Kansas City clinched the AFC West when Bashaud Breeland knocked away Tom Brady’s fourth-down pass attempt to Julian Edelman in the end zone Sunday.
The Chiefs survived a series of mistakes and questionable calls by the officials to hold off the New England Patriots 23-16 on Sunday.
Combined with Oakland’s loss to Tennessee, the Chiefs (9-4) took their division. And the loss ended the Patriots’ 21-game home win streak in the regular season and playoffs, which was tied for the longest in team history. It also was the third-longest string in NFL history.
New England (10-3) has lost two in a row.
Patrick Mahomes was 26 of 40 for 283 yards, a touchdown and interception. Travis Kelce added a 10-yard TD run. Tom Brady was under pressure all night and finished 19 of 36 for 169 yards, a touchdown and interception.
Trailing 23-16, New England got the ball back on their 32 with 5:04 to play. The Patriots immediately gained 35 yards on a pass from halfback James White to Jakobi Meyers to get into Kansas City territory. Officials appeared to miss a clear pass interference call on a deep pass to Phillip Dorsett and the Chiefs forced a fourth-and-6 at the 29.
But the 42-year-old Brady got free and scrambled 17 yards for a first down.
The Patriots couldn’t get into the end zone, however, losing the rematch of January’s AFC title game.
The Chiefs led 23-7 in the third quarter before they committed a series of mistakes that helped the Patriots close the gap.
First, Patriot special-teamer Nate Ebner blocked Dustin Colquitt’s punt, which rolled out of bounds at the Chiefs 19. It set up a 10-yard run by Brandon Bolden that made it 23-13, but White was stopped short on his 2-point conversion run attempt.
The Chiefs gave the Patriots another opportunity late in the third quarter. Travis Kelce caught a pass and was hit Devin McCourty, forcing a fumble and recovery by Stephon Gilmore, who had a clear path the the end zone. The play was blown dead, though, with Kelce ruled down by contact.
It prompted an immediate challenge by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, which resulted in the call being overturned and the ball awarded to New England.
The Patriots quickly drove to the Kansas City 15 and Brady found N’Keal Harry with a short pass. Harry weaved through multiple defenders and appeared to stretch the ball over pylon.
Yet he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds at the 3. Brady was sacked three plays later and the Patriots kicked a field goal to close within 23-16.
On Kansas City’s next possession, receiver Sammy Watkins and Gilmore got tangled up, wrestled each other to the ground and then had to be separated.
The Chiefs were without two of their leading rushers, Damien Williams (rib injury) and Darrel Williams (placed on injured reserve Thursday with a hamstring injury). It left the rushing duties primarily in the hands of LeSean McCoy, with support from Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware.
They didn’t get much traction in the run game other than from McCoy, who finished with 11 rushes for 39 yards. But after a slow start, Kansas City’s receivers were able to find space and passing lanes for Mahomes.
One notable example came early in the second quarter. Mecole Hardman got behind Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones and Mahomes withstood pressure to deliver a deep pass off his back foot for a 48-yard touchdown to put the Chiefs in front 10-7.
Brady was intercepted by Breeland on the first play of the Patriots’ ensuing drive and Kansas City went right back to work.
Taking over on New England’s 39, Mahomes found Kelce in the middle of the field for a 20-yard gain to get the Chiefs inside the 5. Two plays later Kelce took a direct snap and ran it in for a 4-yard TD.
New England used Gilmore to cover Kelce in their two previous meetings, including the AFC title game in which Kelce was largely ineffective. This time he was able to get open for most of the game as the Patriots’ safeties drew his primary coverage responsibilities.
Kansas City drove inside New England’s 15 just before the half, but settled for a 31-yard Harrison Butker field goal that made it 20-7.
The Patriots received the game’s opening kickoff and needed just five plays to drive 83 yards and take 7-0 lead on a 37-yard flea-flicker from Brady to Edelman. The series was aided by a pair of third-down pass interference penalties called on Chiefs cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Breeland.
Kansas City’s first offensive drive lasted just three plays before Mahomes was picked off by J.C. Jackson.