The night included a quarterback switch for the Patriots, a series of uncharacteristic New England blunders and a first-half officiating controversy over a would-be turnover by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Patriots played without quarterback Cam Newton because of his positive coronavirus test, according to a person familiar with the result, and went with veteran Brian Hoyer over youngster Jarrett Stidham as their fill-in starter. It was an ill-fated choice.

Hoyer had a mistake-filled night. He threw an interception, lost a fumble and signaled for a timeout that he didn’t have remaining when he took a sack to allow time to expire in the first half without the Patriots attempting a field goal. The Patriots, trailing by 13-3, switched to Stidham in the final seconds of the third quarter and he promptly provided his first NFL touchdown pass with a four-yard connection to wide receiver N’Keal Harry early in the fourth.

But the Chiefs responded with a touchdown by wide receiver Mecole Hardman on a forward flip of a pass by Mahomes, followed with a touchdown by safety Tyrann Mathieu nine seconds later on his return of a tipped-ball interception of a Stidham pass. Stidham also threw another fourth-quarter interception as the Patriots’ record dropped to 2-2.

“It was frustrating that we couldn’t pull out the win,” Stidham said in a postgame video news conference. “But we can definitely learn and get better.”

During the offseason, after Tom Brady’s March departure from the Patriots and before the team signed Newton in July, the focus was on Stidham and whether he might end up being the successor to Brady, the six-time Super Bowl winner. That changed when the Patriots were able to add Newton, the former league MVP for the Carolina Panthers. Stidham had an injury-plagued training camp and fell behind Hoyer in the competition for the backup job.

It was Hoyer, not Stidham, who was the Patriots’ primary backup to Newton in the season’s first three games. And it was Hoyer, not Stidham, who got the starting nod Monday.

“We did what we thought was best,” Coach Bill Belichick said after the game. “So that’s what we did.”

But it didn’t work out, adding to the Patriots’ issues on a very long Monday.

They underwent coronavirus testing around 6 a.m. Eastern time and then traveled to Kansas City later in the morning, after receiving an exception to the prohibition in the NFL’s protocols on teams traveling to road games on game day.

The Patriots used two planes, one for those who had been exposed to Newton and another for those who hadn’t been exposed. One left from Providence and the other from Boston, both around 9 a.m. Eastern time. The Patriots arrived in Kansas City around 12:20 p.m. Eastern time for the 7:05 p.m. game. They arrived at the team hotel about 40 minutes later and spent a few hours there before their two team buses left for the stadium at 3:30 and 4 p.m. Eastern time.

“We had to kind of maneuver some things and figure some things out,” Stidham said. “But at the end of the day, I think as a team we were ready to come here today and come in here with a great attitude and try to win a ballgame. I thought we played really hard. There were some things that we can learn from and get better from, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

Belichick said he had no concerns about playing the game, adding: “We’ve done everything right, everything we’re supposed to do. So it’s in the hands of the medical people here.”

The Chiefs upped their record to 4-0 with their 13th straight victory, including last season’s AFC playoffs and Super Bowl. They beat the Baltimore Ravens and Patriots on consecutive Mondays. They’ve started 4-0 in four straight seasons, and NFL first.

“It’s tough to win in this league,” said Chiefs Coach Andy Reid, whose team began a stretch of three games in 11 days. “And it’s tough to beat the Patriots in any situation.”

It wasn’t the Chiefs at their best but Mahomes had two touchdown passes. The other came on a similar forward flip to wideout Tyreek Hill on what amounted to an end-around.

“I felt like, especially me, we didn’t execute at a high enough level when you’re playing against a defense like that if you want to go out there and have success,” Mahomes said.

Mahomes and the Chiefs also benefited from a highly debatable first-half call on which Mahomes was ruled down before losing the football to New England linebacker Shilique Calhoun. Belichick was furious on the sideline but did not issue an instant-replay challenge.

“He called forward progress and he was down,” Belichick said. “You can’t challenge that.”

Referee Tony Corrente told a pool reporter he felt that Mahomes “was being controlled quite a bit prior to him actually going to the ground” so the play was called dead for Mahomes’s safety.

“[R]ather than allow him to get hit by a second and third player, we shut it down and considered it forward progress at that point,” Corrente said in the pool report, confirming that it was not a reviewable ruling.

It was yet another imperfection in a night full of them.

“We just didn’t play good enough,” Belichick said.

October 5, 2020 at 9:32 PM EDT

Jarrett Stidham throws pick-six to Tyrann Mathieu

By Mark Maske

The Chiefs may have put this game away with an interception returned for a touchdown by safety Tyrann Mathieu. Wide receiver Julian Edelman juggled the ball on the pass from Jarrett Stidham. Mathieu grabbed the ball on the carom and raced 25 yards to the end zone. (Chiefs 26, Patriots 10 with 8:48 left in the 4th quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 9:29 PM EDT

Mecole Hardman gets TD on flip from Patrick Mahomes

By Mark Maske

The Chiefs responded to the Patriots’ touchdown with one of their own. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman scored a six-yard touchdown on what was technically a pass by Patrick Mahomes, a forward flip as Hardman cut in front of him on what was essentially an end-around. It was a similar play to the one the Chiefs used earlier on Tyreek Hill’s touchdown.

The Chiefs benefited on the drive from a debatable personal foul on the Patriots for a light hit on Mahomes along the sideline. Kicker Harrison Butker missed the extra point. (Chiefs 19, Patriots 10 with 8:57 left in the 4th quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 9:17 PM EDT

Patriots turn to Jarrett Stidham, who throws first NFL touchdown pass

By Mark Maske

The Patriots made a quarterback switch in the final seconds of the third quarter, benching the mistake-prone Brian Hoyer for youngster Jarrett Stidham. The move paid immediate dividends as Stidham led the Patriots on a touchdown drive. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry caught a four-yard touchdown pass. An end zone interception by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu was negated when he was called for defensive pass interference for contact with Harry at the 8-yard line. It was Stidham’s first NFL touchdown pass. (Chiefs 13, Patriots 10 with 13:45 left in the 4th quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 9:08 PM EDT

Chiefs reach end zone with Mahomes-to-Hill TD

By Mark Maske

The Chiefs finally reached the end zone. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes, reaching out with the football and touching it to the pylon at the front corner of the end zone before losing possession. The Chiefs moved 85 yards on seven plays, with tight end Travis Kelce providing a 45-yard catch and run. (Chiefs 13, Patriots 3 with 42 seconds left in the 3rd quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 8:58 PM EDT

Another gaffe for Brian Hoyer, who loses fumble on sack

By Mark Maske

The mistakes by Brian Hoyer and the frustrations on offense for the Patriots continue to pile up. The Patriots reached the Kansas City 5-yard line but didn’t score, as Hoyer lost a fumble on a sack on a third-and-eight play from the 10. The Patriots presumably went with Hoyer as their fill-in starter because of his veteran experience. But he has thrown an interception and lost a fumble, and he cost the Patriots a field-goal attempt at the end of the first half when he took a sack and erroneously believed he had a timeout left. (Chiefs 6, Patriots 3 with 3:45 left in the 3rd quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 8:53 PM EDT

Brian Hoyer thought Patriots had timeout

By Mark Maske

Brian Hoyer thought the Patriots had a timeout remaining on that final play of the first half. They didn’t.

A CBS replay showed Hoyer signaling for a timeout after taking the sack that allowed the first half to end without the Patriots being able to attempt a field goal.

Either way, it was a major mistake by Hoyer.

October 5, 2020 at 8:51 PM EDT

Mike Pereira on the controversial Patrick Mahomes play

By Mark Maske

Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former officiating czar who is now a rules analyst for Fox, wrote on Twitter he believes that referee Tony Corrente called Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes down by virtue of being “in the grasp” of a Patriots defender on that controversial first-half play, rather than down by contact on the turf.

“In my opinion, Corrente called Mahomes ‘in the grasp,’ ” Pereira wrote on Twitter. “If he did, he gave the wrong signal. He pointed to the ground as if to rule he was down not in the grasp with progress stopped. He made an announcement that no one could hear. Best to not rule him stopped in my opinion.”

One big difference, Pereira pointed out, is that the Patriots could not have challenged an in-the-grasp ruling. They could have challenged a down-by-contact ruling.

October 5, 2020 at 8:37 PM EDT

Eventful but low-scoring first half ends with Brian Hoyer taking ill-advised sack

By Mark Maske

It has been a long day for the Patriots and it was a crazy first half at Arrowhead Stadium that had a little of everything… except for points. The Chiefs got two field goals to the Patriots’ one and lead, 6-3.

The half ended with the Patriots’ veteran fill-in starter at quarterback, Brian Hoyer, making a rookie mistake. He held the ball for too long and then allowed himself to be sacked by the Chiefs’ Frank Clark at the Kansas City 26-yard line. Time expired in the half and the Patriots never even got a field-goal attempt.

“You can’t do that! The only thing you can’t do is take a sack,” analyst Tony Romo said on the CBS broadcast.

That came not long after the on-field officials ruled Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes down by contact for a sack by the Patriots on a play on which Mahomes actually, it appeared, lost the ball to New England linebacker Shilique Calhoun for a fumble or interception. Calhoun grabbed the ball before it hit the ground and was headed toward the end zone when officials whistled the play dead. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was enraged on the sideline but failed to issue an instant-replay challenge, perhaps believing the officials had ruled Calhoun down following the turnover. The Chiefs, amid the confusion, managed to punt the ball away.

The Patriots, who traveled to Kansas City earlier in the day for the rescheduled game, are playing great on defense. Mahomes has thrown for a modest-for-him 137 yards on 11-for-17 passing. But Hoyer, starting in place of Cam Newton, threw an interception, took that ill-advised sack and has only 73 passing yards. He connected on 10 of 16 first-half throws. (Chiefs 6, Patriots 3 at halftime)

October 5, 2020 at 8:20 PM EDT

Officials rule Mahomes down for sack instead of turnover, Belichick doesn’t challenge

By Mark Maske

The Chiefs benefited from an apparently missed call on a fumble or interception by Patrick Mahomes, instead ruled a sack by the on-field officials and not challenged by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. Mahomes was sacked and lost the football, which went directly to New England linebacker Shilique Calhoun. He caught the ball before it hit the ground and began running toward the end zone. The officials whistled the play dead, ruling that Mahomes had been down by contact before losing the ball and prompting an angry reaction by Belichick on the sideline.

Amid the confusion, the Chiefs got their punt team on the field and punted the ball away, without Belichick throwing a red challenge flag. The call appeared wrong. Analyst Tony Romo speculated on the CBS broadcast that Belichick thought the officials were ruling that Calhoun was down after the turnover, not that Mahomes was down before it. (Chiefs 6, Patriots 3 with 5:44 left in the 2nd quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 8:03 PM EDT

Patriots cut into lead with field goal of their own

By Mark Maske

The Patriots finally got moving on offense but had to settle for a 43-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk. The kick came after Brian Hoyer’s third-and-11 incompletion on a pass for wide receiver N’Keal Harry. Earlier on the drive, wideout Gunner Olszewski made a diving catch of a deflected pass for an 11-yard gain on third and seven. Tailback Rex Burkhead provided an 18-yard run. (Chiefs 6, Patriots 3 with 9:31 left in the 2nd quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 7:49 PM EDT

Sammy Watkins loses fumble as Chiefs fail to cash in on interception of Brian Hoyer

By Mark Maske

The Chiefs failed to capitalize on an interception of a Brian Hoyer pass. The interception by Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill set them up at the New England 23-yard line. But wide receiver Sammy Watkins lost a fumble at the Patriots 15 after catching a pass from Patrick Mahomes. (Chiefs 6, Patriots 0 with 14:51 left in the 2nd quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 7:43 PM EDT

Another field goal for Chiefs

By Mark Maske

The Chiefs are in front but they’re getting field goals instead of touchdowns so far. Kicker Harrison Butker connected from 39 yards this time. Just before the kick, Patrick Mahomes stepped out of bounds after getting nine yards on a third-and-14 scramble. He took a light hit from New England’s Devin McCourty and could be heard saying, “Come on,” to McCourty, who was not penalized. (Chiefs 6, Patriots 0 with 13 seconds left in the 1st quarter)

October 5, 2020 at 7:38 PM EDT

Long day for Patriots

By Mark Maske

It has been a very long Monday for the Patriots. They underwent coronavirus testing around 6 a.m. Eastern time and then traveled to Kansas City for this rescheduled game this morning, after receiving an exception to the prohibition in the NFL’s coronavirus protocols on teams traveling to road games on game day.

The Patriots used two planes, one for those who had been exposed to Cam Newton and another for those who hadn’t been exposed. One left from Providence and the other from Boston, both around 9 a.m. Eastern time. The Patriots arrived in Kansas City around 12:20 p.m. Eastern time for the 7:05 p.m. game. They arrived at the team hotel about 40 minutes later and spent a few hours there before their two team buses left for the stadium at 3:30 and 4 p.m. Eastern time.

October 5, 2020 at 7:22 PM EDT

Chiefs get field goal on opening drive

By Mark Maske

The Chiefs have the early lead after a 23-yard field goal by kicker Harrison Butker on their opening drive. Kansas City held the ball for 11 plays and moved 70 yards. Still, it was a bit of a victory for the Patriots defense to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone after they had a first down at the New England 6-yard line. Patrick Mahomes nearly threw an interception early in the drive but then had completions of 22 yards and 17 yards to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. An 11-yard connection to rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire moved the ball to the 6 before the drive stalled. (Chiefs 3, Patriots 0 with 10:08 left in the 1st quarter)

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