The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots played an overtime nail-biter of an AFC Championship game that will be talked about for years to come.
The New England Patriots outlasted the Kansas City Chiefs in an exciting overtime thriller that featured four fourth-quarter lead changes, several controversial calls, and tremendous plays by two of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League.
Ultimately it was Tom Brady and the Patriots that triumphed with a 37-31 victory given the rules in overtime that if the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown, the game is over. Brady marched the Pats down the field to open overtime, and a Rex Burkhead run sealed the deal with a touchdown. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs never even had a chance once regulation ended—a real shame given the way the team played in the previous quarter.
Mahomes was given the spotlight in the fourth to match wits with the best to ever play the position and he went toe-to-toe with Brady on one drive after another. The Chiefs scored 24 fourth-quarter points and found their first lead(s) of the game in the final segment. Damien Williams caught a short touchdown pass with 7:45 left to give K.C. a 21-17 lead. From there, the teams traded rushing touchdowns three separate times before a Harrison Butker field goal tied things at 31-all to end regulation.
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Early in the game, the Patriots set the tone with an exacting offensive drive to start things off in the first quarter. Tom Brady surgically picked apart pass defenders even as the Pats’ many rushing weapons seemed to gash the Chiefs’ run defense at will. The end result was a long touchdown drive that ate up 80 yards and took over 8 minutes off the clock. The drive ended with a Sony Michel 1-yard touchdown run.
From there, however, both defenses began to settle down although the Patriots had to feel great about their position at halftime. Brady hit former Colts first-round pick Phillip Dorsett for a 29-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter for the only score of that segment to go into the locker room up by 14 over the home team.
This game will feature plenty of intriguing talking points after the game, especially for the Chiefs, as fans wonder what to make of specific calls that went the Patriots way. A ghost call of roughing the passer came down on Chris Jones at a pivotal time to keep a fourth-quarter drive alive for Brady. A Dan Sorensen special teams touchdown was called back after a ruling on the field was reversed saying Patriots wide receiver Julien Edelman never touched the ball—an impossible read by anyone watching.
Even worse, the Chiefs were often hurt from shooting themselves in the foot. The Patriots were able to move the chains at will on third down on numerous occasions, including all of overtime. A game-sealing interception was called back due to Dee Ford lining up in the neutral zone like it was his own bedroom. For all of the Chiefs successes, the incredibly slow start to it all only made things much more difficult than they needed to be for Andy Reid‘s team.
For now, the Chiefs will turn to the offseason after having gotten farther than they have since 1970. The Patriots, meanwhile, move on to their third Super Bowl appearance in three years.