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Following the flags: Tracking Patriots penalties for 2014 season

09.30.14 at 9:00 am ET
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Through four games, the Patriots have been flagged for 33 penalties (seventh-most in the league) for a total of 352 yards (fourth-most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots this year, not including penalties that were declined or offset:
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Tracking opportunities in Patriots passing game

09.30.14 at 7:45 am ET
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Brandon LaFell

Brandon LaFell

Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown after three regular-season games this year.

WR Julian Edelman: 26 catches on 36 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 15 catches on 21 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 13 catches on 26 targets
WR Brandon LaFell: 10 catches on 24 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 catches on 11 targets
TE Tim Wright: 4 catches on 5 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 3 catches on 7 targets
RB James White: 3 catches on 3 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 3 catches on 4 targets
FB James Develin: 2 catches on 2 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 1 catch on 3 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 catch on 2 targets
TE Michael Hoomananwanui: 1 catch on 1 target

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Bill Belichick promises, ‘We’re going to do better’

09.30.14 at 1:14 am ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick knows Monday’s performance was not good enough. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick spoke for 10 minutes after Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City, but he didn’t need many words to sum up what he felt after his team was beaten in every possible manner, 41-14, by the Chiefs.

The team stands at 2-2, but it feels much worse. The Patriots traded away Logan Mankins and their offensive line has responded with a disastrous start. The middle of the line was somewhat improved Monday night, but Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder were beaten badly on back-to-back drives in the third quarter as the Chiefs edge rushers blew right by them.

It appears they haven’t recovered since the trade of their captain on the offensive line.

“We can sit here and have a lot of hypothetical questions,” Belichick said. “We are where we are and we’re going to do better.”

But perhaps most troubling Monday night was the defense. They allowed 303 yards in the first half, the worst defensive half of football in the Belichick era in Foxboro.

“We need to perform better,” Belichick said. “It wasn’t good enough.

“I’ve said many times, every year, we’ve got to go out and prove ourselves every year, all of us. So we all have to do that.”

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Bill Belichick laughs off QB controversy between Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo

09.30.14 at 12:51 am ET
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It may have seemed laughable at the start of the season, but after a 41-14 pummeling at the hands of the Chiefs on Monday night in Kansas City, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was actually asked if he was going to “evaluate” the quarterback position this week before taking on the Bengals on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

The question didn’t even elicit a verbal response, just a smirk and a brief laugh.

What was no joke was Brady’s continued struggles to start 2014. He was just 14-of-23 for 159 yards, a TD pass to Brandon LaFell and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. His QB rating was 59.9. Brady has completed 58.8 percent of his passes with a rating of 82.9, 13 points below his career average.

Belichick was asked afterward if he’s concerned about Brady’s performance after four games.

“I think we all need to perform better as a team,” Belichick answered.

When Jimmy Garoppolo came on to replace Brady with 10 minutes left in a 41-7 game, he led the Patriots on a touchdown drive on his first NFL drive. The drive was capped off when Garoppolo found Rob Gronkowski at the 5 and the tight end fought his way into the end zone.

Garoppolo’s second drive ended when he was sacked inside his own 20.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, Tom Brady

Patriots offensive line continues to make changes, struggling to find right combination

09.30.14 at 12:29 am ET
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Tamba Hali was able to get to Tom Brady for a strip sack in the second half of Monday's 41-17 loss to the Chiefs. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Tamba Hali was able to get to Tom Brady for a strip sack in the second half of Monday’s 41-14 loss to the Chiefs. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Patriots made a few changes to the struggling offensive line prior to Monday’s game against the Chiefs by starting two rookies — Bryan Stork at center and Cameron Fleming at right guard (his first time ever playing the position), as well as moving Dan Connolly to left guard.

In addition, the team deactivated Jordan Devey, who had started the first three games of the season. Even with the changes, it did not stick as the team continued to rotate players in and out almost every series throughout the game trying to find a combination that works.

Here is our breakdown of the line (left tackle to right tackle) for each of their 11 drives:

  • Drive 1: Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, Sebastian Vollmer (Punt)
  • Drive 2: Solder, Connolly, Stork, Fleming, Vollmer (Punt)
  • Drive 3: Solder, Connolly, Stork, Fleming, Vollmer (Punt)
  • Drive 4: Solder, Connolly, Stork, Fleming, Marcus Cannon (Punt)
  • Drive 5: Solder, Connolly, Stork, Fleming, Vollmer (Punt)
  • Drive 6: Solder, Connolly, Stork, Fleming, Vollmer (Fumble)
  • Drive 7: Solder, Connolly, Stork, Fleming, Vollmer (Interception)
  • Drive 8: Cannon, Connolly, Stork, Fleming, Vollmer (Touchdown)
  • Drive 9: Solder, Connolly, Stork, Ryan Wendell, Vollmer (Interception)
  • Drive 10: Solder: Wendell, Stork, Fleming, Cannon (Touchdown)
  • Drive 11: Cannon, Wendell, Stork, Fleming, Vollmer (Punt)

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Read More: Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, Dan Connolly, Nate Solder

Tom Brady: ‘Everyone is going to tell us how terrible we are’

09.30.14 at 12:17 am ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots were crushed Monday night. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots were crushed Monday night. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

If you’re a member of the New England Patriots, this might be a very good week to wear ear muffs and “ignore the noise” around Gillette Stadium

Certainly, Tom Brady knows what’s coming.

After he and his teammates were annihilated, 41-14, in Kansas City, Brady knows there will be countless critics of the Patriots, who fell to 2-2.

“There’s a lot of negativity,” Brady said. “Everyone is going to tell us how terrible we are. That’s just the NFL.”

Brady was just 14-of-23 for 159 yards. He threw two interceptions, including a pick-six, and had a wretched 59.9 rating.

“We’re trying to find what we’re good at so we can find consistency,” Brady said. “Ultimately it comes down to dependability and consistency for me.

“If you play poorly, you’re not going to win many games on the road. Confidence, I’m not worried. There’s no one that’s going to dig us out of this hole. We have to look each other in the eye.”

Next up, the 3-0 Bengals on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

“We’ll have to play our best to beat [Cincinnati],” Brady said. “We’ll find out what we’re made of. We have our work cut out. We have a great football team coming in this weekend that’s undefeated.

“Probably good that it’s a short week.”

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Poll: Who should get majority of blame for Patriots’ blowout loss to Chiefs?

09.29.14 at 11:25 pm ET
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The Patriots were absolutely manhandled in dropping a 41-14 decision to the Chiefs on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

There was plenty of blame to go around. How should it be distributed?

What/Who was most to blame for Patriots' loss

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