FOXBOROUGH — Chris Hogan finished the Patriots’ 43-40 win against the Kansas City Chiefs with four catches for 78 yards – the most impactful being the deep ball he hauled in for a 42-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
It was a big moment, the Patriots facing third and 1 and trailing Kansas City, 33-30. New England needed to respond and Hogan helped deliver, adding another 19-yard reception on the next play that moved the ball to the Chiefs’ 5-yard line.
Tom Brady finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run that put the Patriots on top for the time being.
That Hogan was able to come through in the late stages of the offensive showdown was a testament to the receiver’s ability to maintain has stamina throughout a taxing effort.
“Chris is one of the hardest-working guys on our team,” Bill Belichick said Monday on a conference call. “He has really good stamina, can kind of run all day and work extremely hard. Tough kid, really competes hard.”
Hogan played 47 of the Patriots’ 78 offensive snaps, and also contributed 19 special teams snaps. It appeared Hogan was asked to add responsibilities to his game, considering he had played no more than five special teams plays in a game this season.
Earlier in the third quarter, a drive that ended with one of Stephen Gostkowski’s five field goals, Brady either missed Hogan wide open in the end zone, or wasn’t looking his way. Last week against the Colts, Hogan dropped a pass that resulted in an interception.
It was clear Brady trusted Hogan in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs and that the receiver was ready when called upon.
“Execute, but also be able to keep your speed,” Belichick added. “You can be out there and take up space, but to not be able to play at the top speed it’s not really the same player. Sometimes those players can’t do it for a full 60 minutes, have to be out for plays. Chris has a good ability to keep his speed and, because of his stamina, can stay out there for quite a while.”
Brady made the rounds after the Patriots win, hand-shaking and back-patting all the way, from Patrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce to his own offensive line, but he saved a few special moments for Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski thanked Brady for coming to him on a go route for 39 yards on one of the final plays of the game, and Brady saying he always looks Gronkowski’s way in the big moments.
“It was just a great moment, I mean, after a great football game,” Gronkowski said Monday. “To go down, end of the drive, end of the game, make that play. Just a great moment during a regular-season ‘Sunday Night Football’ game.”
Gronkowski, who finished with three catches on four targets for 97 yards, was shut down for most of the game, but he made two of its biggest plays during crunch time.
One topic this season has been whether the big tight end has slowed a tick, or if defenses have been able to limit him because the Patriots haven’t forced them to put attention elsewhere.
Gronkowski said he doesn’t think his defenders get away with pass interference or illegal contact on him more than anyone else. There were plays Sunday night where it looked like a defender was hanging on him more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
“I’ve just got to find ways to get open,” Gronkowski said.
What was clear was that when the Patriots ran plays to help Gronkowski, he rewarded them. On his 42-yard gain on the Patriots second-to-last drive, Gronkowski lined up next to left tackle Trent Brown, who blocked Chiefs safety Jordan Lucas, allowing Gronkowski to get off the line free.
Brady faked a toss to Sony Michel, who was going right, causing the defense to flow that way as well. That left nobody close to Gronkowski, who caught Brady’s pass and stiff-armed Ron Parker to pick up extra yards after the catch.
“[Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’s] play-calling has been great,” Gronkowski said. “Just the way he came up and designed that play, it was awesome. It was a great call, great play he designed. It was just awesome to be part of it.
Fan charged for beer
A 21-year-old Mansfield man was charged with throwing an object at a sporting event and banned from Gillette Stadium after throwing beer at Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill after a game-tying touchdown Sunday.
Hill scored on a 75-yard pass play with 3:03 to play — his third score in the game — and was greeted with middle fingers and the beer dousing. The man was also charged with disorderly conduct.
“Yeah, definitely not OK with that,” Patriots captain Matthew Slater said Monday at Gillette Stadium. “For the most part, our fans are very respectful. But I think you have to put yourselves in other people’s shoes and realize, ‘Hey, if you’re on the street and you see a guy, you’re not gonna dash some beer on him, not gonna disrespect him like that.’ When you come to a game, we certainly appreciate you being around and appreciate the support, but there’s a line that you should not cross. Obviously throwing beer on someone is unacceptable.”
Gronkowski, whose agent, Drew Rosenhaus, also represents Hill, took exception to the incident.
“I mean, that’s just a little bit too crazy,” Gronkowski said. “Us players are out there competing and trying to be the best we can be out there and stuff, so it’s just a little bit too much, I would say. I’ll let whatever, the police, the organization, whatever they do handle it.”
The Patriots issued a statement regarding the incident: “Gillette Stadium security has identified the fan who violated the fan code of conduct by tossing beer onto a player during the game last night. The matter has been turned over to local law enforcement and the fan will be sent a letter of disinvite to all future events at Gillette Stadium.”
The Patriots did not attempt a punt or get charged with any accepted penalties against the Chiefs – the first such occurrence for any team in the Super Bowl era.
Kansas City only punted once and it wasn’t until there were 3:59 remaining. Dustin Colquitt booted a 51-yarder. Julian Edelman called for a fair catch and Charvarius Ward was initially flagged for kick-catch interference, but the flag was picked up after it was determined the Patriots’ Keion Crossen blocked Ward into Edelman. The Chiefs were also penalized five times for 58 yards.