PHOTO: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady launches a pass over a Kansas City Chiefs defender early in the third quarter of their game at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night, November 22, 2004. The Patriots won the game, 27-19 (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
NE OK in KC
Branch Makes Big Return, PATS Win Third In A Row
by Chris Timoney, Patriots Insider
Things didnt start out so great Monday night in Kansas City. Tom Brady was sacked on the first play from scrimmage. In true Patriots fashion the team was able to overcome early obstacles and rise above. New England rose above to a 27-19 victory over the Chiefs and a 9-1 record. The win moves the Belichick led Patriots to 3-0 versus Kansas City.
The early Brady sack was the only one of the game for the Chiefs defense as Brady & Co. worked with ample time in the pocket and sharp route running throughout most of the game. Brady was very glad to welcome back wide receiver Deion Branch to the lineup for the first time since week 2. Its night and day when hes with us, said Brady of Branchs return, its a lot of fun.
Brady quickly shook off the cobwebs of the opening sack and connected to Patrick Pass for 7 yards on the following play setting up a 3rd and 9 situation. Brady then connected with tight end Daniel Graham (3 catches for 83 yards) for a 27 yard gain. A five yard face mask penalty by KC linebacker Quinton Carver added to the gain and moved the ball inside the Chiefs 40 yard line. 21 yards of rushing by Corey Dillon moved New England into the red zone. On 3rd and 15 from the KC 22 Brady found fun guy Branch for 17 yards down to the 5 yard line. First and goal was all New England needed as Corey Dillon punched into the endzone for the early go-ahead lead. The score marked the 18th consecutive game in which the Patriots have scored first and the sixth game in a row where they have scored on their first possession. Streak or no streak the Pats were up 7-0 early and for the time being quieted the boisterous Kansas City crowd.
The Chiefs were quick to respond to the Super Bowl champions opening strike. Dante Hall set the table for the Chiefs with a 33 yard kick return giving KC possession at their own 44. Quarterback Trent Green got the offense going early hitting tight end Tony Gonzalez on first down for 22 yards in to Patriot territory. A Ty Warren sack, in which he was untouched, pushed the Chiefs back into a 3rd and 19 situation. Out of the shotgun Trent Green found Johnnie Morton 17 yards down field. Asante Samuels immediate tackle prevented Morton from reaching the first down marker and KC settled for a Lawrence Tynes 44 yard field goal bringing the score to 7-3 with just under 8 minutes to go in the opening quarter.
Not much later in the first Kansas City again made quick work of the Patriots defense, especially New Englands patchwork secondary. Taking possession at their own 16 after a good Josh Miller punt the Chiefs struck quickly. A completion to Tony Gonzalez on 3rd and 4 gave KC a fresh set of downs. The Chiefs would only need 2 plays as Trent Green found Eddie Kennison streaking down the sideline for a 65 yard touchdown pass. The quick strike gave the Chiefs a 10-7 lead still in the first quarter.
The teams exchanged punts to close out the first quarter and open the second. New England took possession at their own 25 with 13 minutes to go in the half. On the drive Brady got very nostalgic as he hit Branch(17 & 14 yards) and Troy Brown(22 yards) early in the drive which aided in moving the Patriots deep into the KC territory. With the ball on the 14 yard line offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss left it up to Corey Dillon to finish off the drive. After an 8 yard run on a draw play Dillon set up first and goal from the 1 for the Patriots. After being stopped at the line on first down Dillon crossed the goal line for the go-ahead touchdown giving Dillon his sixth touchdown of the year and the Pats a 14-10 lead.
The Chiefs were unable to move the ball on the ground with Derrick Blaylock and were forced to punt on their ensuing possession. Like always, the Patriots took advantage of their opponents shortcomings. Especially before the half.
On 2nd and 11 from the New England 43 yard line Brady worked his pre-half magic again, this time in the form of a 48 yard completion to Daniel Graham. On the play Graham ran well and was aided by poor tackling from the Chiefs secondary. The play put the Pats at the KC 9 yard line, poised for another score before the half. A false start on Matt Light set New England back 5 and they couldnt muster any yards after that. New England settled for an automatic 3 on a 37 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal and were up 17-10 with just under four minutes to go in the half.
Starting out at their own 32 the Chiefs quickly moved down to the Patriots 32 as Trent Green completed to Johnnie Morton (5 catches for 107 yards) for 36 yards. Unable to get running back Derrick Blaylock moving in the running game, Green opted instead to pass to the back-up running back and did so for 16 yards on two plays moving the Chiefs down to the 9 yard line. Two incompletions set up a 3rd and goal for the Chiefs from the Patriots 9 yard line. Like it has so many times this season, the Pats defense stepped up and put the clamps on KCs drive. Throwing to Tony Gonzalez for the touchdown Trent Green was picked off in the endzone by Rodney Harrison. The interception ended KCs drive and held the Pats lead at halftime at 17-10.
Kansas City started out the second half looking to duplicate what the Patriots did at the start of the game. On the arm of Trent Green(27 of 42 for 381 yards) aided by a slightly improved running game the Chiefs were able to moved down inside the Patriots 10 yard line. On third and 1 from the 4 Blaylock (19 rushes for 58 yards) was stuffed at the line for a loss and KC settled for another Tynes field goal. Down only 17-13 with plenty of time left the Chiefs were ready for a comeback in front of the home crowd.
Brady & Co. quickly silenced the KC faithful. Four plays and 75 yards later the Patriots again found the endzone on a 26 yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch. On the first play of the brief drive Brady attempted to connect with David Patten down field but the ball was well defended by cornerback Julian Battle. Two plays later on third down Brady went right back to Patten on the same exact play, this time connecting down field for the 46 yard play. The touchdown pass started out as just a little hitch play, but Branchs moves and speed had him cutting across the field and sprinting into the endzone. The score put New England up 24-13 late in the third quarter.
The Chiefs, hungry for a win in front of the home crowd did their best to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter. With just under 12 minutes to go in the game Kansas City was finally able to establish a running game as coach dick Vermeil combined Blaylock runs with Trent Green passes. After a 14 yard pass play on 3rd an 11 the Chiefs had 1st and ten on the New England 26. Out of the shotgun on first down Trent Green found Eddie Kennison for 26 yards and a touchdown. On the play Kennison had lost defensive back Earthwind Moreland down the sideline and headed straight for the endzone.
Down only 24-19 with over six minutes left the Chiefs were still in reach.
The Patriots ended the hope of victory for the Chiefs and the home crowd by marching 54 yards in about 4 and-a-half minutes. The late fourth quarter drive resulted in a 28 yard Vinatieri field goal, putting the Chiefs on ice.
Willie McGinest officially ended the chiefs night by sacking Trent Green on fourth down and the victory was complete. The 27-19 win moved New England to 9-1 on the season as they prepare for a visit by the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.
Tony Gonzalezs 86 yards receiving moved him into fourth place on the Chiefs all-time receiving list in yards gained. The Chiefs 97 yard drive was longest against the Patriots since the 2001 season. Corey Dillons 98 yards rushing snapped a 4 game streak of 100-yard rushing games for Dillon.
The four sacks by the Patriots ties them for second in the league with the Ravens for total sacks on the season (30), trailing on the Steelers (31).
Chris Timoney provides is a site contributor for the Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: jakbrown. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by using the search feature on this site.
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