The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New England Patriots, 27-17, at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon for their ninth victory of the season.
Kansas City briefly fell behind by three points midway through the first half before tallying 20 unanswered points between the second and third quarters, effectively putting the game out of reach despite a late New England rally.
"[This] was an important game that we needed to win," said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. "I was glad with how the guys responded, and we were able to find a way to win against a really good team."
Mahomes completed 27-of-37 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns in the game, finding tailback Jerick McKinnon for an 8-yard score in the closing moments of the second quarter that erased the Patriots' brief lead. The series was a big one, as it swung momentum back into the Chiefs' favor following a stretch of 10 unanswered points by New England.
It also continued what turned out to be a big day for McKinnon, who recorded his first-career touchdown pass earlier in the game with a quick toss to wide receiver Rashee Rice. McKinnon – who took the direct snap as part of a trick play – flipped the ball to Rice, who powered ahead for a 4-yard score that provided Kansas City with the initial advantage.
It marked a rookie franchise-record seventh receiving touchdown of the season for Rice, who finished the game with a team-leading nine catches for 91 yards.
The Chiefs then added a field goal on their first drive of the third quarter – extending their lead to seven points – before linebacker Willie Gay picked off Patriots' quarterback Bailey Zappe on the first play of New England's ensuing possession.
Kansas City didn't waste the giveaway, either, as Mahomes found tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the back of the end zone for a leaping, 6-yard touchdown grab.
"[Mahomes] gave me the opportunity [to catch a pass against Buffalo], and I rarely drop passes, [but I dopped that one]," Edwards-Helaire said. "[This was] one of those things where I had a bitter taste in my mouth, so I just told him when I got opportunities at practice this week, I said I was going to come down with it no matter the situation."
The score was part of a strong game for Edwards-Helaire, who recorded 101 yards from scrimmage on 17 total touches. He also contributed a 48-yard catch-and-run early in the game that set up Rice's aforementioned touchdown.
"Clyde's been ready the whole time, and when he's got his opportunities, he's made stuff happen," Mahomes said. "We know the work he puts in every single day, and whenever [tailback Isiah] Pacheco had to take some time off, Clyde stepped right in and went out there and made plays happen."
The Chiefs added another field goal later in the third quarter, and while New England rallied late to pull within 10 points, Kansas City's defense finished the game with an exclamation point by forcing a turnover on downs deep in the Patriots' own territory.
It concluded an outstanding day for the Chiefs' defense, which forced six punts and yielded only 206 yards of total offense. In fact, outside of the Patriots' two touchdown drives – one of which began at the Chiefs' 29-yard line – Kansas City surrendered only 116 total yards on the afternoon.
"They've played great," Mahomes said. "I think the biggest thing is you see how they can make adjustments in-game. They adjust to what the offense is doing, and they do a good job of stopping that. That takes a special group of guys…I wouldn't want to play our defense."
That effort – which included four sacks – was accentuated by Gay's interception, which undoubtedly helped turn the tide of the game squarely in Kansas City's favor. The Chiefs trailed by three points at the four-minute and forty-seven second mark of the second quarter, but before New England ran three more offensive plays, Kansas City had rattled off 17 unanswered points.
It all helped the Chiefs secure their ninth victory of the year, ensuring an 11th consecutive winning season under Head Coach Andy Reid. That stretch is by far the longest active streak in the NFL, leading the next closest team by seven seasons. The victory also meant that Kansas City will carry a two-game advantage in the AFC West into Week 16 with only three games remaining in the regular season.
In terms of injuries, the only player who Coach Reid mentioned following the game was wide receiver Skyy Moore, who left with a swollen knee.
The Chiefs will now aim to stick in the win column next Monday as Kansas City hosts the Las Vegas Raiders at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Christmas Day.