By Jason Hafley
The New England Patriots had a pivotal matchup against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night in Foxboro.
The Patriots recovered from a slow September with a 38-24 home win over the Indianapolis Colts on October 4th. The Thursday night game gave Bill Belichick and the Patriots had a few more days of preparation for Kansas City. As the best record in the AFC and NFL, the Chiefs emerge as a playoff and Super Bowl contender.
Chiefs rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes felt the pressure in his first drive in Foxboro as he had to opportunity to be the first quarterback, younger than 25 years old, to beat the Patriots in Foxboro during the Brady-Belichick era. Previous quarterbacks are 0-23 when playing against the historic duo.
Starting on the Chiefs own 41, Mahomes was able to make two quick completions that brought them down the field to Patriots 26 yard line. The next three plays were incompletions by Mahomes, two of which were easy misses that would have resulted in touchdowns. This drive ended on a 42-yard field goal which brought the Chiefs up 3-0 with nine minutes left in the first quarter.
The Patriots responded with a field goal of their own after a 10-yard completion to Chris Hogan and a 12-yard run by Sony Michel tying the game at 3.
Mahomes again comes out not looking like himself throwing an interception down the middle on the first play of the drive to Dont’a Hightower who returned it to the Chiefs’ 3 yardline. Sony Michel rushed the ball in on the very next play to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead.
After a huge 25-yard pass to running back Kareem Hunt, Mahomes through 2 more incompletions resulting in another field-goal by Harrison Butker who is perfect so far this season after going 4/4 against the Patriots on Sunday.
Again, the Patriots responded with a touchdown after a five and a half minute, 75-yard drive. Brady led the Patriots down field with 53 passing yards, including a 17-yard dime to Julian Edelman in the end zone.
The 1st half ended on another scoring drive by the Patriots. A 37-yard pass interference was called on the Chief’s own 1-yard line, resulting in another short run by Sony Michel for the touchdown.
The 1st half went as predicted. Tom Brady and the Patriots were able to rip apart the already struggling Chiefs defense. Patrick Mahomes came out of the gate looking off as the pressure of the game seemed to get to him. The score was 24-9 at the end of the half.
It was a different story for the Chiefs’ offense in the second half, as Mahomes was able to bring out his young talent and start an impressive comeback in this battle of AFC titans.
Mahomes knew he had to start his second half strong, and that is exactly what he did with a 67-yard reception to running back Kareem Hunt on his first pass of the half. A quick, 1:33 possession is what the Chiefs needed in order to get back into the game.
After a couple of field goals by both teams, the score was now 27-19, and the Kansas City defense came through when they needed to, getting a sack which forced a fumble giving the Chiefs the ball at the New England 29-yard line. This gave Mahomes the ball in scoring position, who made two 15-yard completions for another passing TD added to his already record-breaking year.
The Patriots responded with another field goal, giving the Chiefs another opportunity to score in the 3rd quarter, and that is exactly what they did on a 97 kick-return to the New England 3-yard line by kick returner Tremon Smith. This set up an easy 3-yard pass from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill to give the Chiefs a 33-30 lead with eight and a half minutes to go in the 4th quarter.
After going the 3rd quarter without a touchdown, Tom Brady began to live up to his nickname, the G.O.A.T. by leading the team. He threw a deep 42-yard pass, followed by a 19-yard pass both to Chris Hogan to advance the Patriots to the Chiefs’ 5-yard line. After two quick plays, Brady decided to take matters into his own hands when he rushed for 4-yards to bring the Patriots up 37-33 with five minutes to go.
The Patriots defense came in clutch forcing the 3 and out, and a punt from the Chiefs with four minutes left.
After another field goal made by Stephen Gostkowski, the Chiefs had another chance at tying the game up, trailing by 7. Receiving the ball at their own 25-yard line, Patrick Mahomes throws a 75-yard pass to Tyreek Hill on the first play of the drive, tying the game up at 40 with three minutes to play.
The Chief’s know they are in trouble when Brady has the ball in the 4th quarter and the game is on the line. Brady had to be his usual, clutch-self in order to win this game that looked to be so one-sided after the first half. And clutch he did as he connected with his all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski for 39 yards down field. Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired to win the game.
Final Score: 43-40 Patriots.