KANSAS CITY — Onto the Super Bowl.
Rex Burkhead’s 2-yard run for a touchdown with 10:08 left in overtime powered the Patriots to a 37-31 win over the Chiefs in an electric AFC Championship win Sunday night at a stunned Arrowhead Stadium.
Sony Michel’s 10-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-inches with just over three minutes left and Burkhead 4-yard score propelled the Patriots to a 31-28 lead with 39 seconds left in regulation, only to see Patrick Mahomes lead a last-second drive for a game-tying field goal to force overtime.
The Chiefs had a game-clinching interception wiped out when Dee Ford lined up offsides with less than a minute left.
For Tom Brady and the Patriots, it was the sweetest revenge of all for their 41-14 loss in Sept. 2014 that led to the “Onto Cincinnati” game. They advance to Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.
It will be the second time the Patriots have faced the Rams in the Super Bowl and the first since their dynasty started with a 20-17 win over the then-St. Louis Rams. Click here for a full box score.
It will be a record-11th trip to the Super Bowl for the Patriots and a ninth appearance for the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady combo, with the Patriots 5-5 in the previous 10 and 5-3 in the Brady-Belichick era.
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The Chiefs won the opening toss but deferred to the Patriots. And the Patriots took full advantage, replicating what they did against the Chargers in the divisional round win.
The Patriots took the opening drive and marched right down the field, using power running formations to attack the Chiefs defensive line. Sony Michel repeated his effort of last week when he followed the lead block of fullback James Develin into the end zone from a yard out for a 7-0 lead with 6:55 left in the first.
The Patriots forced a punt after just one first down, thanks to a sack from Kyle Van Noy.
After the punt gave the Patriots the ball at the Chiefs 44, the Patriots were again driving down the field with ease, pushing the Chiefs defensive front all over the field. A pass to Julian Edelman for five yards set the Patriots up with first and goal at the Chiefs 5. On third-and-goal from the 1, Tom Brady called a play-action and dropped back, threw for Rob Gronkowski and didn’t see linebacker Reggie Ragland waiting in the end zone. Ragland intercepted Brady for Brady’s first postseason pick since throwing a pick-6 in Super Bowl LI against the Falcons.
END ZONE PICK
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 21, 2019
But the defense was more than up to the challenge. They forced a three-and-out and gave Brady the ball back. The Patriots were forced to punt, giving Mahomes another chance to get his offense on track. It looked like he was about to when he found Sammy Watkins on a third-down scramble for 12 yards, throwing across his body. On the next play, Mahomes found a wide open Tyreek Hill for 42 yards after Hill beat Keion Crossen. The Chiefs were third-and-9 from the Patriots 22. The 14-yard sack knocked the Chiefs out of field goal range.
The Patriots received the punt at their 10 with 3:08 left in the first half. They marched 90 yards in eight plays, capped off by a perfect pass from Brady to Dorsett of 29 yards in the left corner of the end zone, giving the Patriots a 14-0 lead and turning Arrowhead eerily silent. A key play was a 30-yard screen pass from Brady to James White.
Appropriately, the half ended on a Kyle Van Noy strip sack that Patrick Mahomes recovered as time expired.
The second half started with the Chiefs facing essentially a must-score possession. On third-and-2 at their 34, Mahomes was not pressured for one of the few times in the game. He made the Patriots pay with a 54-yard rainbow to Sammy Watkins, with Stephon Gilmore in coverage. On the next play, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce on an in-cut for a 12-yard touchdown.
The Patriots answered with a scoring drive that ended in a 47-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal that gave New England a 17-7 lead with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
Then Mahomes made several plays that showed why he’s the leading MVP candidate of the 2018 NFL season. Facing third-and-3 at his 43, Mahomes stayed in the pocket, fired a sidearm pass to Sammy Watkins for 10 yards before taking a hit from Adrian Clayborn. He then found Damien Williams in the right flat that he turned into a 33-yard gain to the Patriots 14. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Mahomes eluded a rush from Van Noy and fired a laser to Williams in the end zone to make it a 17-14 game with 14:53 left.
The Patriots answered with a long drive to the Chiefs 25, where they faced 4th-and-inches with over nine minutes left. Rex Burkhead could not pick up the first down and the Chiefs took over on downs. But like with the Brady turnover, the defense responded with a 3-and-out.
The Chiefs took their first lead, 21-17, on another Mahomes to Williams connection with 7:45 left in the fourth. This came after Julian Edelman dropped a pass over the middle and it was picked off by Daniel Sorensen and returned to the Pats 23.
That just set the stage for an epic finish over the final eight minutes.
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