on a crossing pattern while being covered by Saints cornerback P.J. Williams.  Williams ended up picking off the crossing pattern by Kirk Cousins and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown.  It put the Saints up by 14 and stymied the Vikings attempt to tie the game.  Despite the mishaps, the Vikings will continue to be a force in the passing game behind the production of Diggs and Thielen. 

Saints defense 

Davenport has four sacks for the Saints thus far in his rookie campaign.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans acquired Eli Apple from the Giants for a fourth round draft pick.  Apple led the team in tackles on Sunday night but a lot of those tackles came after he had given up catches.  Apple, who started the game, should form cohesion with the Saints secondary in time as he is accompanied by fellow former Ohio State Buckeyes Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell. With the emergence of defensive end Marcus Davenport (two sacks against Minnesota) alongside Pro Bowler Cam Jordan, New Orleans has the makings of a solid defense.  If defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who served as the secondary coach during the Saints championship season, can get the secondary on the same page then New Orleans could match a strong offense with an equally strong defense. 

Update: Davenport was recently reported to have a toe injury that could keep him out for an extended period of time.

Navy vs. Notre Dame, 10-27-18: In-game report

Notre Dame and Navy traveled to San Diego to rekindle a rivalry. However, an efficient offense and a fundamentally sound defense allowed the Fighting Irish to make quick work of the Midshipmen, winning 44-22.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report: 

53 Sam Mustipher (6’2 306) Notre Dame OL-Senior 

DraftNasty highlighted Mustipher in our season preview to begin the season and in 2018, the Fighting Irish senior lineman has remained a constant positive for the offense. Mustipher routinely finished blocks against Navy with a little extra force and he isn’t afraid to mix it up with defensive lineman that are his size or bigger. However, what makes Mustipher an NFL-caliber interior lineman is his ability to get to the second level quickly like he did against Navy linebacker Taylor Heflin (6'2 229).  Mustipher was able to move Heflin out of the way with ease, paving the way for the team’s second rushing touchdown of the night.  The Irish rank in the top third in the nation in passing yards, rushing yards and points per game and Mustipher’s expertise along the line is a huge reason why.

12 Ian Book (6’0 203) Notre Dame QB-Junior 

Book has put together a five-game winning streak since he took over as the starting quarterback against Wake Forest.  One of the reasons, head coach Brian Kelly moved on from senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush (6’2, 222) is because Book is more efficient in the passing game.  Wimbush was pulled after tallying four interceptions and one touchdown in his three starts to begin the year.  Since being named the starter, Book has thrown 13 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 76-percent of his passes. Book’s accuracy is on par with some of the best in college football, and his best throws against Navy came on a pair of back-shoulder throws to senior wide receiver Miles Boykin (6’4 228), which both resulted in touchdowns. Book has also rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns.  The California native's mobility to evade the rush and his pinpoint accuracy should be enough continue to carry the Fighting Irish offense.

Notre Dame defense vs. Navy offense

The Midshipmen pride themselves on their triple option offensive attack but against the Irish they couldn’t get anything going. Notre Dame jumped out to a 27-0 advantage in the first half and by that point the Midshipmen were too far behind to make a difference. The Fighting Irish defensive line routinely overpowered Navy’s front five. The defensive line was able to keep senior linebacker Te’von Coney (6’1 240) clean of blockers and allow him to make 14 tackles. As a whole, the defense forced three turnovers and four three-and- outs.  If the Fighting Irish can stick to the assignment football that won them the game against Navy, then they should be able to continue to challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Appalachian State vs. Georgia Southern, 10-25-18: In-game report

Appalachian State (5-2, 3-1)  and Georgia Southern (7-1, 4-0) met on Thursday night in a battle to decide supremacy in the Sun Belt conference.  Georgia Southern used its triple option offense and suffocating defense to defeat the Mountaineers, 34-14.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

44 Anthony Flory (6’1 230) Appalachian State LB- Senior 

Flory posted 87 tackles in 2017 and is well on his way to matching the total in 2018.

Flory is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who flows to the football and has the ability to form tackle.   He finished with 10 tackles against the Eagles. The senior linebacker trusted his eyes on numerous occasions and was usually the first to the football despite Georgia Southern cloaking a lot of their runs with misdirection. During a first quarter run by Eagles sophomore quarterback Shai Werts (5’11, 190), Flory not only set the edge and forced Werts to cut back, but he shed his blocker and made the tackle.  Flory should be able to also contribute as an outside linebacker at the next level despite playing as an inside linebacker in college because of his speed, strength and position IQ.  Look for Flory, who was named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team, to continue to make plays at all sides of the field.

Georgia Southern triple option offense

The Eagles haven’t lost a game in the conference midway through the season and that’s because opposing defenses haven’t been able to solve their option attack.  Georgia Southern ranks fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 275 yards.  Werts is the straw that stirs the drink and even if he isn’t running, his ability forces defenses to key in on him. The sophomore quarterback finished with 129 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. What makes the Eagles attack even more potent is that every once in a while, Werts can make a defense pay through the air. He completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Darion Anderson (6’0, 185). It was Werts' only completion of the night, but on the season, he has completed 57 percent of his passes and hasn’t thrown an interception.  Senior running back Wesley Fields (6’0, 205) adds another punch to the backfield alongside Werts.  He rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns on Thursday.  One thing for the team to monitor centers around ball security.  Georgia Southern recovered all three of its fumbles against the Mountaineers, but a team that runs as much as they do could be susceptible to fumbles. The Eagles only loss this season came to the second-ranked Clemson Tigers.  If this offense keeps playing this well, they could make a run into the nation's Top 25. 

Georgia Southern defense

The Eagles defense was fast and played as a unit against Appalachian State.  It’s hard to point out one player, who stood out because so many different players made plays.  14 different players finished with at least two tackles. The Mountaineers scored 38 points and nearly upset Penn State earlier this season but against the Eagles, they couldn’t get anything going after their starting quarterback, sophomore Zac Thomas (6’1, 205), left with a concussion in the first quarter.  Georgia Southern forced four turnovers and didn’t turn the ball over themselves and right now they have a +19 turnover ratio. With a sound defense and a ball-controlling offense, Georgia Southern will be hard to take down in the Sun Belt.

Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins, 10-21-18: In-game report

The Miami Dolphins (4-3) missed a chance to keep pace with the New England Patriots in the AFC East after falling to the Detroit Lions (3-3) at home.  The Lions used a stifling secondary and an efficient offensive attack to win the game.  DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Kerryon Johnson

The rookie running back out of Auburn had his second career 100- yard rushing performance on Sunday. The Lions record would indicate that in order to win, they need production from Johnson. In the team's three wins, Johnson has rushed for 109 yards per game and in their three losses he's averaged 38 yards per game.  On Sunday, Johnson rushed for 158 yards and kept the Lions in favorable down and distances, which resulted in them only having to punt once all afternoon.  Johnson doesn’t just have an impact on the running game but the threat of his running ability has been enough to give quarterback Matthew Stafford, who finished with just four incompletions, cleaner looks on play action passes.  The Lions used Johnson as a decoy to score their first touchdown after Stafford faked the handoff and threw a touchdown to tight end Michael Roberts.  Johnson also gives the Lions a threat in the passing game (15 receptions on the season) and is a willing blocker in pass protection.  If Detroit wants to continue to win against good teams, look for the Lions to rely on Johnson to bring a balance to the offense.

Lions secondary

Slay, Jr. was named a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and has shown few signs of slowing down.

The Lions secondary didn’t force Brock Osweiler into an interception but did play well enough in coverage to help force four sacks and give their team a commanding 20-7 advantage in the second half. Quandre Diggs came down from his safety position to fill in for Jamal Agnew, the team’s regular slot cornerback who is on IR due to a knee injury. Cornerback Darius Slay has continued his All-Pro performance from last season and played well on the outside.  Slay prevented a would-be touchdown to Kenny Stills by bringing his hands through Stills' hands and deflecting the ball away. For the game, Osweiler threw for 239 yards and almost a third of those yards came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.  Detroit’s secondary is the backbone of their defense and should serve them well against a number of top-tier quarterbacks in the NFC.

Mike Gesicki

DraftNasty highlighted Gesicki’s athleticism in advance of the draft last season and that athletic ability was on display against Detroit. The rookie from Penn State caught passes both as a hand in the ground tight end and when split out wide.  Gesicki did a good job of chipping the defensive end before getting into the right seam and catching a pass in traffic. On another catch, Gesicki caught the ball over the middle on a crossing pattern and flashed his potential for getting yards after the catch.  In total, Gesicki finished with three catches for 44 yards. 

NC State vs. Clemson, 10-20-18: In-game report

 A game that was supposed to feature two Top 25 teams turned into a blowout.  Clemson defeated NC State, 41-7, at home, behind a sensational  performance from their freshman signal-caller. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:      

16 Trevor Lawrence (6’5, 205) Clemson QB-Freshman   

Clemson was forced to use sophomore running back and Heisman hopeful Travis Etienne (5’10, 200) as a decoy against NC State, who decided to make Lawrence beat them with the pass. The freshman quarterback indeed did just that.  Lawrence threw for 308 yards and one touchdown while completing 66 percent of his passes.  Most impressively was his ability to spread the ball around and put it in positions where receivers could run after the catch. The Tigers used a steady diet of comeback routes, which required Lawrence to anticipate when his receivers would break off the top of the route.  When they did, he often  threw an accurate ball to the outside shoulder so that the cornerback couldn't undercut the route.  13 different Tigers caught at least one pass.  Coming into the game, the question was did the Tigers have enough playmakers on the outside.  After a strong performance against a ranked opponent, those questions will be no more. Lawrence has at least two more years of school, but his patience going through his progressions will keep scouts intrigued going forward.

99 Clelin Ferrell (6’5, 260) Clemson DE- Junior

Ferrell didn’t add to his six-sack season total on Saturday, but he did finish with five

Ferrell posted 18 tackles for loss in 2017.

tackles, including two for loss.  The junior defensive end displayed an ability to get off the ball in a hurry.  On one run in the third quarter, he met the NC State running back in the backfield for a five-yard loss.  Ferrell is a premier pass rusher (21.5 career sacks) who forces quarterbacks to roll opposite of him because he gets up the field so quick. The Richmond, Virginia native is slated to be a top pick in this year’s draft but like any player with his type of speed, he must make sure he keeps gap integrity. On one play in the second quarter, Ferrell got past his man but was too vertical and NC State senior running back Reggie Gallaspy (5’11, 235) blew right past him.  

NC State offense vs. Clemson defense

Williams has been a four-year contributor for the Tigers.

NC State entered the game with a 61-percent conversion rate on third down, which was the highest mark in college football. However, the Wolfpack finished just 2-of-12 on third downs and totaled 297 yards,  nearly 150 less than its season average. Clemson was too much for the Wolfpack on first and second down, which led to 3rd and longs. The Tigers feature two of the best pass rushers in college football with Ferrell and senior defensive end Austin Bryant (6’6, 280). On the back end, the Tigers have the ability to play in press-man or zone.  Both coverages led to interceptions on Sunday, senior linebacker Jalen Williams (5’10, 210) dropped back in a zone coverage to pick off a pass over the middle while earlier in the game junior defensive back K’Von Wallace (6’0, 195) caught a batted pass for an interception as a result of solid man coverage.  The moral of the story is don’t get down early to Clemson, because their defense has the potential to make opposing offenses pay both with talent and scheme.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots, 10-14-18: In-game report

Two of the premier coaches in the NFL faced off in primetime on Sunday Night Football.  New England (4-2) was able to keep pace with the Chiefs (5-1) in the conference after a last second field goal pushed them to victory.  DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Patriots power running game

The Patriots use of offset I-formations with fullback James Develin (No. 46 pictured) and Rob Gronkowski (No. 87 pictured) led a running game that carried the offense for the much of the night.

Bill Belichick flipped the script on Sunday night, instead of relying on his future Hall of Fame quarterback, the longtime coach relied on a power run game.  The Patriots used fullback James Develin in the I-formation and the offset I-formation, while also putting Rob Gronkowski at the tight end spot with his hand in the ground in order to establish a strong push in the run game.  Kansas City ranks 28th in the league in rushing yards allowed and the Patriots took advantage of it.  New England ran for 173 yards and actually ran three more times than they passed.  This power run game will probably be an outlier, but credit to Belichick for his willingness to adjust the game plan for specific game-to-game needs.

Patrick Mahomes 

Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes has a 112.2 quarterback rating through six starts in 2018.

The first-year starter has burst onto the scene and what immediately jumps out about Mahomes is his raw arm talent. Mahomes can make plays off schedule while falling off his back foot reminiscent of the kinds of throws that are usually reserved for Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.  In the first quarter, Mahomes darted  a pass from his back foot and across his body to the waiting hands of Chris Conley, placing the ball where only his receiver could make the play.  The Chiefs quarterback finished with 352 passing yards and four touchdowns but he did throw two interceptions, which led to points for the Patriots.  Mahomes first interception came when Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower faked a blitz and dropped into coverage, fooling the young quarterback.  The second came on a pass where Mahomes was rolling right and tried to throw across his body to tight end Travis Kelce, who was double covered.  Mahomes should be able to fix those types of interceptions with experience. For now, Mahomes should remind Andy Reid of another talented gunslinger that he coached in Brett Favre. 

Patriots defense 

Bill Belichick’s defensive mantra has remained constant since he came to New England: make your second or third best players beat us offensively.  The Patriots doubled Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce all night and sacrificed the pass rushing of Dont’a Hightower and Trey Flowers in order to chip Kelce at the line. The game plan worked as the Pats held Kelce to five catches for 61 yards. However, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill were left with more room to roam free as a result. The pair combined for 327 total yards and four touchdowns. It was a tale of two halves for the Patriots, who led 24-9 at halftime. If these two teams meet again in the playoffs, Belichick might have to tinker with his game-plan because despite holding Kelce in check, Hill and Hunt nearly upended New England in Foxboro.