Patriots Vs. Chiefs Live: New England Falls 23-16 In Controversial Fashion


December 8, 2019

Final, Chiefs 23-16: And that’s the game.

The New England Patriots drove to the Kansas City Chiefs’ 5-yard line in the final minute after:

— James White completed a pass to Jakobi Meyers for 35 yards.

— Phillip Dorsett appeared to be interfered with on third down, but no flag was thrown.

— Tom Brady scrambled for 17 yards on fourth-and-6.

Ultimately, the Patriots came up empty-handed. Bashaud Breeland, who intercepted a Brady pass earlier, broke up one intended for Julian Edelman in the end zone to seal the victory for Kansas City.

This was the Patriots’ first loss at Gillette Stadium. since Week 4 of the 2017 season, snapping a streak of 21 consecutive home victories.

Fourth quarter, 7:22, Chiefs 23-16: Another big-time stop by the Patriots’ defense, which has allowed just three points in this second half.

Fourth quarter, 7:22, Chiefs 23-16: The Patriots picked up two first downs but stalled at midfield. Their defense will need to deliver another stop.

Fourth quarter, 10:17, Chiefs 23-16: After a three-and-out that includes a full-on wrestling match between Stephon Gilmore and Sammy Watkins on the sideline, a facemask penalty on Patrick Mahomes and nearly another blocked punt, the Patriots will take over at their own 20.

New England can tie the game with a touchdown here.

Fourth quarter, 11:37, Chiefs 23-16: Simply put, Jerome Boger’s officiating crew is killing the Patriots tonight.

Officials first missed an obvious Travis Kelce fumble, blowing the play dead after Stephon Gilmore scooped up the ball with nothing but green turf in front of him. The Patriots eventually were granted possession, but only after Bill Belichick used his second and final challenge, and at the spot of the recovery, not where Gilmore’s return might have reached.

Then, officials called N’Keal Harry — in the game for just his second offensive snap of the night — out of bounds on this play, which should have been called a touchdown:

New England’s offense came up empty on the next three plays and had to settle for a field goal.

Third quarter, 4:23, Chiefs 23-13: There’s the break the Patriots needed.

Nate Ebner came tearing through the line to block a Chiefs punt — New England’s NFL-leading fourth block of the season.

Two plays later, Brandon Bolden scored a 10-yard touchdown off a jet sweep. James White’s two-point conversion failed, but the Patriots have new life down 10 with more than a quarter left to play.

Third quarter, 7:19, Chiefs 23-7: The Patriots responded with another three-and-out. They’ve gained a total of -1 yards over their last three possessions.

Third quarter, 8:46, Chiefs 23-7: The Chiefs drained more than six minutes off the clock with their first series of the second half before capping it with a Harrison Butker field goal.

Kansas City converted one fourth-and-inches during the drive. Stephon Gilmore tackled Sammy Watkins short of the sticks on third down to force the field-goal try.

Travis Kelce continues to be a problem for the Patriots’ defense. They’re trying to cover the tight end with a safety (either Patrick Chung or Devin McCourty), and he has five catches for a team-high 67 yards, plus another 19-yarder that was called back.

Halftime, Chiefs 20-7: The Patriots were booed off the field after going three-and-out on their final drive of the first half.

Second quarter, 0:59, Chiefs 20-7: The Chiefs drove into the red zone but had to settle for a field goal after Patrick Mahomes fired back-to-back incompletions from the Patriots’ 13-yard line

The drive featured completions of 19, 12 and 16 yards, plus a defensive holding penalty on Shilique Calhoun. Kansas City has scored 20 unanswered points.

Second quarter, 2:48, Chiefs 17-7: Three-and-out. Not ideal.

Tom Brady threw the ball into the dirt on first down, completed a screen to James White for negative yardage on second down and threw low and incomplete to White while under heavy pressure on third down.

The Chiefs now have an opportunity to add to their lead before halftime.

Second quarter, 3:49, Chiefs 17-7: Big stand by the Patriots’ defense.

Stephon Gilmore broke up a deep ball to Sammy Watkins on third down to force a KC punt.

Patrick Chung was slow to get up after one play during the drive, but he’s not currently receiving any medical attention on the sideline.

A score here by the Patriots’ offense would be hugely beneficial, especially with the Chiefs set to receive the second-half kickoff.

Second quarter, 7:21, Chiefs 17-7: A bad drop by Jakobi Meyers set up a fourth-and-7 situation, and an incompletion to Julian Edelman one play later turned the ball over on downs.

N’Keal Harry checked in on fourth down — the first snap of the game for the first-round draft pick.

Second quarter, 9:33, Chiefs 17-7: And just like that, the Chiefs have a 10-point lead.

After Brady’s interception, Travis Kelce picked up 20 yards on third-and-5 — with New England defenders gifting him a free 10 or so yards by neglecting to touch him while he was down — then checked in as a Wildcat QB and scored Kansas City’s second touchdown of the game.

On the score, the Chiefs utilized the same diamond backfield alignment the Ravens and Texans used to great effect against the Patriots. And since Patrick Mahomes doesn’t have the same rushing ability as Lamar Jackson or Deshaun Watson, they used Kelce in that role, instead.

Second quarter, 12:53, Chiefs 10-7: The Patriots were unable to contain the Chiefs’ two fastest players on their latest drive, allowing a 21-yard reception to Tyreek Hill on third-and-19 and a 48-yard touchdown to Mecole Hardman on second-and-25.

Jonathan Jones was the man in coverage on both plays.

The Hill catch came after a 12-yard sack by Deatrich Wise, and Hardman’s followed a 15-yard personal foul for an illegal blindside block. Pass interference by Stephon Gilmore also wiped away an Adam Butler sack on third-and-2.

Kansas City immediately got the ball back, too, after cornerback Bashaud Breeland undercut a Tom Brady pass to Matt LaCosse for an interception. They’ll take over at New England’s 35-yard line.

First quarter, 2:00, Patriots 7-3: Blocked!

Tanoh Kpassagnon slid between Marshall Newhouse and Marcus Cannon to swat down a 41-yard field goal attempt by Nick Folk. A Jamie Collins tackle prevented Kansas City from taking the blocked kick to the house.

Before the field-goal try, Tom Brady showed a willingness to target tight end Matt LaCosse, who already has tied his single-game season high with two catches. Mohamed Sanu also made a nice catch over the middle.

First quarter, 7:12, Patriots 7-3: Tight coverage by Stephon Gilmore on third-and-2 resulted in an incompletion to Sammy Watkins, forcing the Chiefs to settle for a field goal.

Patrick Mahomes was able to find a few holes in zone coverage during the drive, hitting Watkins for 23 yards on third-and-10 and Travis Kelce for 13 yards on second-and-15. A holding call negated another 19-yard completion to Kelce, who’s been matched up against tight ends when the Patriots go man.

One wrinkle we’ve seen: The Patriots used punt gunner Justin Bethel to cover Chiefs secondary speedster Mecole Hardman on one play. Bethel is one of New England’s fastest players but had played just four snaps on defense all season before today — all in prevent-type situations.

First quarter, 10:58, Patriots 7-0: Patrick Mahomes entered this game having thrown just two interceptions all season. He threw one on his second pass today.

Mahomes tried to hit a crossing Demarcus Robinson on third-and-9 but found J.C. Jackson instead. Jackson had perfect coverage on the play, resulting in an easy pick.

The Patriots ran zone coverage on first and second down before going man on third, with Stephon Gilmore tracking Sammy Watkins and Patrick Chung covering Travis Kelce. Jonathan Jones passed Tyreek Hill off once he crossed the middle of the field.

The Patriots went three-and-out on the ensuing possession.

First quarter, 12:34, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots struggled to move the ball on their first possession but found the end zone anyway, thanks to two third-down pass interference penalties and a bit of trickeration.

Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett both drew flags to extend the drive, and Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for a 37-yard touchdown off a flea flicker.

It was the Patriots’ first opening-drive touchdown since Week 7.

First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Chiefs won the coin toss and deferred. Brandon Bolden is back deep to receive the opening kickoff for the Patriots.

4:14 p.m.: The Ravens just held off a furious Bills comeback to win in Buffalo, ensuring they’ll remain atop the AFC standings for at least another week. The Patriots essentially need a win today to remain within striking distance of the No. 1 seed.

Buffalo’s loss did increase New England’s chances of winning its 11th straight AFC East title. The Bills now are 9-4, while the Patriots can improve to 11-2 with a victory here today.

2:55 p.m.: Here are today’s Patriots inactives:

C Ted Karras
DL Byron Cowart
QB Cody Kessler
CB Joejuan Williams
RB Damien Harris
OT Korey Cunningham
TE Ryan Izzo

The last five players on that list are healthy scratches.

All six players listed as questionable are active for New England, including cornerback Jason McCourty, who missed the last two games with a groin injury.

Offensive lineman Jermaine Elumunor also returns after sitting out last week’s game. He’ll be the top interior reserve with James Ferentz starting at center.

2:45 p.m.: An unfortunate equipment mix-up threw a wrench into Kansas City’s pregame plans.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a significant portion of the Chiefs’ gear — including 35 players’ pads — was accidentally shipped to Newark, N.J. The missing equipment finally arrived minutes ago.

1 p.m. ET: Good afternoon from a chilly Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots are preparing to host the Kansas City Chiefs in a matchup with major postseason implications.

The Patriots (10-2) are looking to bounce back and keep the pressure on the Baltimore Ravens after last week’s road loss to the Houston Texans dropped them out of the top spot in the AFC standing. New England has not lost at home since Week 4 of the 2017 season, winning 21 straight here, including playoffs.

Kansas City (8-4) scuffled during and immediately after Patrick Mahomes’ injury-related absence but returned from its bye with authority last Sunday, trouncing the Oakland Raiders 40-9 despite a pedestrian stat line from its superstar QB (15-for-29, 175 yards, one touchdown).

On the injury front, the Patriots will be without center Ted Karras (ankle) and reserve defensive lineman Byron Cowart (head). Expect veteran backup James Ferentz, who’s never started an NFL game at center, to get the nod in Karras’ stead.

Six Patriots players are listed as questionable: receivers Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, safety Patrick Chung, cornerback Jason McCourty and right tackle Marcus Cannon. McCourty missed the last two games with a groin injury. Having him back would help a great deal against the Chiefs’ deep stable of offensive weapons.

That group will be a bit shallower than usual today, as running backs Damien Williams (out, rib) and Darrel Williams (placed on injured reserve this week) both are unavailable. The former did a number on the Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship Game, catching two touchdown passes and rushing for another.

The Chiefs also ruled cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Rashad Fenton out and listed defensive end Frank Clark as questionable. Clark did make the trip after missing Kansas City’s final two practices this week due to illness.

Both Patriots-Chiefs matchups last season were all-timers, with New England winning 43-40 at home in Week 6 and 37-31 in overtime in Kansas City in the AFC title game.

Responding to in-game adjustments will be vital for the Patriots’ defense in this one. The Chiefs scored just nine points in the first halves of those two 2018 meetings but 62 after halftime.

Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET. Follow along here for updates throughout the afternoon, and be sure to tune in to NESN’s Pregame Chat at 2 p.m. live on Facebook.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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