The New England Patriots are going to the AFC Championship Game for the fifth straight time after beating the Chiefs, 27-20 in today’s first-round divisional battle.
The Patriots offense looked like the Patriots offense for the first time in two months thanks to Edelman and Gronk being healthy and on the field at the same time. Brady would connect with his favorite duo over and over again against the Chiefs 7th ranked defense and 9th ranked passing defense. Brady was dialed in and when the wide receivers were catching passes instead of dropping them, they moved the ball at ease against the Chiefs.
The Chiefs had an easy time of their own crossing the 50 yard line almost every time they had the football, but unlike the Patriots, they had a tough time all game finishing drives off with touchdowns and that would be the difference in this game.
Brady would begin the game by hitting Edelman on back-to-back first down plays, then following it up with a quick 16 yards to Amendola before hitting Gronk three times on the drive, the third being for a touchdown. The biggest play was Brady stepping up in the pocket and buying time to find Gronk down the middle for a 32 yard pick up. Later on, Brady would throw to Gronk who was man up in the end zone for the touchdown. It was great execution.
The Chiefs would answer with a field goal during a quick first quarter before the game stalled a bit and both teams traded a few punts.
Tom Brady would drive his offense back up the field 98 yards and finish it off with a touchdown. He ran 10 yards and went flying in the air for a touchdown that was missed by the replay official, but had the football at the one yard anyway, which led to a QB sneak and a 14-3 lead.
The Chiefs would end the half with a field goal to inch closer, 14-6. The Chiefs would start the second half and drive up the field on a long drive but when Knile Davis hit the Patriots 30 yard line on a pass play, Chandler Jones would chase and knocked out the football and Hightower recovered it. A needed play for the Pats defense.
Tom Brady would make the most of the turnover by going to his two main guys, Edelman and Gronk. The first play would be a 18 yard completion to Gronk followed by an 11 yard reverse by Edelman. Brady would go right back to Edelman for a 14 yard pick up before hitting James White for a quick 10 yard gain. Brady would be in the red zone and fake pump the football in such a great way the Chiefs safety bit hard on the play leaving Gronk wide open for the 16 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Pats were up 21-6 in the third.
The Chiefs, however, just wouldn’t go away and answered with a beautiful drive of their own, capping it with a 10 yard score from Smith to Wilson. Chiefs got a little closer, 13-21 still in the third.
The Patriots would go into the fourth quarter with the lead and followed the Chiefs touchdown drive with a field goal, extending their lead 24-13.
The Patriots defense began to stiffen and forced a three and out, getting the ball back to the hot offense which rewarded them with another field goal. The score would be 27-13 with 10:20 left to play.
The Chiefs would get the ball across midfield but turn it over on downs after Harmon had an almost interception.
The Patriots had no running game so they threw the football, or attempted to, to the run the clock, but incompletions forced a quick three and out after a 6 yard gain on first down.
The Chiefs would get the ball back with over 6 minutes left to play, but went on a very long and time consuming drive that would leave them with only 1:18 left to play even after their West one yard touchdown run to make it a 20-27 game.
They went for the onside kick and Gronk recovered. The Patriots wasted away the clock with one run, forcing the Chiefs to use the first of their three timeouts and then a deflected pass to Edelman went 12 yards and a first down. Game over, and the Patriots moved on.
The offense was amazing and the Chiefs pass rush wasn’t a problem for the Patriots who were effective in pass blocking, quick passes, and Brady buying time. The run game wasn’t there, but everything else was. It’s amazing how much Edelman and Gronk means to this team, especially Edelman. Edelman’s first game back in two months saw him catch 10 passes for 100 yards. Gronk caught 7 passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Brady did throw to 8 different pass-catchers, Martin, Gronk, Edelman, White, LaFell, Amendola, Bolden, and Jackson.
The defense wasn’t very pretty. They could only get pressure when they blitz, which I think they wanted, keeping Smith in the pocket was a big deal, even though he did get away a few times. The run defense was stout for the most part, but the secondary did not perform well. The third down defense was awful, they could not get off the football field, regardless if it was third and short or third and long. This was a forgettable game for Ryan and Butler, neither did very well. I’ll give them a pass, only slightly, because the Chiefs offense is a massive headache with so many different things to prepare for and play against. The option, QB run, and wild plays. They are really good.
Jamie Collins left the game in the second half with a back injury, unsure how serious the back injury will be.
QB Tom Brady: 28/42 for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns. 6 rushing attempts for 6 yards and 1 touchdown.
RB Steven Jackson: 6 rushing attempts for 16 yards.
WR Julian Edelman: 10 receptions for 100 yards.
TE Rob Gronkowski: 7 receptions for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns.
DE Chandler Jones: 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 FF.
LB Dont’a Hightower: 6 tackles.
SS Patrick Chung: 9 tackles.
Game MVP: TE Rob Gronkowski.
This was hard because I could have said Edelman or Brady and been correct on either because all three were and are important to the Patriots offensive success. Gronk, however, did snag both of Brady’s touchdown and torched the defense. Big game for the big boy.