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slides: Patriots Advance to 5th Straight AFC Title Game

Sunday, January 17, 2016

 

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Divisional round. The win sends New England to their fifth straight AFC title game.

See the Five Takeaways Slideshow Below

"First of all, great to win today, really proud of our team, we have kind of battling along here the last few weeks. We played hard, Kansas City is a good football team, got to give a lot of credit to coach Reid and his staff. They are a tough team, resilient, we knew they were going to fight till the final seconds which they did. I have all the respect in the world for Andy [Reid]," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.  

Defense to Offense

With 10:43 to play in the third quarter the Chiefs drove into Patriots territory, threatening to cut their 14-6 deficit to just one point. 

Alex Smith handed the ball over to Knile Davis who ran up the middle. Upon being tackled, Davis had the the ball knocked out by Chandler Jones and it was recovered by Dont'a Hightower. 

The Patriots offense took over possession and five plays later, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski in the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. 

After a Gostkowski extra point, the Patriots went up 21-6 and took complete control of the game. 

New England would add two field goals to get to 27 points and seal the win by recovering an onside kick after a late Kansas City touchdown. 

Taking Control Early 

The Patriots took a 14-3 lead after Tom Brady dove into the end zone on a one yard run. That play capped off an 11 play 98 yard drive.

A Kansas City Field goal at the end of the second quarter would send teams into the locker room with the Patriots up 14-6. 

The Patriots started off the game looking like the Patriots we saw in the first half of the season. 

Brady found Gronkowski in the end zone to conclude and 11 play 80 yard drive in which Julian Edelman caught three passes and Rob Gronkowski caught two. 

The Leaders 

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went 28 of 42 for 302 yards and two touchdowns while Julian Edelman pulled in 10 catches for 100 yards. 

Rob Gronkowski caught seven balls for 83 yards and two touchdowns.

Next up 

The Patriots now await the winner of Sunday's Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos game that is being held in Denver. Game time for that one is set for 4:40 p.m. 

If the Steelers win, the Patriots will host the AFC Championship game next Sunday. If Denver wins, the Patriots will travel to Denver for the game. 

Tom Brady is 2-6 all-time in Denver. 

 

Related Slideshow: 5 Takeaways From The Patriots Win Over Kansas City

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3rd Down

One frustrating thing was that the Patriots defense could not seem to get off the field on 3rd downs. 

Seemed like no matter what, 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 21, the Chiefs had a good chance to pick it up. Kansas City was 12 for 20 on 3rd downs for a 60% efficiency rating. KC was 1 for 2 on fourth down. 

The Chiefs picked up 27 first downs in the game, 10 by rushing and 14 by passing and three on penalty. 

By comparison, the Patriots offense picked up 21 first downs. 

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Rob Gronkowski

Talk about Rob Gronkowski's injuries, some wondering if he would just be used as decoy in the game. 

Gronkowski ended up with 7 catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the game and did not appear to be bothered by anything at all. 

That includes taking a scary hit to his knees in the third quarter. 

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Julian Edelman

A lot of focus and hype surrounded Julian Edelman's return in this game and after a few early drops, it looked like he never missed a beat. 

Edelman had 10 catches for 100 yards in the game and averaged 10 yards per catch. 

Edelman had been practicing for the last few weeks but had to re-learn how to cut to protect his foot. 

Though everyone was excited for his return, it was uncertain how much he would actually be able to give. 

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Offensive Line

The offensive line did about a 180 from how they have looked in previous weeks. Tom Brady was not sacked in the game, was only pressured a couple of times and only hit a couple of times, one of which drew a flag. 

"I think the offensive line did a great job, receivers did a great job of getting open and getting separation so that all works together," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the game. 

Sebastian Vollmer returned and played left tackle in the game. 

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AFC Title Game

The Patriots now advance to their 5th straight AFC Championship game next week. 

New England will either travel to Denver or will host Pittsburgh depending on their game tomorrow afternoon. 

The Patriots beat Pittsburgh in the first game of the season but lost to Denver in the middle of the season. 

Tom Brady is also 2-6 all time in Denver. 

 
 

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