Sun Dec 8 8:22pm ET
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
Players: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, LeSean McCoy, Travis Kelce, Spencer Ware, James White, Phillip Dorsett, Sammy Watkins, Damien Williams, Harrison Butker, Darrel Williams, Patrick Mahomes, Jakobi Meyers, N'Keal Harry, Mecole Hardman
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, center, carries the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center, argues a call in the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden dives for the goal line and a touchdown in front of Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots defensive back Nate Ebner, left, blocks a punt by Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady lands on the turf after being sacked by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce carries the ball after catching a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce carries the ball after catching a pass against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, left, celebrates his touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman runs for a touchdown after making a catch against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman celebrates his touchdown catch against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Bashaud Breeland, center, intercepts a pass intended for New England Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. left, passes under pressure from New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, right, in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) 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.
Chiefs: LG Andrew Wiley left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Patriots: Harry left in the fourth quarter with a hip injury.
Ebner's punt block in the third quarter was the Patriots fourth of 2019, setting a franchise record for a season. With one more they will tie the 1990 Chiefs for the most blocked punts in a season in NFL history
The Kansas City Chiefs needed a police escort to get their equipment to Foxborough, Massachusetts, in time for kickoff.
Chiefs spokesman Ted Crews confirmed that some of the gear was sent to the wrong place and had to be rushed to the stadium. It arrived about two hours before kickoff. The Massachusetts State Police tweeted that they helped the equipment get to the stadium from Logan Airport.
Chiefs: host Broncos next Sunday.
Patriots: visit Bengals next Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy, who hasn't had a touch since Week 15 and who was inactive for the AFC Championship against the Titans, said he's not ready to retire after this season. "Nah, I'm not ready to retire, yet," McCoy said. "I still can play. So, I'm not going to retire yet, but that day is coming. That day is definitely coming." The 31-year-old has taken a back seat to running backs Damien Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson down the stretch, and he's unlikely to have much of a role, if any, in the Super Bowl against the 49ers. Shady has become more of a mentor in the running back room than an on-field performer for fantasy owners.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (shoulder) said that he's been playing through a torn labrum in his right shoulder since the start of the 2018 season. "So I dislocated my shoulder last year," Kittle said Sunday on the Pardon My Take podcast, "and my labrum is completely torn. So I don't get surgery on it -- [The protective sleeve] basically helps me, so it doesn't hurt all the time." He didn't miss any games in 2018 and set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377. Kittle said there's "no chance" he has surgery in the future. The 26-year-old has been quiet in the postseason with four catches for 35 yards in two games, but the Niners haven't really needed him with their ground game humming. That could change in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs on Feb. 2.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt, who will be a free agent in March, emotionally admitted that he would fail a drug test to a police officer during a traffic stop recently. This was caught on video of the police officer's dash cam during the traffic stop. Hunt also admitted that the small amounts of marijuana found in the car were his, but the officer let Hunt off with just the speeding ticket. It remains to be seen if the NFL will consider a suspension for the 24-year-old from this incident. Hunt was released by the Chiefs during the 2018 season due to a domestic-violence incident, and he served a suspension before making his Browns debut in 2019. If he signs with another team this offseason and is given bell-cow duties in the backfield, Hunt could have RB1 upside.
The Los Angeles Chargers have "moved on from Philip Rivers," according to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer. Rivers is set to become a free agent in March, and the writing was on the wall when he recently moved his entire family from San Diego to Florida. Rivers will end a 16-year run with the Chargers, but it remains to be seen where he'll land on the free-agent market this offseason. The Buccaneers are a popular expected destination, but that'll only be if they move on from Jameis Winston. Rivers completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 2019 for a QB rating of 88.5. He might have a few more seasons left in him, but at 38 years old his arm strength is clearly deteriorating, and he'll probably be more of a QB2 in 2020, depending on where he winds up.
Baltimore Ravens defensive end Matthew Judon is a candidate to receive the team's franchise tag and could also be traded, according to league sources. The Ravens would like to bring Judon back in 2020, but they are also likely to listen to trade offers if another team shows interest. The Niners dealt a second-round pick to the Chiefs last year for defensive end Dee Ford, who then signed a five-year deal worth up to $87.5 million last March. The Chiefs also traded first- and third-round picks to the Seahawks last April for defensive end Frank Clark, who then signed a five-year, $105.5 million deal. Judon has emerged as a high-end pass rusher with at least seven sacks in each of the last three years. The 27-year-old had a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2019 and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.
Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox was credited with a 61-yard interception return for touchdown at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle posted three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown on four targets for the AFC at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.
Pittsburgh Steelers DE T.J. Watt posted an 82-yard fumble return for touchdown in the fourth quarter for the AFC at the Pro Bowl in Orlando on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews ended up with a game-high nine receptions for an AFC-best 73 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. registered two grabs for 67 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown in the third quarter, for the AFC at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams ended up with a team-high six receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets for the NFC at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper finished with three grabs for 24 yards and a touchdown on seven targets for the NFC at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins completed 13-of-22 passes for 181 yards, two touchdowns and one interception at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26
New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas hauled in five receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown with a team-high eight targets at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.
Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell had a solo tackle, a sack and a quarterback hit in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26, winning the Defensive Most Valuable Player award.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson completed 16-of-23 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, winning Offensive Most Valuable Player. He also ran twice for six yards in the 38-33 win.
Houston Texans impending free-agent TE Darren Fells is a player the Texans will try to re-sign this offseason, but he probably will receive interest from multiple teams in free agency.
Houston Texans impending free-agent QB AJ McCarron is a candidate to be re-signed this offseason, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Sarah Barshop.
New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin), who is six weeks removed from groin/abdominal surgery, said he is jogging "a little bit" and is on track to take part in "spring football." Mosley has also started a vegan diet after playing in just two games last season because of his injury in his first year in New York. The 27-year-old should be ready for a full training camp heading into the 2020 season, and he should give Gang Green a steadying presence in the middle of the field next season. Mosley recorded 100-plus tackles in four of his five seasons in Baltimore before signing with the Jets in free agency last offseason.
Former Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who did not play at all in 2019, plans to play in 2020 after intentionally taking the season off to rest his body and mind. Berry was cut by the Chiefs in 2018 and has only played in three games since 2016 due to injuries and a bout with cancer. The former first-round pick in 2010 has 14 career interceptions and five touchdowns and could provide a team with a veteran presence in the secondary in 2020. However, it remains to be seen if any team will take a chance on the veteran moving forward. Berry is unlikely to be an asset in IDP leagues if he gets picked up by a team.