Saturday’s NFL: Patriots-Chiefs showdown postponed to Monday or Tuesday
Kansas City, Mo. – The Patriots-Chiefs game has been postponed until Monday or Tuesday due to positive coronavirus tests.
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and Chiefs practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu are so far the only ones to return positive tests, but both teams are doing additional screening. In the meantime, the Chiefs shut down their facility Saturday and are looking ahead to playing their showdown with the Patriots in a couple of days.
“It’s a pandemic, so things can happen,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said this week, when news emerged from Tennessee about an outbreak with the Titans, which has forced their game against Pittsburgh to be postponed. “But you’ve got to take as many precautionary measures as you can and try to stick with them, and if something happens like that, then you’ve got to work through that. We’ve all been coached up on it, and we’re all trying to do the best we possibly can with it.”
The Patriots had planned to visit Arrowhead Stadium behind a quarterback who can run at any time and a backfield that ran roughshod over the Raiders last weekend. But now the Patriots will likely go with Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham, which should be good news to a Chiefs team that has historically struggled against the run.
The Patriots still have plenty of threats in the backfield. Sony Michel needed just nine carries to pile up 117 yards, Rex Burkhead reached the end zone three times and the Patriots totaled 250 yards rushing in their win over Las Vegas.
Now, the first order of business any week may be to stop the run – something the Chiefs (3-0) did quite well against the Ravens on Monday night. But the challenge is even more important when the Patriots (2-1) have shown such a propensity for grinding out yards on the ground. They lead the league in rushing through the first three weeks.
The Chiefs are 27th at defending the run.
The Patriots also hope their running game allows them to control the clock, shortening the game and thereby keeping record-setting quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the dynamic Chiefs offense off the field.
“Ball control and points. You know that,” Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears said. “Let’s get the points and let’s control the ball; I don’t care how we do it. Dink-and-dunk, quarterback sneak, I don’t give a (darn). Just get it done.”
They have a lot of guys who can get it done, too. Michel and Burkhead are a considerable backfield tandem, but undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor also has gotten into the mix. James White was back at practice this week after the death of his father in an auto accident, as was Damien Harris, who has been on injured reserve with a finger problem.
“We’re a bunch of competitors,” Taylor said, “but we also want to see each other succeed.”
Cowboys’ Collins out for season
Dallas Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins will have season-ending surgery on an ailing hip that has kept him out since the start of training camp, a person with knowledge of the decision said.
Collins was placed on injured reserve with the hope of returning at some point, but his health hasn’t improved. The person spoke to Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team isn’t releasing specifics of Collins’ injury.
The absence of Collins has been part of an injury issue at tackle that has left the Dallas offensive line, long considered one of the best in the NFL, in a rare state of flux.
Four-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin played tackle for the first time since his days at Notre Dame in the second half of last week’s 38-31 loss to Seattle. Rookie Terence Steele had to leave the game because of an illness.
Seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith is expected to return Sunday at home against Cleveland after missing two games with a neck issue. The absence of Collins and Smith left Dallas without its top three tackles, with backup Cameron Erving batting a knee injury.
Green Bay linebacker Christian Kirksey (pectoral) and wide receiver Allen Lazard (core) have gone on injured reserve after both players got hurt in a victory over the New Orleans Saints.
... Buffalo has activated Josh Norman (hamstring) off injured reserve, making the cornerback eligible to play at the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday
... The San Francisco has activated receiver Deebo Samuel (broken foot) from injured reserve and promoted running back JaMycal Hasty to the active roster