With the exception of Tom Brady’s kneel down on the final play of regulation, the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs combined for 37 points in 12:37 of game play in the final six possessions. Rex Burkhead’s two-yard touchdown run capped off a 13-play, 75 yard drive in overtime as the Patriots advance to their third straight Super Bowl with a 37-31 win over the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
Brady was picked off for the second time midway through the fourth quarter with his team leading 17-14. Patrick Mahomes connected on two passes and the Chiefs grabbed their first lead of the game at 21-17 with 7:45 to play. From that point on, Brady was nearly untouchable with the exception of one play.
It looked as though the Chiefs had punched their ticket to Atlanta when Brady’s pass to Rob Gronkowski was picked off with 54 seconds left in the game. However, Dee Ford lined up in the neutral zone and the play was nullified. Given another chance, Brady completed a third down and five and on the next play, Burkhead scored the first of two his two touchdowns to give the Patriots a 31-28 lead.
Brady threw for 147 yards in that final 12:37 of game play. Brady finished the day with 348 yards on 30-of-46 passing with one TD and two picks.
I saw a few comments on social media, including some from Boston media saying that Patrick Mahomes didn’t look comfortable for most of the game. I would disagree. Mahomes never looked flustered even though his offensive line couldn’t protect him against the Patriots pass rush. Mahomes made good reads, not many forced throws and took what was given to him. Mahomes was 16-or-31 for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes was sacked four times and hit nine times by the New England pass rush but never turned the ball over.
Credit New England for limiting Mahomes big play makers. Tyreek Hill held to just one catch for 42 yards while being targeted three times and Travis Kelce had three grabs while being targeted five times for 23 yards. He did have one touchdown, but he was frustrated with his play.
“Just gotta be better for my teammates,” said Kelce after watching his counterpart Gronkowski haul in six catches for 79 yards “It hurts to see the way it ended today.”