KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The New England Patriots finally answered the call when it mattered most, winning on the road in the AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs 37-31 to advance to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, where they’ll take on the Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots were 3-5 away from the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium during the 2018 regular season. Their road woes were really the only question the Patriots had left to answer in the conference title game. Well, they answered them.
Here’s who helped the Patriots most:
PATRIOTS OFFENSIVE LINE
The hog mollies never will get the credit or recognition they deserve, but they were fantastic protecting quarterback Tom Brady and opening holes in the run game.
The Chiefs’ pass rush didn’t register a sack and had just one QB hit while going against Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon. The Patriots put up 176 yards on 48 carries. They opened holes for four rushing touchdowns.
RB SONY MICHEL
The rookie running back topped 100 yards for his second consecutive postseason game. He carried the ball 29 times for 113 yards with two touchdowns.
Rex Burkhead had 12 carries for 41 yards with two more touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 26 yards. James White caught four passes for 49 yards. He carried the ball six times for 23 yards.
LB KYLE VAN NOY
Van Noy wasn’t perfect in coverage, letting up three catches on three targets for 40 yards, but he sacked Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes twice. His second sack, which closed out the first half, was of the strip-sack variety, but the Chiefs recovered.
DE TREY FLOWERS
Flowers sacked Mahomes, as well. He also hit Mahomes on an incomplete pass from the Chiefs QB to wide receiver Chris Conley that was broken up by cornerback Jason McCourty.
Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and defensive end John Simon also split a sack.
Thumbnail photo via Mark Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images