With the Denver Broncos serving notice as the premier team in the AFC West, the Chiefs entered Sunday afternoon's contest with a mentality that they'll have to win out just to make the playoffs. They took that first step on Sunday as their ever-evolving defense did everything to disrupt Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. They intercepted the Super Bowl quarterback four times on the afternoon. That was just enough to ensure that their teammates on the offensive side of the ball had enough opportunities to score points.
There is little doubt that the Kansas City Chiefs defense has made tremendous strides this season but they've yet to face a quarterback as gifted as the Patriots Tom Brady. Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham knew the Patriots would test the Chiefs secondary.
But New England tried to surprise his defense by opening the game with a running play. But for the most part, that strategy failed. In fact, the Chiefs defense blitzed on the very first play of the game.
After stuffing the run, Jared Allen knocked Brady to the ground resulting in an incomplete pass. On third down, Chiefs cornerback Benny Sapp knocked a pass away from Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch. That forced a punt and Kansas City took over at their own 34-yard line.
After struggling the last two weeks on their opening drive, the offense was in mid season form as they wanted to establish themselves as one of the premier offenses in the game. After a penalty nullified a 13-yard gain by running back Larry Johnson, Chiefs quarterback Trent Green hit Eddie Kennison a nifty 43-yard pass that put the ball deep into Patriots territory.
With the ball on the 27-yard line, Johnson ran a pair of short runs and then Green hit tight end Tony Gonzalez for a nine yard gain setting up a first down at the 14-yard line. Three runs later, Johnson ran into the end zone from a yard out giving the Chiefs a 7-0 lead with 9:07 left in the game.
That was an important way to start the game for this offense but it would be up to the defense to continue putting pressure on Tom Brady and company. The New England Patriots were not going to be intimated by another team scoring first. Thus on the teams second drive of the game, Brady had more time in the pocket. He converted a third down pass to tight end Ben Watson and then receiver Tim Dwight executed a perfect end around that pushed the Patriots into Chiefs territory. But the defense stiffened and facing a third and short, Brady was intercepted by Chiefs safety Greg Wesley for the first time in the game. That pick gave the ball back to the offense at their own 25-yard line.
Green went right to work hitting Samie Parker for a 14-yard gain. They returned to the ground game as Johnson ran two plays for five yards. On third down, Green hit Gonzalez over the middle for a 21-yard gain setting up shop at the Patriots 35-yard line. After an 11-yard completion to Kennison that resulted in another first down, Johnson ran for a one yard gain, he then caught an eight yard pass setting up a third and one from the 15-yard line.
Johnson moved the chains with a three-yard burst that ended the very fast- paced first quarter.
In the second quarter, Johnson lost two yards then Green tried to hit Gonzalez near the goal line but cornerback Artell Hawkins was called for pass interference penalty that set the Chiefs up first and goal from the 5-yard line. However after a Gonzalez drop in the end zone and a two yard loss by Johnson, Green faced a third and goal from the seven. This time the Patriots defense forced Green to throw an errant pass and kicker Lawrence Tynes hit a 25-yard field goal giving the Chiefs a 10-0 lead with 13:54 left in the second quarter.
The Patriots took over at the 25-yard line hoping to establish some rhythm offensively. After an incomplete pass and a short one-yard run by Heath Evans, that man Greg Wesley did it again. This time he picked it off and ran it down to the Patriots 25-yard line. It was the second pick of the game. On the play, defensive end Eric Hicks hit Brady just as he released the ball, and after the interception defensive end Carlos Hall threw a key block that sprung Wesley's long runback.
Green wasted little time hitting Gonzalez for a 17-yard gain. However with the ball in the red zone for the second time the offense stalled. Johnson could only gain seven yards on two carries and Green could not convert a third down pass to Gonzalez in the end zone.
That set up another field goal attempt from kicker Lawrence Tynes who nailed his second from 25-yards out giving the Chiefs 13-0 lead with 10:38 left in the second quarter.
But Brady went right to work on the Patriots next possession. He hit tight end David Givens for a 22-yard gain that put the ball in Chiefs territory at the 46-yard line. After one-yard run by Evans and short pass to Tim Dwight for six yards, Dwight ran around left end for a five yard gain and another Patriots drive.
That seemed to give Brady confidence and two plays later he hit wide receiver Troy Brown for a long 25-yard gain that set up the Patriots first and goal from the nine yard line. But after two yard loss by fullback Patrick Pass, his next pass for Branch was knocked down by safety Sammy Knight.
After a timeout by the Patriots, Brady overthrew a wide open Ben Watson in the back of the end zone. Adam Vinatieri came in and nailed a short 29-yard field goal that made the score 13-3 Chiefs with 6:46 left in the second quarter.
On the next Chiefs offensive possession, Johnson ripped a pair of long gains one for 16-yards straight up the gut and the other for nine yards. After a short two yard run by Johnson for a first down, Green hit Parker for a 21-yard gain putting the ball first and ten from the Patriots 33-yard line. It worked so well, Green hit Parker for 17-yards on the very next play.
With the ball at the 16-yard line, Green ran for a short gain and Johnson ran for no gain setting up a third and long at the two minute warning. Hoping to change their recent fortunes of ineffectiveness in the Red Zone, Green could not hit Kennison in the end zone. Lawrence Tynes hit his third field goal of the game this time from 33-yards out giving the Chiefs a 16-3 lead with 1:51 left in the half.
The Patriots went back to work at the 25-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Brady hit Andre Davis for a 19-yard gain putting the ball at the 48-yard line. Two plays later the Patriots faced a third and ten. This time Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen sacked Brady for an eight yard loss setting up the Patriots Josh Miller for his first punt of the game.
The Chiefs with two timeouts in their pockets went to work at their own 15-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Johnson ran up the gut for ten yards giving Kansas City a first down. Two plays later Johnson executed a perfect 30-yard screen pass from Green putting the ball at the Patriots 45-yard line with just :28 seconds left in the half.
On the next play, Green hit Gonzalez for 16 yards putting the ball at the 35-yard line. But after short run by Richardson, Green spiked the ball and Tynes came in and kicked his fourth field goal of the game. This time Tynes hit one from 47-yards out giving the Chiefs a 19-3 lead with just two seconds left in the first half.
With that kick, Tynes tied an NFL record by hitting four field goals in a quarter. He now shares that mark with the likes of Garo Yepremian, Curt Knight, Roger Ruzek, Cary Blanchard, Sebastian Janikowski and Jeff Wilkens.
In the second half, each team had possession of the ball but neither side could move the ball. However that changed very quickly for the Chiefs the second time they had the ball. After a pass interference penalty on the Patriots that gave Kansas City first down, Green tested New England's secondary.
This time Green went deep and found Dante Hall all alone behind the Patriots secondary for a 52-yard touchdown pass. That gave the Chiefs a 26-3 lead with 10:25 left in the third quarter.
Knowing they'd have to throw the ball the Patriots offense went back to work. After a sack of Brady by safety Sammy Knight, the Patriots quarterback ran off a 15-yard run and then hit Daniel Graham for 15 yards setting up his offense in Chiefs territory. One play later, Brady hit Dwight for 18 yards and the Patriots offense was rolling. Expecting pass the Patriots went to their running game setting up a third and goal from the one yard line. One play later running back Patrick Pass punched it in and the Patriots trailed 26-10 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
With the Chiefs scoring on every possession thus far in the game, the offense needed to keep the heat on the Patriots defense. That meant a steady diet of Larry Johnson. Five plays later the Chiefs found themselves at the Patriots 31-yard line facing a first and ten. One play later Green hit Hall for a 14 yard gain to end the third quarter.
However, the Chiefs luck ran out as Johnson with the rain falling fumbled the ball and New England took over at the Chiefs 20-yard line. With confidence in hand after their last touchdown drive, New England quickly pushed into Chiefs territory. Brady found his stroke and had the Patriots at the Chiefs 26-yard line first and ten. But on the next play Brady hit Dwight for a 20-yard gain giving New England a first and goal from the six-yard line.
After Brach caught a short four yard pass from Brady, the cool handed quarterback found tight end Christian Fauria alone in the back of the end zone. After the two-point failed the Patriots found themselves trailing the Chiefs 26-16 with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter. On the drive Brady was eight for eight as New England refused to give up on the afternoon.
After a 39-yard return by Dante Hall, the Chiefs offensive line seamed to wilt under the pouring rain. On consecutive plays a screen pass to Johnson and run up the middle, the Patriots defenders controlled the line of scrimmage. But Green facing a long third down hit Parker for a 16-yard gain setting up a first down at midfield.
Two plays later the Chiefs faced a third and ten with 6:03 remaining in the fourth quarter but Green could not convert this time and Dustin Colquitt came into the game for his first punt of the day.
With enormous confidence in hand, the Patriots took over at their own 20-yard line with 5:46 left. Brady hit Dwight for 12 yards but linebacker Kendrell Bell sacked the Patriots quarterback on the next play. Two plays later the Patriots were faced with a fourth and three. Brady converted by hitting Branch for a first down. But on the very next play, Brady tried to hit Branch again but safety Greg Wesley picked off his third pass of the game.
Kansas City took over at the 33-yard line but went three and out. Colquitt came in again and nailed a high 43-yard punt that put the ball at the Patriots 36-yard line with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter with no timeouts. But that didn't stop the Patriots as they quickly moved down to the Chiefs 34-yard line.
However, the defense refused to give in as Safety Sammy Knight snagged an errant Brady pass that he lunged for at the 12-yard line. It was the Chiefs fourth interception of the game and brought shades of the type of defensive performances that fans saw in the 90's.
The Chiefs held onto the ball and moved their 2005 record to 7-4. With the victory Kansas City stays pace with the San Diego Chargers who won in overtime 23-17 at Washington. That means next Sunday's game in Kansas City against the Denver Broncos could determine if the Chiefs remain within in contention for the AFC West Title. A loss would certainly kill their chances of that happening and another AFC loss might not knock them out of the playoff picture altogether.
Chiefs Defeat World Champs 26-16
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