Patriots WR Julian Edelman’s drops are starting to becoming a problem.
Nobody should be surprised that the Patriots remained competitive against the Chiefs on Monday night after seemingly every analyst and pundit wrote them off in light of Cam Newton testing positive for COVID-19.
The defense gave Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense fits all game, but head coach Bill Belichick’s side simply couldn’t overcome costly turnovers and an overall lack of execution on the other side of the ball.
Had Newton been under center, the Patriots very well could have escaped Arrowhead with a victory, but his replacements, Brian Hoyer and (eventually) Jarrett Stidham, looked like two players who shouldn’t see the field for the rest of the season. With that being said, however, we would argue that one of the bigger takeaways was wide receiver Julian Edelman continuing to struggle with drops.
With the Patriots still within striking distance down nine points early in the fourth quarter, Edelman let the most simple of passes go through his hands and into the welcoming arms of KC safety Tryann Mathieu, who returned it 26 yards to the house to put the game out of reach.
This simply cannot happen and these sort of mistakes have become all too familiar for Edelman over the past couple of seasons. The 34-year-old veteran has dropped a whopping 11 passes since the start of the 2019, which is by far the most in the league. Patriots ESPN reporter Mike Reiss pointed out following the pick-six that no player has more than eight drops during that span.
CBS color analyst Tony Romo attempted to defend Edelman after the interception by saying he wasn’t expecting the pass to be thrown in his direction, and we couldn’t disagree more. Not even the three-time champ would use that as an excuse.
For as bad as Stidham played after coming off the bench in the fourth quarter, that was quite literally a perfectly placed pass. If Edelman catches it and makes Mathieu miss, he probably gets a first down and the Patriots all of a sudden have a real chance of making it a one-possession game.
We love Edelman, but these drops are starting to become a huge concern. As the clear No. 1 wideout and one of the undisputed leaders in the locker room, he needs to be better. We won’t go as far as to say that he cost the Patriots the game, but he certainly squandered any chance they had at making a comeback.