Brady, Belichick and the Pats run Mahomes, Reid and the Chiefs in OT

The good, bad and ugly of the AFC Championship game

The good, bad and ugly of the AFC Championship game
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In the matchup of the old versus young, we saw the oldhead prevail as the Patriots beat the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime. Here's how I saw things play out:

The Good

-Bill Belichick found what worked best and exploited it. He made Pat Mahomes uncomfortable in the pocket by getting pressure up the middle, while also maintaining containment on the outside. Four sacks for 46 yards lost, mostly in the first half, was enough to frustrate the Chiefs' offense and help the Pats build a lead. But…

-…Andy Reid and Mahomes have weapons to combat whatever is thrown at them. The signing of running back Damien Williams midseason has proven to be their answer for losing Kareem Hunt due to stupidity. Mahomes/Reid is similar to the Brett Favre/Mike Holmgren combo in that you have a good, young quarterback with a good play calling coach.

-Tom Brady is the GOAT. There's no more arguing or debate. Put it to rest please. We all must learn to appreciate greatness when we see it happening, and the Brady/Belichek era of what they're doing is great.

The Bad

-Brady made an uncharacteristic red zone interception. In the second quarter, he threw a pass off target that Chief's linebacker Reggie Ragland picked off. Rob Gronkowski was running a crossing route off play action. He wasn't wide open, but the pass should've been thrown higher and more towards the back of the end zone.

-Speaking of Gronk, he went 50-plus minutes in between catches. From the 12:28 mark of the first quarter to the 5:28 mark of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs defense held him in check. Being such a large part of what the Pats are able to do on offense, it helped the Chiefs get back into the game.

-The Chiefs defense couldn't hold up in overtime. They played up, or down, to the level of their competition up until when it counted most. In overtime, they never gave their offense a chance to try to win the game.

The Ugly

-Chiefs' safety Eric Berry was clearly playing injured. He was a shell of his former All-Pro self. On the Patriots' touchdown just before halftime, his zone assignment was a short zone in the middle of the field. He barely moved and the bulk of the action was nowhere near his zone. He also gave up a 25-yard completion to Gronk with 54 seconds left in the game that put the Pats in touchdown range. Word is that he'll need surgery on the heel in the offseason.

- The Chiefs were held scoreless in the first half. They totaled 32 yards of offense in the first half which 43 yards less than Patriot running back Sony Michel had rushing in the same time frame. All season, we've never seen this Chiefs team held in check like this for that extended period of time.

-Brady threw two interceptions in this game. Both came with them ahead by one score, but only one turned into points for the Chiefs. Typically when the Chiefs are given extra possessions, they're able to turn them into points and wins.

The Super Bowl in this day and age wouldn't be complete if the Patriots weren't in the mix. The Chiefs gave it their best shot, but couldn't pull off the win. As much as people would love to see the Patriots dynasty fall to pieces, it isn't time yet. A matchup with the Rams looms. Super Bowl 53 is set and we get another young versus old matchup.

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Will all the Texans playmakers be satisfied with their roles in the offense? Composite Getty Image.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show this weekand shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a ton of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Which got us thinking, are there enough catches to go around?

We took a deep dive into the 2023 numbers and here's what we found. CJ Stroud averaged 21 completions per game. And here's a breakdown of how many catches his receivers averaged last year.

Nico Collins 5.3 catches per game

Stefon Diggs (with Buffalo) 6.29 catches per game

Dalton Schultz 3.93 catches per game

Tank Dell 4.27 catches per game

Texans running backs 3.05 catches per game

If we add those up, the total is 22.84. Which means the Texans top receivers should expect a similar amount of production compared to last season. Of course, players like Noah Brown, Robert Woods, and Brevin Jordan will take targets away from Stefon Diggs and company from time to time.

But it's good to know that the Texans top pass catchers should produce numbers close to their 2023 averages. Which is a big deal for a player in a contract year like Diggs.

Another thing to note. We're factoring in that the Texans are expected to run out of 11 personnel most of the time. Which means Diggs, Collins, Dell, Schultz, and Mixon will be the only pass catchers on the field the majority of the time.

Are there concerns about the defense?

Both Kimes and Bien-Aime designated Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. Is he right?

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to Kimes and Bien-Aime's outlook for the Texans this year, and share our thoughts on the possible pitfalls the team will have to navigate in the short and long-term.

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