NFL: New England Patriots at Washington Redskins

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, shakes hands with Jay Gruden on Sunday after the New England-Washington game. Gruden on Monday was fired as coach of the Redskins.

HOURS AFTER the Patriots finished their latest scrimmage against their latest lousy opponent, an old friend helped out his old team.

OK, he did it mostly by handing the ball off, but Jacoby Brissett and his Colts upset the Chiefs, knocking Kansas City from the ranks of the undefeated.

Let’s face it, folks are looking ahead to Dec. 8, when the Patriots host the Chiefs with what is likely the AFC’s No. 1 seed on the line. The Chiefs’ loss to the Colts Sunday night might come in handy down the road.

Brissett was just 18-for-29 for 151 yards, a pick and no TDs. He handed the ball off 39 times and ran it himself six times.

Earlier Sunday, the Patriots trailed in a game for the first time this season and overcame more kicking woes to hammer the winless Redskins, who fired coach Jay Gruden Monday.

The Pats’ soft early schedule continues with the Giants coming to Gillette Stadium Thursday night, followed by a return game at the Jets and the Browns coming to Foxborough. Cleveland was 2-2 heading into Monday night’s game in San Francisco.

The Bills won again Sunday, so they’re 4-1. But the other four victims — the Steelers, Dolphins, Jets and Redskins, are a combined 1-17 and minus-292 in points differential. The Giants are 2-3 and a minus-28.

The easiest opening eight games of a good team’s schedule in NFL history? Seems like it.

By the way, the Pats opened as 16½-point favorites over the Giants.

Tom Brady passed Brett Favre and moved into third place on the NFL’s all-time passing yardage list. He will pass Peyton Manning and become No. 2 Thursday but Drew Brees is still a ways off.

Brady was among those impressed by the number of Pats fans in Washington Sunday. I was listening on the radio and it sounded like a home game for the visitors.

“That was ridiculous,” Brady said. “I thought it was pretty amazing. That felt like a home game. Probably from the time that we got to the hotel … till we ran in after the game, that was pretty sweet. We appreciate all the support down here. It’s good to come down here and get a win in front of them.”

Staying defensive

They got burned early, but the defense continued its dominance over the weak competition.

Basically, we’re talking record-setting type defense.’s Ryan Hannable posted, “Patriots defense is on pace to allow just 109 points this season now that it has allowed only 34 so far this season. For context, the 2000 Ravens, who allowed a NFL-record 165 points, gave up 55 points through the first five games.

Clearly, tougher opposition later — the Chiefs, Cowboys, etc. — will put that to the test but for now even Bill Belichick is happy.

After getting stung early, the defense really stuck it to the lowly ’Skins.

“It happened early, obviously a bad play,” Belichick said. “We certainly could coach it better, we could play it better. They did, they bounced right back and kind of had a high level of determination to execute better and like I said, we fixed a couple of things.”

Monday, Brady, appearing on WEEI, said this defense is “playing as well as any defense I have ever played with,” and he has played with MANY great defenses.

New Patriots placekicker Mike Nugent missed his first extra point in his eighth uniform, then bounced back in the rout.

“It’s just one of those things I can’t stand — and I can probably speak for every kicker,” Nugent said. “To see my teammates go down and expect seven points and I only give them six is something that I just don’t find acceptable, and it gives me something to work on, definitely, this week.

“I think it’s always good to bounce back and hit some short ones and hit the rest of them, but it’s just like a golfer: You’re thinking of the shot you want back.”

Julian Edelman was clearly uncomfortable Sunday, but that wasn’t about to stop the little engine that could.

“Julian’s a tough kid, always has been,” Belichick said Monday. “He showed that in college, showed it his rookie year here and all the way through his career. So, he fights for every yard, he’s a competitive blocker, he’s got excellent playing strength and plays bigger than what his size is because of his leverage, pad level and just overall physical and mental toughness … he’s done a great job for us, continues to do that and he’s one of the most competitive players I’ve coached.”

Kemba praised

Jay King of The Athletic took the words of Brad Stevens to heart. The Celtics coach said he never heard anyone say a bad word about Kemba Walker. So King went to Walker’s former Charlotte teammates to see if they agreed with Stevens.

They did.

“That’s our guy,” said Hornet Marvin Williams. “He meant so much to this organization, to this team, to the city of Charlotte. You’ve gotta be forever grateful, man. I’m certainly blessed to have played with someone like that.”

Added Cody Zeller: “He was great to play with for six years, great to learn from. I played most of my minutes on the court with him, so we had a good chemistry together. I think that he’s done a lot not only for my career, for the organization, for the community of Charlotte.”

Tacko Fall, the Celtics’ giant new toy, is opening some eyes. Stevens said, “I just hope people continue to appreciate him for what he is as a person and how hard he’s working to try to make the NBA.”

The odds of Fall making it to the opening night roster are still long — he’s likely headed to a start in Portland, Maine for the Red Claws in the G-League — but if he does eventually settle in Boston, he has to do a podcast with the team’s radio voice.

We shall call it … “Tacko Grande,” of course.

Defensive start

The Bruins have scored just three goals in the first two games of their opening four-game road trip. But they have allowed just one, with Jaro Halak turning in a shutout at Arizona Saturday night.

“It was great to be back playing a real game,” Halak said after his 48th career shutout. “Playing with these boys, it’s really special. I was looking forward to it again. It worked out well. We came here, their home opener, and we got two points.”

Halak is a Bruins luxury. He gives them two No. 1 goaltenders. No, Tuukka Rask’s job isn’t in jeopardy, but having this guy is … like we said, a luxury.

The B’s have just 46 shots on goal through two games, but Patrice Bergeron said after Saturday’s game, “Tonight was a little better. We’ve got to keep improving and keep communicating and finding each other.”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.