Patriots streaking, Chiefs hoping not to repeat history
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Young quarterbacks have always had a tough time winning in Gillette Stadium during the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era.
Add Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to the list.
The Patriots had their best offensive night of the 2018 season, amassing 500 total yards while getting another clutch performance from Brady, their surefire Hall of Fame quarterback, in a 43-40 win over the Chiefs on Sunday night .
Brady passed for 340 yards and touchdown while running for another score and helped set up Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard, game-winning field goal as New England beat back a frantic second-half rally by the Chiefs.
New England’s third straight win was Brady’s 200th victory as a starting quarter, tops all-time. He also passed former teammate Adam Vinatieri for most career wins in the regular season and playoffs combined with 227.
“I think we have a lot of clutch players,” Brady said. “I think we have no problem grinding it out. That’s what the football season’s all about. I don’t think we’ve seen our best. I think we can play a lot better and I think that’s what we plan to do.”
The Patriots have now won three straight games since starting the season 1-2. And, at least offensively, they seem to be finding a groove following a slow start that included lopsided losses to Jacksonville and Detroit.
New England now has scored 30 or more points in three consecutive games.
It is the first blemish of the season for the Chiefs (5-1) and first loss as a starter for Kansas City’s 23-year-old QB Mahomes, who started the game slowly before rallying his team from a 15-point, first-half deficit to take a late lead.
He threw a pair of early interceptions , but regained confidence down the stretch leading touchdown drives with the same improbable plays he’s been pulling off all season. He kept quieting a nervous New England crowd.
The Chiefs tied the game at 40 via Mahomes’ 75-yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill. But they left too much time on the clock for Brady, who marched his team down the field to set up the eventual winning kick.
“They had a good game plan,” Mahomes said. “They threw a lot of pressure at us, a lot of different, and I just tried to stay within myself. I missed some throws even when there was pressure that we could have scored on and I feel like as the game went on I just kept making the reads and throwing the ball and I started connecting on the ones later.”
The Chiefs imploded with Alex Smith under center last season, losing six of their final 11 after a 5-0 start. But tight end Travis Kelce said he feels like this team has lots of room to grow and has a different mentality than it did this time last season.
“You got to love the way the team fought,” he said. “It is crappy losing and nobody likes to lose. It is unfortunate that the team that ended up with the ball won. It is something to learn from and you have to start fast.”
GOOD AND BAD HISTORY
Mahomes ended his night passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns, setting a Chiefs’ record for five straight 300-yard passing games.
But Mahomes still joined a dubious club.
Quarterbacks under 25 years old are now 0-24 all-time in Foxborough during the regular-season against the Patriots.
JUST A NUMBER
The Patriots have allowed 40-plus points in a regular season game just three times in the last five seasons — all to the Chiefs. Until Sunday, New England was 0-6 when allowing that many points in a game, including the playoffs, in the Belichick era.
The Patriots seem to have found a jewel in rookie running back Sony Michel.
Michel rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s victory, his second 100-yard game this season. He also had 98 yards in New England’s win over Indianapolis.
He has now scored a rushing touchdown in three straight games. The last Patriots rookie with a rushing touchdown in three straight games was BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who did so in four straight in 2008.
NO PUNTS, NO PENALTIES
The Patriots finished the game without punting and were not charged with a penalty. It is the first time in the Super Bowl era that an NFL team played an entire game without punting or being charged a penalty.
It was the sixth time in franchise history that the Patriots were not charged with a penalty and the fifth time in franchise history that the Patriots did not punt in a regular season game.
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower