The Chiefs left too much time, and Tom Brady did what Tom Brady has always done
PATRIOTS 43, CHIEFS 40 | MORE COVERAGE
■ Tom Brady threw for 340 yards and a touchdown, Sony Michel added 106 yards and two scores, the defense did just enough to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, and the Patriots came away with a thrilling win. (Read more)
■ Tara Sullivan: In a game that lived up to the hype, Tom Brady stiff-armed the NFL’s youth movement. (Read more)
■ Jim McBride’s game breakdown: The best, worst, and everything in between from a back-and-forth battle. (Read more)
■ Ben Volin: Not to put too much on a Week 6 game, but this win may have saved the Patriots’ season. It wasn’t pretty, but the win puts the Patriots right back in the thick of the race for the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC. (Read more)
■ Nora Princiotti: Both offenses were great, and Brady said he was as impressed with Mahomes as anyone. But on a night when the two went blow-for-blow nearly the whole way, he rose above in the pivotal moments where decision-making mattered most. (Read more)
The Chiefs left too much time, and Tom Brady did what Tom Brady has always done
FOXBOROUGH — With 3:03 remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday night, the Chiefs scored on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, tying the football game-turned-track meet at 40, coming back from a 15-point halftime deficit in a game that lived up to its considerable hype.
But they left Tom Brady and the Patriots too much time.
“When Tyreek was running to score, I said, ‘Good. Score quick.’ Because then we had enough time. They had one timeout left and gave us a little time to go down to kick the field goal,” said Brady, who finished with 340 passing yards, a touchdown throw, and a touchdown run.
Brady found Rob Gronkowski, who had three receptions for 97 yards, most of them coming late, for a big completion that set up the game-winning field goal. Stephen Gostkowski nailed the 28-yarder, his fifth make of the night, and New England won, 43-40, moving to 4-2, with a potentially important win against an AFC rival.
“He’s been making those [big plays] a lot of his career,” Brady said of his tight end. “I’ll keep throwing to him in the biggest moments.”
Punter Ryan Allen was a wasted activation in a game where offenses traded blows the entire night. (“I don’t know if we punted tonight. Did we punt? So no punts,” Brady said after. “I still think we missed some opportunities out there.”) In the first half, the Chiefs settled for field goals and were burned by two interceptions by Mahomes, while the Patriots scored touchdowns.
The Patriots took a 10-3 lead after Dont’a Hightower’s interception set up Sony Michel for an easy touchdown, then built on it with a touchdown from Julian Edelman and another score by Michel to take a 24-9 lead at the break. Michel had yet another good game, with 106 rushing yards.
Josh Gordon, in his third game active for New England, caught five passes for 42 yards, his most productive outing as a Patriot. It was also his first time experiencing Brady’s comeback ability first-hand.
“His poise,” Gordon said of what stood out to him about Brady late in the game. “Sort of a calmness to him in a high pressure situation. Not everybody has that. I think when he displays that, other guys feel better about what they’re supposed to do.”
In the second half, it was the Chiefs scoring touchdowns and the Patriots, at first, settling for three. First it was a 67-yard touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt and then, after the teams traded field goals, an easy touchdown for Hill that came on a short field after Brady fumbled the ball away in one of his worst plays of the season.
“We had control and then we let them back in the game with, the fumble was a bad play,” Brady said.
Kansas City had the opportunity to tie the game with a successful two-point conversion, but opted for the field goal making it 27-26 Patriots going into the fourth quarter.
The Patriots then settled for a field goal and the Chiefs scored a touchdown with Hill finding the end zone three plays after Tremon Smith made a 97-yard return of Stephen Gostkowski’s kickoff to make it 33-30.
But Brady wasn’t done. He led a seven-play, 75-yard drive that he capped off with his feet, finding the end zone on a 4-yard rush, his 19th career rushing touchdown. It was a weird play in which the Chiefs defender pull back his pursuit of Brady, thinking the quarterback had thrown the ball. Brady said he was surprised he got to the end zone.
“I don’t know what happened,” Brady said. “They doubled three guys on the play. I gotta watch it tomorrow, but I got close to the goal line and figured I’d just try to get it in. We needed it.”
Two possessions later, Brady keyed the 43rd game-winning drive of his regular-season career.
“I think we got a lot of clutch players. I think we got no problem grinding it out, that’s what the football season’s all about,” Brady said. “I don’t think we’ve seen our best. I think we can all play a lot better and I think that’s what we plan to do.”
Photos from the game
Below are updates from the game as it unfolded.
Patriots 43, Chiefs 40 (0:00): On first and 10 from the Kansas City 48-yard line, Tom Brady threw a perfect pass into to Rob Gronkowski for a 39-yard gain. The Patriots set up a dead-center field goal attempt for Stephen Gostkowski with 3 seconds left, and the veteran kicker did not disappoint. Gostkowski nailed the 28-yard try as time expired to give the Patriots the win.
Patriots 40, Chiefs 40 (3:03): On the first play of the ensuing Kansas City drive, Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek Hill downfield then watched Hill sprint for a 75-yard touchdown. Harrison Butker kicked the extra point to tie the game.
Patriots 40, Chiefs 33 (3:15): Stephen Gostkowski put a touchdown between the teams, launching a 50-yard field goal between the posts. Tom Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski for a 42-yard gain on the first play of the drive, before the drive stalled on an incomplete pass intended for Julian Edelman.
Patriots 37, Chiefs 33 (4:05): New England blitzed Patrick Mahomes on third and 7 at the Kansas City 28-yard line, forcing the Chiefs quarterback into a throw that was nearly intercepted by Josh McCourty. The Chiefs punted and Tom Brady and Co. took over at their own 21-yard line.
Patriots 37, Chiefs 33 (5:25): Tom Brady turned on the jets to put the Patriots back on top, keeping the ball himself and diving between two defenders for a 4-yard rushing touchdown. Brady’s scramble capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive that featured back-to-back Chris Hogan receptions, one for 42 yards and a second for a 19-yard gain.
Brady is now 15 yards away from 1,000 career rush yards. It was his 19th career rush TD.
Chiefs 33, Patriots 30 (8:38): Kansas City got a huge boost from its special teams unit as Terrance Smith returned a kickoff 97 yards to the New England 3-yard line. Two plays later, Patrick Mahomes overthrew one receiver but found another, Tyreek Hill, behind him for a 1-yard touchdown that gave Kansas City its first lead of the night.
Patriots' kickoff coverage has been terrible this year, and now they give up a 97-yarder to Tremon Smith. Devin McCourty prevents the TD, but Chiefs start over on the 3— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Patriots 30, Chiefs 26 (10:22): Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 39-yard field goal after an 11 play, 54-yard New England drive stalled at the Kansas City 21-yard line. Tom Brady fired a incomplete deep ball to James White on third and 6.
Marcus Cannon is Questionable to return to the game with a head injury. Broadcast showed him going helmet to helmet with Allen Bailey— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Pariots 27, Chiefs 26 (0:56): Patrick Mahomes aired it out to Tyreek Hill for a 14-yard touchdown. The Chiefs picked up one first down, a Sammy Watkins 15-yard gain, before Mahomes capitalized on the short field and sliced the Patriots’ lead to a single point.
I don't hate the decision to go for 1 and not 2 by Reid. There are still about five scores left in this game— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Patriots 27, Chiefs 19 (2:23): On the second play of New England’s drive, Chiefs safety Jordon Lucas almost intercepted a first-down pass intended for Josh Gordon but couldn’t hang onto it. Two plays later, Kansas City forced a turnover, stripping the ball away from Tom Brady and recovering the fumble at the New England 29-yard line.
Tom Brady thinks he's Pat Mahomes, and gets into all kinds of trouble. Allen Bailey jumps on the fumble, and Chiefs are in business, first and 10 on the Patriots' 28— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Brady with a bad Mahomes impression. Just throw it.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) October 15, 2018
Patriots 27, Chiefs 19 (3:36): The Chiefs had a fourth and 2 at the New England 12-yard line, and decided to take the points. Harrison Butker split the uprights on the 30-yard field goal to punctuate the nine-play, 51-yard drive. It was his fourth make of the night. The Chiefs are now 0 for 3 in the red zone.
Patriots 27, Chiefs 16 (5:42): Bill Belichick challenged the spot on a play after officials ruled Kansas City picked up a first down on third and 1 from the Chiefs 46-yard line. The ruling on the field was reversed and the Chiefs decided to go for it on fourth and a half yard. Patrick Mahomes kept the ball himself and rushed for a 3-yard gain.
Patriots 27, Chiefs 16 (7:17): Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 23-yard field goal to cap a 12 play, 65-yard drive. New England had first and goal from the 6-yard line, but settled for three points after a 1-yard Sony Michel rush and two consecutive incompletions by Tom Brady.
Brady had Hogan open AGAIN on the goal line, never looked at him. Throws incomplete to Gordon on third down— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Patriots 24, Chiefs 16 (13:27): Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City needed just a minute and a half to make it a one-possession game. On the third play of the second half, Mahomes found Kareem Hunt down the right sideline for a 67-yard touchdown. Butker added the extra point as Kansas City drew within eight points of the Patriots.
A few stats at the break:
Total yards: NE 190, KC 210
Plays: NE 33, KC 31
Yards per play: NE 5.8, KC 6.8
First downs: NE 16, KC 11
Third down: NE 2-4, KC 2-5
Penalties: NE 0-0, KC 5-58
Tom Brady: 11-15, 113 yards, 1 TD, 116.8 rating
Patrick Mahomes: 14-23, 164 yards, 46.3 rating
The Patriots avoided turnovers and penalties in the first half, a distinction the Chiefs could not claim. Kansas City turned the ball over twice and gave Brady 58 free yards on five penalties, including a 37-yard pass interference penalty that set up Sony Michel’s second touchdown.
Patriots 24, Chiefs 9 (0:04): Patrick Mahomes, after picking apart the Patriots’ defense en route to the New England 15-yard line, was picked off by Duron Harmon on a toss into the end zone. Mahomes had completed six passes on the nine play, 60-yard drive, including a 27-yard connection with Tyreek Hill. The interception ended the first half.
Chiefs C Mitch Morse is in the concussion protocol. He is replaced by Jordan Devey, the former Patriot who was on the 2014 Super Bowl team— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Gordon is out of the medical tent and is back on the Patriots' bench— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Patriots 24, Chiefs 9 (1:57): On the Kansas City 38-yard line, Tom Brady fired a deep ball to Josh Gordon in the end zone. Gordon wasn’t able to reel in the pass, but a pass interference penalty on the play set up first and goal from the 1-yard line for the Patriots. Two plays later, Sony Michel powered into the end zone for a touchdown, his second of the night.
New England’s drive covered 75 yards in seven plays.
Patriots 17, Chiefs 9 (6:21): The Patriots’ defense held up inside the red zone, forcing the Chiefs to settle for a 24-yard field goal after an 11 play, 69-yard drive. Travis Kelce led Kansas City into that red zone, hurtling Duron Harmon on a 17-yard gain. However, a Patrick Mahomes pass intended for Sammy Watkins landed incomplete on third and goal.
Patriots 17, Chiefs 6 (12:52): Tom Brady lofted a pass into the corner of the end zone, connecting with Julian Edelman for a 17-yard touchdown. The score came two plays after Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones stripped the ball out of Brady’s hands, before center David Andrews recovered the ball for the Patriots.
Welcome back, Julian Edelman. 17 yard touchdown catch, his first TD since January 2017, the AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Patriots 10, Chiefs 6 (3:35): After Patrick Mahomes overthrew Travis Kelce on third and 4 from the New England 24-yard line, Harrison Butker kicked a 43-yard field goal to close the gap between the sides. On the first play of the drive, Mahomes found running back Kareem Hunt for a 25-yard gain.
Patriots 10, Chiefs 3 (4:57): One play after Dont’a Hightower picked off a Patrick Mahomes pass over the middle intended for Travis Kelce, Sony Michel burst through the line for a 4-yard touchdown. Hightower returned the interception 26 yards to the Kansas City 4-yard line, and Gostkowski added the extra point. It was Hightower’s first career pick in the regular season.
Patriots defense has an interception in six straight games.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) October 15, 2018
That's 10 points in 21 seconds for the Patriots.— tara sullivan (@Globe_Tara) October 15, 2018
Patriots 3, Chiefs 3 (5:18): Stephen Gostkowski made a 48-yard field goal to tie it up. The offense drove 45 yards in eight plays on the drive, with Tom Brady completing 2 of 3 passes and Rob Gronkowski drawing a defensive holding penalty. But the drive stalled when a Brady-to-Chris Hogan connection on third and 10 generated 7 yards. Sony Michel picked up 20 yards on three carries on the possession.
Chiefs 3, Patriots 0 (9:05): A 42-yard field goal by Harrison Butker got Kansas City on the board. The kick capped an eight-play, 35-yard drive. Patrick Mahomes completed 3 of 5 passes for 28 yards, including a 26-yarder to tight end Travis Kelce, but overthrew Kareem Hunt on a sure touchdown.
Patriots bend a bit, but don't break. Butker 42 FG is good. Chiefs take a 3-0 lead with 9:05 left 1Q. Mahomes is going to lose some sleep over that incompletion to Hunt— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Mahomes looks like he's feeling the adrenaline. Too much on the ball twice on that drive.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) October 15, 2018
Defensive personnel note for the Patriots:
Patriots D is in nickel to start the game. Jason McCourty is starting ahead of Eric Rowe— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) October 15, 2018
Patriots 0, Chiefs 0 (12:26): On the opening drive, Tom Brady and the offense went for it on fourth and 3 from the Kansas City 40-yard line, but Brady and receiver Josh Gordon couldn’t connect. Tight end Rob Gronkowski was subbed out on the fourth-down try. Brady completed 1 of 4 passes on the series.
Three of Brady's first four passes go to Gordon. There's a miscommunication on two of them. Turnover on downs— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Brady and Gordon connected for 12 yards on the first play of the game.
The Chiefs called heads and won the coin toss, deferring to the second half. The Patriots get the ball to start.
Pregame scenes and observations
45 degrees at kickoff in Foxborough. Beautiful, crisp night for football— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2018
Pat Mahomes is going through a lengthy warmup routine, getting in a ton of throws. Much different than Brady, who won't be out on the field for maybe another 15-20 minutes— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 14, 2018
For the Patriots, cornerback J.C. Jackson, defensive ends Keionta Davis and John Simon, defensive linemen Malcom Brown and Geneo Grissom, and offensive linemen Cole Croston and Ted Karras.
Running back Sony Michel and receiver Chris Hogan are active. Both were listed as questionable on Friday. Cornerback Eric Rowe is active after missing the last three games.
A full arsenal for Tom Brady tonight vs. Chiefs:— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 14, 2018
RB: James White, Sony Michel, Kenjon Barner
WR: Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan, Josh Gordon, Cordarrelle Patterson
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister
FB: James Develin
DE Derek Rivers is back in the Patriots lineup. Seems he's leapfrogged Keionta Davis, at least this week. You won't see him on obvious running downs but he's pretty speedy which could be an asset against KC.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) October 14, 2018
For the Chiefs, safeties Eric Murray and Eric Berry, running back, Darrel Williams, linebackers Justin Houston and Tanoh Kpassagnon, offensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie, and defensive lineman. Justin Hamilton.
Game notes and story lines
■ On the injury front for the Patriots, the following players were listed as limited on Friday and questionable for Sunday night: receiver Chris Hogan (thigh), running back Sony Michel (knee), tight end Rob Gronkowski (ankle), receiver Josh Gordon (hamstring), defensive tackles Malcom Brown (knee) and Danny Shelton (elbow), defensive ends John Simon (shoulder) and Geneo Grissom (ankle); and cornerback Eric Rowe (groin).
■ For the Chiefs, safety Eric Berry (heel) is doubtful; safety Eric Murray (ankle) was ruled out; linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring) is doubtful; and linebacker Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle) is questionable.
■ Tonight marks Julian Edelman’s second game back from suspension. How badly does Rob Gronkowski need Edelman to open up the field? Gronk is averaging a career-low 3.35 yards after the catch this season, ranking 78th among 93 NFL receivers (minimum 15 catches). Gronk averaged 5.26 yards last year, 9.36 in an injury-shortened 2016, and has been above 4.90 for every other season of his career. Gronkowski has received consistent double teams this year and has had little room to run.
— Ben Volin
■ The Patriots are tied for sixth in the NFL in 10-play drives (10 out of 58) but tied for fifth with the most three-and-outs (15 out of 58). Some more consistency is in order.
— Ben Volin
■ With 23-year-old Patrick Mahomes poised to lead the Chiefs into Gillette Sunday night, ESPN unearthed an incredible stat: The Patriots are 23-0 in the regular season at home against quarterbacks under age 25 in the Bill Belichick era. The streak started in 2001 (Cleveland’s Tim Couch) and was extended in Week 1 this season (Houston’s Deshaun Watson). The Ravens’ Joe Flacco (2009) and Jets’ Mark Sanchez (2010) did earn playoff wins in Foxborough when under 25.
— Jim McBride
■ Watch out for the Chiefs’ use of the run-pass option tonight and how the Patriots defend the play. Volin wrote extensively about where the play originated, why the Chiefs love it so much, and what New England needs to do to counter it.
■ The Patriots are one of eight teams that have yet to commit a roughing the passer penalty this year. The others are Carolina, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, and Tennessee.
— Ben Volin
Chiefs’ keys to victory
1. Patrick Mahomes has been a true field general since assuming the reins. He must continue to play at a high level, because facing Bill Belichick for the first time is no cakewalk.
2. Edge rushers Chris Jones and Dee Ford need to be disruptive forces. They can set the edge against the run and pressure the pocket.
3. Get the ball into Tyreek Hill’s hands as much as possible. The more times this little ball of energy gets to strut his stuff, the higher the probability he will hit paydirt.
— Jim McBride
Patriots’ keys to victory
1. Nobody spreads the ball around better than Tom Brady. He has all his guys in place, so getting everyone involved — and being unpredictable — is a must.
2. Mahomes is playing well above his age and experience. Bill Belichick and his staff need to throw some unexpected wrinkles at the whippersnapper.
3. The second- and third-level defenders will need to clamp down on Travis Kelce with the jaws of life to prevent the big tight end from dominating down the seam.
— Jim McBride
■ In Foxborough and the Patriots’ locker room, Josh Gordon is feeling right at home.
■ Round-table discussion, Part 1: Volin, Nora Princiotti, and Chad Finn talked impressions of Mahomes, how the Chiefs will test the Patriots, Gronkowski vs. Travis Kelce, and more.
■ Round-table discussion Part 2: The same trio ranked Tom Brady’s trust tree of receivers, assessed Sony Michel’s progress, and explained why Trey Flowers is so important to the success of the defense.
■ How old friend Rob Ninkovich helped Julian Edelman during his suspension.
■ Chad Finn’s Unconventional Preview: Patriots-Chiefs is the one we’ve been waiting for — better prepare for a thriller, folks.
■ Jim McBride’s scouting report: Who has the edge in every phase of the game, players to watch, and more.