Patriots' 21-game home win streak snapped in loss to Chiefs

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Patriots' 21-game home win streak snapped in loss to Chiefs

Post by admin » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:41 am

Just when the Patriots needed a miracle … it didn’t happen.

Instead, Tom Brady’s fourth-down pass to Julian Edelman was batted away by Bashaud Breeland in the end zone to squash New England’s hopes for a big comeback and seal a 23-16 victory for the Kansas City Chiefs, who clinched their fourth consecutive AFC West title with the outcome.

No, there was no Tuck Rule or Hail Mary to save the Patriots, whose 21-game home win streak was snapped and finishes as the third longest in NFL history.

In fact, two blown calls by the officials worked against Bill Belichick’s team – wiping out an apparent would-be TD return and another TD reception – as it tried to rally from a 23-7 deficit.

The bottom line, though, is a second consecutive loss for the Patriots (10-3) and the continuation of what has to be a disturbing pattern. In losing to the Chiefs (9-4), New England, still leading the AFC East, has dropped all three of its head-to-head matchups against the other AFC division leaders.

Sure, the Patriots beat the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys.

But the Cowboys don’t even have a winning record.

When it comes to the other AFC leaders – Baltimore, Houston and now Kansas City – the Patriots have been unable to measure up, even with Brady and a top-flight defense.

Three other things we learned from the Chiefs’ big victory:

1. Some officials apparently didn’t get the memo about quick whistles: The Patriots could have had a fumble returned for a touchdown to end the third quarter if the crew headed by Jerome Boger didn’t whistle the play dead after erroneously ruling that Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was down by contact after an open-field reception. Replays showed that Devin McCourty poked the football loose before Kelce crashed to the turf. Stephon Gilmore had a clear path of about 50 yards to the end zone, but the whistles blew. The Patriots were awarded the ball after Belichick challenged, but there’s nothing like a quick TD when you’re trying to mount a comeback. Interestingly, officials blew another call on New England’s ensuing possession– ruling that N’Keal Harry stepped out of bounds as he launched to the pylon from the 3-yard line for an apparent touchdown – and the Patriots wound up settling for a field goal. We’ve seen quick whistles on returns for would-be Saints and Bucs touchdowns this season. Now the Patriots join the club despite the directive to officials to allow such bang-bang plays to play out without blowing a whistle.

2. Travis Kelce has an inner Lamar Jackson thing: The Chiefs lined up the Pro Bowl tight end as the shotgun quarterback from the 4-yard line in the second quarter. And Kelce wound up resembling a bigger version of the Ravens star as he pulled the football back from the mesh point on a faked handoff to Tyreek Hill, then dashed through a huge hole up the middle to score standing up. It marked the first rushing TD of Kelce’s 7-year NFL career and gives opponents one more thing to prepare for when playing the Chiefs.

3. No. 31 is another way to say “big target": Jonathan Jones, the fourth-year Patriots cornerback elevated into a bigger role on the defense after primarily used on special teams, was burned twice on long-yardage situations on Kansas City’s first touchdown drive. On a third-and-19, he couldn’t keep Tyreek Hill from hauling in a 21-yard catch to move the chains. On an ensuing second-and-25, rookie Mecole Hardman beat Jones for a 48-yard TD, snagging the pass inside the 10-yard line, then cutting inside Jones to zip to the end zone. That Jones was targeted on both long passes probably is not a coincidence. A week earlier at Houston, he was burned for long TD passes on back-to-back plays – although the first one was called back after a replay review. Guessing that Chiefs coach Andy Reid saw that sequence, too.

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