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Patriots 0, Chiefs 3, End 1st: Slow Start Has Patriots Trailing After First Quarter

The New England Patriots trail the Kansas City Chiefs 3-0 after 15 minutes of football in Foxborough.

While many expected this game to be something of a mismatch, the Kansas City Chiefs have been more than holding their own despite starting Tyler Palko in place of an injured Matt Cassel. A strong ground game lead by Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster has kept the pressure off of Palko well enough that the backup quarterback has been able to take advantage of the Patriots' bottom-of-the-barrel secondary.

The first series for each team resulted in an exchange of 3-and-outs, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis dropping a pass and picking up only a meager pair of yards. The Chiefs were the first to move the ball on their second drive, but Jerod Mayo stuffed Jackie Battle on 3rd-and-1, and Kansas City elected not to go for it, taking a delay of game and pinning the Pats deep.

Despite picking up their first fresh set of downs on the ensuing drive, the Patriots were again forced to punt when Rob Gronkowski dropped a pass on 3rd-and-7. A big return on the punt would set the Chiefs up at midfield--they would take advantage of the short field. Unable to stop the run game, the Pats would allow the Chiefs to march all the way inside the 5-yard line, but would be saved by an ill-advised QB keeper and an illegal shift penalty, backing the Chiefs up and forcing a field goal.

Then came one of the gutsiest calls the season has seen so far. Taking just a quick step back after getting set, Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop made a quick surprise onside-kick which could well have worked had the ball not deflected off a Kansas City player's leg just shy of the 10 yards necessary to make the kick legal. The Patriots hadterrific field position to start the second quarter, but only a few minutes in, and Tom Brady's fumble has left them high-and-dry once again.