KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are many places one could start when assessing the embarrassing performance turned in by the New England Patriots in their 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s all fair game, from quarterback Tom Brady to the overmatched defense.

But we’re starting on the sidelines with Bill Belichick and his coaching staff.

This is what Belichick said in his pregame radio interview on the Sports Hub: “I think our guys are ready to go. It’s been a long week, but I feel like we have improved in a lot of areas, so hopefully, we will see that tonight.”

We didn’t. Instead, we saw one of the ugliest games of Belichick’s 15-year coaching tenure, another slow start and, ultimately, a postgame locker room in which some players acknowledged they don’t know what they are right now, on either side of the ball.

That seems to be true with the coaching staff as well, specifically on offense.

This is a time of identity crisis.

The Patriots, under coordinator Josh McDaniels, have long prided themselves on being a game-plan offense that varies its attack on a weekly basis to exploit the opposition’s weakness. The key has been having the varied and talented personnel to pull that off, but after Monday night, it seems obvious that those forces aren’t currently in alignment.

One example: The Patriots entered with the intention of throwing the ball — likely with the belief that the Chiefs’ linebackers and secondary depth were areas of vulnerability — as evidenced by having Brady in the shotgun on 17 of 23 first-half snaps (including penalties). It was a risky approach given the environment, a raucous Arrowhead Stadium that set the outdoor record for loudest crowd roar, for a team …read more