By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — As is usually the case when the Patriots and the Chiefs get together for a game of football, there is a lot to take away from their battle. In the end, the Chiefs came out victorious 23-16 on Sunday, and that outcome really hurts the Patriots in the AFC standings.
The Patriots did show some resiliency on Sunday. They got down big before bouncing back thanks to their defense and special teams (you may have heard that one before this season), and they had a chance to tie the game late — despite some horrendous officiating that cost them points. There was a lot of fight in the team, and it showed in the second half when they held KC’s high-powered offense to just three points.
But they only scored nine points on offense over the final 30 minutes of the game, and their second-half touchdown came thanks to a short field courtesy of a blocked punt. Though they should have had another touchdown if it wasn’t for the ineptitude of the zebras, the offense still struggled for much of the contest against an inferior defense.
The loss ends New England’s 21-game home winning streak, but more importantly, it drops them a full game behind the Baltimore Ravens for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Here are the Ups and Downs from a another wild matchup between New England and Kansas City:
Trickeration Works Like A Charm
After the Chiefs won the toss and gave the ball to the Patriots, New England marched down the field and got their first touchdown off a beautifully executed flea flicker.
— NFL (@NFL) December 8, 2019
James White later threw his first career pass, a 35-yard hookup with Jakobi Meyers in the fourth quarter.
It’s a shame that it’s taking trick plays to get the offense going, but at least the Pats are executing them.
Jamie Collins Is Still Shoving People Around
Collins has been racking up the tackles this season, and this one was truly unique:
Jamie Collins bullies All-Pro tackle Mitchell Schwartz pic.twitter.com/4fgHXDDmZs
— Tucker Boynton (@Tucker_TnL) December 8, 2019
New England’s special teams came through again, with Nate Ebner surging through the line to block a Kansas City punt with 5:14 to go in the third quarter. It was their fourth blocked punt of the season, which is incredible considering there have been only nine total in the NFL.
The block gave the Patriots the ball at the KC 19-yard line, and Brandon Bolden scored two plays later to make it a 23-13 game.
The defense made plays, and had a huge one near the end of the third quarter when Devin McCourty punched the ball out of Travis Kelce’s hands on a key third down. Kelce would have had a first down had he held on.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, Kelce was ruled down by contact on the play, which was overturned on review. The early whistle cost Stephon Gilmore a potential scoop-and-score opportunity, as he was well on his way to the end zone, which was kind of a big deal in a 10-point game.
Bonus: The Kid Can Punt
With the offense struggling, we’ve become familiar with Jake Bailey’s booming leg. On Sunday, the rookie set a team record for punts inside the 20 for the season. It’s not exactly a record the Patriots want to set, but it’s a nice one for their rookie punter.
Jonathan Jones Gets Picked On
On KC’s first touchdown drive, the Chiefs picked on Jonathan Jones. First, Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for a 21-yard reception on third-and-19 with Jones in coverage. Then Mahomes hit rookie Mecole Hardman for a 48-yard score, once again with Jones in coverage. Duron Harmon was also a bit flat-footed as he tried — unsuccessfully — to chase down the speedy rookie.
Brady telegraphed a pass to Matt LaCosse and Bashaud Breeland easily picked it off. Brady thought he had LaCosse up the seam for an easy catch, but he never saw Breeland.
It wasn’t a good way to answer KC’s big scoring play, as the Chiefs marched down the field and added another touchdown to the scoreboard (a rushing score by Travis Kelce).
In his first game back after having his appendix removed, Folk had his first field goal attempt blocked. The Chiefs sent his 41-yard bid back, and scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
It wasn’t on Folk, as Marshall Newhouse and Marcus Cannon got easily split on the line, which gave Tanoh Kpassagnon an open path to the appendix-less kicker.
Van Noy’s Mental Error
Kelce moved the chains for KC on a third-down catch in the second quarter, and he got extra yards on the play on a brain cramp by Kyle Van Noy. Instead of touching Kelce down, Van Noy waited for him to get up so he could try to punch the ball loose. But Van Noy missed, and it gave Kelce an extra 10 yards on the play.
After the Chiefs put up 17 unanswered, the Patriots were looking to stop the bleeding. With the ball on the KC 27-yard line, Brady went to the rookie over the middle on a key third-and-7, and Meyers dropped what would have been a crucial first down. The Pats then went for it instead of a 47-yard attempt by Folk. Brady felt the pressure on fourth-and-7 and couldn’t hit Edelman, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Meyers also had a crucial drop in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. He couldn’t get his arm under a low throw from Brady, and the ball bounced off the turf to set up a third-and-goal. Brady was sacked on the next play, and the Pats settled for a field goal to make it a 23-16 game.
Squandering An Opportunity Late In First Half
The Patriots defense came up with a big stop just before halftime, forcing a KC punt. It was a bad punt, and the Patriots had a golden opportunity to inch closer in a 17-7 game.
Instead the offense went three-and-out, gaining a grand total of zero yards. The Chiefs got the ball back with 2:48 left, and added a field goal to take a 20-7 lead into the locker room. The Pats walked off the field to a chorus of boos aimed at the offense.
Harry Robbed Of A Touchdown
N’Keal Harry should have a second career touchdown but the zebras robbed the rookie. Harry turned a short pass from Brady into a big gain and dove for the pylon, and it was pretty clear he got in. But the officials thought otherwise, and the Patriots didn’t have any challenges to argue the horrible ruling on the field.
Officials should have called it a touchdown — and not just because it was indeed a touchdown. Scoring plays are always reviewed, so if they were unsure if Harry stepped out of bounds, it could have been reviewed and overturned after the fact. The only way the play can be looked at when it isn’t a touchdown is if a team challenges it, and the Patriots were out of challenges after they threw the red flag on the Kelce’s fumble.
The New England offense is bad enough as it is in the red zone (1-for-3 in red area, 0-for-1 in goal-to-go situations) without officials taking touchdowns off the board.