night that rightfully will take its place among the greatest regular season contests ever to take place at Gillette Stadium. The team’s 43-40 victory over the visiting Kansas City Chiefs produced not only plenty of points but also plenty of memorable plays. One of which was a first quarter interception by Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower that set up the first touchdown of the night.Let’s take a look at the tape to find out how the Patriots were able to force the quarterback of the undefeated Chiefs into throwing the pick – and thus to lay the groundwork for a strong defensive performance in the first half.1-10-KC 23 (5:12) (Shotgun) P.Mahomes pass short middle intended for T.Kelce INTERCEPTED by D.Hightower at KC 31. D.Hightower to KC 4 for 27 yards (D.Harris).Dont’a Hightower intercepting Patrick Mahomes came right after a Patriots field goal made it a 3-3 game. With Kansas City deep in its own territory after the kickoff Authentic Jordan Richards Jersey , New England did what it tried to do all night long to attack the Chiefs’ first-year starter: force him to set the correct protections and make the right reads pre-snap and follow it up with sound decisions afterwards. While the results were a mixed bag for the Patriots later on, the plan worked well in the first half.It starts with the defense giving Mahomes only limited information before the snap:NFL Game PassThe Patriots have a 2-4-5 nickel package on the field, showing a cover 1 look with the deep defensive back – Duron Harmon (#21) – aligning outside the weak-side numbers to serve as a safety net against speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill (#10). What makes this look hard to decipher from Mahomes’ perspective is not the coverage, though, but the front-line defenders: who is dropping back into coverage, who is going to attack the pocket?Mahomes sees two down-linemen and four standup linebackers, two of which aligning off the ball as potential blitzers. Futhermore, strong safety Patrick Chung (#23) also lines up close to the box:NFL Game PassThe Chiefs use a play action call against this defensive alignment, with Mahomes faking a hand-off to running back Kareem Hunt (#27). Meanwhile, the blockers in front – the five offensive linemen plus tight end Demetrius Harris (#84) – pick up New England’s four on-the-line players: Harris is assigned to account for one of the linebackers or either Chung or Trey Flowers (#98), while right tackle Mitchell Schwartz (#71) picks up Kyle Van Noy (#53).The other linemen use combo-blocks on defensive tackles Danny Shelton (#71) and Lawrence Guy (#93). With Elandon Roberts (#52) covering Hunt out of the backfield, Dont’a Hightower (#54) initially also attacks the pocket. This makes center Mitch Morse (#61) peel off his double-team on Guy to pick up the linebacker. However, instead of taking on Morse, Hightower drops out and back into the underneath zone:NFL Game PassMahomes, however, does not see Hightower moving back into the hole in the middle of the field. Instead Montee Ball Jersey Salute to Service , he turns his attention to tight end Travis Kelce (#87) after his first read(s) on the weak side of the formation are not open. Kelce originally aligned in the X-spot on the left side of the offense and, following an attempted chip by Flowers, runs a crossing pattern about seven yards deep. Covering Kelce is Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty (#32), who gave up the inside release and plays a trail technique. With the big tight end a step ahead of the defender, Mahomes decides to make him the target on the first down throw. What he does not see, however, is Hightower doing an excellent job to adjust to the trajectory of the football and thus take away the passing lane. The result is the game’s first turnover:NFL Game PassHightower returns the interception 27 yards to the Kansas City 4. One play later, running back Sony Michel reaches the end zone to give New England a 10-3 lead and some momentum early in the contest.Overall, the play illustrates how the Patriots planned to challenge the rather inexperienced Mahomes’ reaction and decision making early in the contest. Kansas City was still able to do plenty of damage through tremendous scheme and execution, but the different pressure packages remained a problem for them all game long. While the result was not always as perfect as it was on the Hightower pick, the unit actually had some success with its original plan. The New England Patriots and starting running back Sony Michel received encouraging news yesterday: after the first-round draft selection went down with a serious-looking knee injury in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, an MRI found no structural damage. While the 22-year old is still expected to miss some time because of the injury and is considered week-to-week, he will return at one point down the line.The Patriots need to replace Michel in the meantime, and it will not be an easy task: the rookie averaged 22 carries and 105.3 yards over the three games leading up to Sunday’s contest. Of course, New England could turn to its remaining two running backs on the roster to carry the bulk of the load, but more depth would certainly be needed in order to lift some pressure off James White and Kenjon Barner.With that in mind Deatrich Wise Jr Jersey , let’s take a look at five potential options the team might bring in as short-term replacements for Michel and depth options alongside White and Barner. All five of them have some ties to New England, with four of them having already been worked out earlier this season and the fifth currently on the practice squad.RB Orleans DarkwaAfter joining the New York Giants late during his rookie season, Orleans Darkwa was quickly able to establish himself as a depth running back and core special teamer that saw his role grow over the next three years. In 2017, he finally became a regular member of the Giants’ rotation at the position and the result was a career performance: Darkwa finished with 190 touches for 867 yards and five touchdowns. His versatility and experience could make for an intriguing addition to the backfield.RB Andre EllingtonA versatile running back that amassed over 3,000 yards from scrimmage over the course of his five-year career, Andre Ellington has been on the open market since the start of free agency. The 29-year old, who spent the majority of his career so far with the Arizona Cardinals, is an experienced runner between the tackles that also has seen plenty of targets in the passing game. Despite his smaller build, his experience could help him quickly get up to speed in New England.RB Kenneth FarrowIn April, coming off a season spent on injured reserve, the Los Angeles Chargers elected to release Kenneth Farrow. The former undrafted free agent, who had spent the first two years of his career with the team, remained on the open market until New England picked him up in late August. Farrow appeared in one preseason contest for the Patriots – registering five rushes for 24 yards while playing 16 offensive snaps – and was let go again during roster cutdowns. Since then, he had two separate stints on the team’s practice squad and with Michel hurting his knee could be a candidate for promotion to the 53-man roster.RB Charles SimsCharles Sims joined the NFL in 2014 as a third-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A versatile back, the West Virginia product appeared in 47 games over his four years with the team and registered 245 carries for 958 yards and two touchdowns as well as 129 catches for 1,190 yards and six scores. However Limited Rex Burkhead Jersey , Sims was a relative afterthought during this year’s free agency and eventually re-joined the Buccaneers before being placed on injured reserve in August. After being released with an injury settlement, the 6’0, 215 lbs back could be an experienced option to fill Michel’s shoes.RB Charcandrick WestCharcandrick West is another experienced player that could be attractive to the Patriots as a free agency option at running back. The 27-year old, who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, has been used as both a ball carrier and a receiver out of the backfield since joining the league in 2014: due to his versatility, he has amassed 341 offensive touches for a combined 1,551 yards and 12 touchdowns. West, who also is no stranger to playing on special teams, is another plug-and-play candidate.Two notable names are missing from the list above – and for good reason: while former practice squad back and Vanderbilt standout Ralph Webb is still on the open market, he has show little to warrant a spot on the scout team. Seeing him fill a spot on the 53-man roster in light of Michel’s injury seems to be unrealistic. Ex-Patriot Mike Gillislee also comes to mind as a potential addition but a reunion is not expected to happen, according to a recent report by WEEI’s Ryan Hannable.New England, of course, could also try to swing a trade for a running back – the Detroit Lions’ Ameer Abdullah or the San Francisco 49ers’ Alfred Morris come to mind – but unless Michel is a candidate to be placed on injured reserve and miss at least eight weeks it would be a minor surprise to see the team give up resources to add a player now. After all, Rex Burkhead will be eligible to return off the I.R. list in week 11.