Great day in the morning time, that was exciting. Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes combined for 692 passing yards and five touchdowns. Brady, 18 years older than Mahomes, averaged 9.7 yards per attempt and had a 109.2 passer rating; Mahomes was slightly better: 9.8 and 109.9. And when it was over, we were treated to one of the best games of the year, decided on a last-second Stephen Gostkowski field goal as time expired to give New England the 43-40 victory, and give Kansas City its first loss of the season.
This game looked over at halftime
Over the first 30 minutes you would've had pegged the Chiefs for losers, probably in a blowout. It was 24-9 at the break, the Pats had forced Mahomes into two interceptions -- which ran his streak to four straight picks without a touchdown after starting the season with 14 straight touchdown passes -- and Kansas City's defense was incapable of stopping New England through the air or on the ground.
Plus, you may have heard: It's virtually impossible to mount a comeback against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium.
The @Patriots have won 88 straight games when leading by 14+ points at the half— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 15, 2018
Their last loss when leading by at least 2 TD at halftime was Week 13, 1987 to the Broncos and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player: @johnelway
The ball is in your court @PatrickMahomes5 #KCvsNE
The Patriots have allowed 40+ points just three times in the regular season since 2013:— Matt McMullen (@KCChiefs_Matt) October 15, 2018
Week 6 in 2018 vs. Kansas City
Week 1 in 2017 vs. Kansas City
Week 4 in 2014 at Kansas City
The Patriots took a 24-9 lead against the @Chiefs to the locker room. Since the Brady era started in 2001, they are 95-1 in the regular season at home when leading at half. New England’s only loss… was to the Chiefs last season. pic.twitter.com/7RPXFavnLi— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 15, 2018
Apparently, all Mahomes saw was "New England's only loss ... was to the Chiefs last season" because he seemed unconcerned about the 15-point halftime deficit. Kansas City's first drive of the third quarter ended like this:
The Chiefs kicked a field goal later in the half to make it 27-19. And then, inexplicably, Brady thought he was Mahomes, tried to buy time in the pocket only to get strip-sacked.
And Mahomes went right to work:
The Pats converted a field goal early in the fourth to extend the lead to 30-26. That lasted the time it took Tremon Smith to return the kickoff 97 yards...
... and three plays after that, Tyreek Hill to haul in a touchdown:
This gave the Chiefs the lead, 33-30. Not surprisingly, the Pats drove right back down the field. But instead of waltzing into the end zone, which had been a recurring theme on the evening, the Chiefs literally had Brady in their grasp; rookie Breeland Speaks wrapped up Brady in the backfield for what looked to be a sure sack. It would've been fourth down and New England would've had a tough decision to make -- go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 8-yard line, or kick the game-tying field goal.
Instead, Speaks let Brady go -- presumably he thought Brady had thrown the ball and didn't want to risk a penalty by bringing him down -- and the 41-year-old sashayed his way into the end zone:
But there's more!
With just under four minutes to go and trailing by four points, the Chiefs punted. It seemed like a terrible idea at the time, and made worse by Brady suddenly remembering he had Rob Gronkowski:
A few plays later, the Pats kicked again to make it 40-33. Any other day at Gillette and that's a wrap for the home team.
But there was no stopping. Just more Gronk:
Which set up Gostkowski's game-winning field goal.
We can probably put to rest any concerns about the Patriots slow start. They were 2-2 a year ago -- including a Week 1 blowout loss to Kansas City -- and went to the Super Bowl. They also stumbled to a 2-2 start in 2014 ... and won the Super Bowl. The shorter version: It's dangerous to put too much stock in the standings after the first month of the season; at this point in the proceedings, it feels like almost an extension of the preseason.
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What does this mean for the Chiefs?
A year ago, the Chiefs headed into Week 6 with a 5-0 record as one of the league's best teams. By Week 13, they were 6-6 before getting hot down the stretch only to lose to the Titans in the wild-card round. On Sunday night, the Chiefs headed to Gillette Stadium with a 5-0 record but unlike a season ago, Alex Smith is no longer their quarterback. Instead, it's 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes, one of the league's most exciting players on one of the league's most exciting offenses.
With impressive wins on the road in Pittsburgh and Denver, it was certainly reasonable to think that Mahomes and Co. were in good position to beat the Patriots on the road. After all, this Pats team hasn't been its usual formidable self; they've lost convincingly to the Jaguars and Lions, and Brady enters the game ranked 13th in total value -- right behind Joe Flacco. But -- and this, it turns out, is important -- both of New England's losses were on the road. They're a completely different team at home.
Now the question becomes "How will the Chiefs respond?" Mahomes, after an incredible start, has looked human in his last three games against the Broncos, Jaguars and Patriots. That said, he remains a huge upgrade over Alex Smith (who we liked a lot in Andy Reid's system). The real wild card might be Kansas City's defense, which came into the game ranked 28th, according to Football Outsiders, and they might fall a few spots after what Brady and rookie running back Sony MIchel (24 carries, 106 yards, two TDs) did to them on national television. If this unit can even sniff replacement level, the Chiefs will be tough to beat. If, instead, they remain unable to stop anyone -- through the air or on the ground -- Mahomes and the offense will have to be on point every week.
Brady's still pretty good
This was also this gem from Sunday night; the microphones picked up Brady at the line of scrimmage instructing his tight end on what to do before the snap.
"Gronk, stand up!"