BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots officially own the AFC. But it took them a little extra time to earn that crown.
With an overtime win Sunday in Kansas City, the Patriots punched their ticket to Super Bowl LIII. It will be the Patriots’ fourth Super Bowl appearance in the last five years, and it will be the Patriots’ ninth Super Bowl appearance since 2001.
The Patriots called heads on the overtime coin toss and won, electing to receive. Tom Brady then connected with Julian Edelman on two consecutive third-and-10’s before hitting Rob Gronkowski for 15 yards on another third-and-10. Rex Burkhead then burst for a 10-yard run, getting the Patriots to the Chiefs’ 5-yard line.
The Patriots then gave Burkhead two straight carries, and he crossed the goal line, sending the Patriots to the Super Bowl.
Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for for 348 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions — one of which was thrown from the Chiefs’ 1-yard line, one of which was tipped off the hands of Edelman.
Sony Michel ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Burkhead ran for 41 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime.
Patrick Mahomes did throw three touchdowns, but he completed just 16 of his 31 passes for 295 yards.
Harrison Butker got the Chiefs to overtime, hitting a 39-yard game-tying field goal with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 31-all.
Trailing by four points with less than two minutes left in the game, Brady led the Patriots on a six-play, 65-yard drive, capped off with a Rex Burkhead touchdown run from the 4-yard line. The Patriots got down there thanks to a 25-yard connection from Brady to Rob Gronkowski. That was a drive that would have been ended by a tipped pass that was intercepted, but Dee Ford was penalized for lining up in the neutral zone, thus negating the pick.
The Patriots got off to an excellent start in Sunday’s AFC title game, with Sony Michel and Tom Brady engineering an 80-yard scoring drive that chewed up more than eight minutes off the clock.
Michel scored the go-ahead touchdown for the Patriots with 3:32 left, breaking a 10-yard run on a fourth-and-inches to give the Patriots a 24-21 lead.
But the Chiefs answered right back, marching up the field (and getting assistance from a defensive holding penalty, a pass interference penalty and a roughing the passer penalty) and scoring a touchdown to take a 28-24 lead.
Brady was later picked off in the end zone on a pass from the 1-yard line, but the Patriots were able to double their lead to 14-0 before halftime when Brady hit Phillip Dorsett for a 29-yard touchdown.
The Chiefs cut that lead in half on the opening drive of the third quarter, with Sammy Watkins getting behind All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore for a 54-yard pickup on a third-and-2. Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a 12-yard touchdown on the following snap.
After Stephen Gostkowski stretched New England’s lead to 17-7, the Chiefs drove down the field for a touchdown — a drive aided by a pass interference penalty called on J.C. Jackson in the end zone. Mahomes threw a touchdown to Damien Williams on the first play after the penalty, which was drawn by Kelce.
Holding on to a 17-14 lead, the Patriots went for it on a fourth-and-1 at the Kansas City 25-yard line inside the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter, but Rex Burkhead was stuffed at the line for no gain. The Patriots then forced a three-and-out, but Edelman was ruled to have muffed a bouncing punt, giving Kansas City possession at the New England 26-yard line. After a lengthy replay review, though, the call was overturned and the Patriots retained possession.
That ruling looked to be controversial, but it proved inconsequential moments later, when Edelman dropped a pass off is fingertips, allowing Daniel Sorensen to pick off the Brady pass.
The Chiefs turned that possession quickly into a touchdown, with Williams catching a pass out of the backfield and running untouched for a 23-yard score to give the Chiefs their first lead of the game, at 21-17.
The Patriots now will be heading to Atlanta, where they’ll face the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. It will be the 11th Super Bowl appearance in Patriots franchise history, most in the NFL. No other franchise has more than eight Super Bowl appearances.