Welp, that sucked
The Patriots were handed a rare home loss last night at Gillette Stadium when they were defeated 23-16 by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots offense struggled once again, but the major headline from this game was the god awful officiating during the second half (We’ll get to that soon).
This game actually started off fairly well for the Patriots, with Tom Brady connecting on a 37 yard touchdown to Julien Edelman after the Patriots fooled the defense with a flea flicked during the play. After this however, the Chiefs slowly started to start gaining momentum. The Chiefs hit a field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3 before the end of the quarter. At the beginning of the second quarter, Patrick Mahomes connected on a 48 yard bomb to rookie receiver Mekole Hardman to put the Chiefs up 10-7. The Patriots failed to respond and the Chiefs were then able to add on another TD as Travis Kelce found the end zone on a four yard run to make the score 17-7. The Patriots couldn’t get anything going yet again and the Chiefs were able to tack on another field goal, which took the game to the half with the Chiefs leading 20-7.
At the start of the second half, the Chiefs added on another field goal to go up 23-7. After this however the Patriots appeared to start to wake up a little bit. with five minutes left in the third, special teams ace Nate Ebner broke through the line and blocked a Kansas City punt which gave the Patriots the ball on the Chiefs 19 yard line, which help set up a Brandon Bolden TD a few plays later. After the Pats failed the two point conversion, the score was 23-13.
Now, here is where things got real interesting and not in a good way. On a Chiefs drive early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots challenged the spot of the ball, trying to say the Chiefs didn’t get the first down. The Patriots lost the challenge, thus losing a timeout. Later in the drive, Devin McCourty punched the ball out of the hands of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. The ball fell out and Stephon Gilmore recovered with nothing but an open field in sight, but the play was blown dead as the refs said Kelce was down by contact. This meant the Patriots had to use their final challenge of the game to overturn an atrocious missed call to get the ball back when they realistically should have had a TD on the play. A few plays later on a third down in the red zone, rookie receiver N’Keal Harry made an outstanding catch and run, fighting through contact and diving headfirst into the end zone on what should have been a touchdown. The only problem was, that the refs said Harry stepped out of bounds, and since the Patriots had to burn their last challenge earlier in the drive because of the ineptitude of the refs, their was no way to try and overturn the play to a touchdown, which meant the Patriots had to settle for a field goal to cut the lead to 23-16. As you can see from the picture above, Harry’s feet are clearly inbounds and it is beyond frustrating that the nearby ref on that side of the field botched this call so bad.
After both teams traded the ball back and forth with no scoring, the Patriots found themselves driving down the field with a chance to score and possible either win the game or force overtime. As the clock was winding down, the Patriots found themselves needing six yards on a fourth down. The most unlikely of events occurred as the speed demon himself Tom Brady of all people took the ball himself and ran for the first down to keep the Pats in the game. The Patriots found themselves inside the ten yard line around the two minute warning, but could just not get the ball in the end zone. With a minute left and the game on the line, Brady looked to find Julien Edelman in the end zone on a fourth down from about the five yard line, but the ball was knocked down by the Chiefs defender and the Patriots comeback bid fell short. Yes you can say “bblleeaaahhh, the Pats had four chances to score and tie the game and they couldn’t do it,” but it is still beyond frustrating to know that had Harry’s obvious touchdown counted, the Patriots would have been going for a touchdown to win the game or could have simply kicked a field goal to tie the game instead of having to go for the win on fourth down. (This is assuming the Pats would have hit the extra point had Harry’s TD counted) Poor officiating has been mucking up the quality of the NFL like a disease this season and it’s beyond frustrating calls like this happen during games where teams are fighting for playoff seeding. The Patriots fell to 10-3 and still hold the number two seed in the AFC playoff picture. The Pats are now on to Cincinnati as they look to take out their anger on the hapless Bengals next weekend.