Patriots beat Chiefs in overtime to reach Super Bowl for third straight year

Follow along for the latest news from Arrowhead Stadium Sunday night.

Tom Brady Patriots NFL Playoffs
Tom Brady celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime during the AFC Championship Game. –Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For the third straight year, the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.

Tom Brady keyed a 75-yard touchdown drive on the first possession of overtime to give New England a 37-31 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game on Sunday.

The Patriots are just the third team to advance to to three straight Super Bowls, joining the 1990-93 Bills and 1971-73 Dolphins.

New England will face the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3. It will be New England’s 11th Super Bowl appearance, and fourth in the last five years.

Postgame quotes

Bill Belichick: “You just got to give all the credit to the players.


“These guys just competed and competed. You can’t buy these [Lamar Hunt Trophy], you got to earn ’em, and they earned it”

Tom Brady on the game-winning drive: “I looked at Josh [McDaniels] and I said, ‘You got any touchdown plays on that call sheet still?’ and he said, ‘Yes I do.’ We made some huge third down plays . . . the lined played incredible . . . it took everything. We played against a great team and we earned it. I’m just really happy for us.”

Below are updates from the game as it unfolded.


FINAL — Patriots 37, Chiefs 31

Patriots 37, Chiefs 31 (10:10): Rex Burkhead sent the Patriots to Super Bowl LIII with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Tom Brady found Chris Hogan along the sideline for 10 yards on the first play of the drive.

Two incompletions later, the 41-year-old fired a pass to Julian Edelman across the middle for 20 yards on 3rd and 10.

The pair connected once more two plays later — this time for 15 yards on 3rd and 10.

New England needed 10 yards on third down again after two more incompletions, and they got it. Brady hit Rob Gronkowski in stride for 15 yards, then handed off to Burkhead three straight times.

The running back ran for 10 yards, then three yards, then the game-winning touchdown.


Coin toss: The Patriots won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick of the extra period.

Fourth quarter

Patriots 31, Chiefs 31 (0:00): Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker split the uprights on a 39-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.

Patrick Mahomes threw two deep passes to put the Chiefs in field goal range. First, he found Spencer Ware for 21 yards. Then, on the second play of the drive, Mahomes hit Demarcus Robinson in tight coverage for a 27-yard gain that set up Butker’s try.

Tom Brady took a knee to end regulation.

Patriots 31, Chiefs 28 (0:39): Rex Burkhead burst through the Chiefs defensive front and into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown as the Patriots took the lead.

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Tom Brady drove New England 65 yards downfield in six plays over one minute and 24 seconds. First, Brady rifled a pass to Julian Edelman, who held on to the ball 20 yards downfield. Then he found Chris Hogan for an 11-yard gain.

The Patriots thought Hogan had another catch on the next play, but after review the officials overturned the call and ruled the play incomplete.

On the following snap, Brady’s pass slipped through Rob Gronkowski’s hands and cornerback Charvarius Ward made the interception. However, Dee Ford was called for an offside penalty and the Patriots kept the ball.

Gronkowski didn’t let the ball slip on his next chance, reeling in a 25-yard catch down the sideline to set up Burkhead’s score.

Chiefs 28, Patriots 24 (2:03): Damien Williams put the Chiefs back in front with a 2-yard touchdown run.

The score was set up by Sammy Watkins, who took a Patrick Mahomes pass 38 yards to the New England 2-yard line.


The Patriots looked to have caused a turnover when their defense picked up a fumble early in the drive, but cornerback J.C. Jackson was whistled for defensive holding and the Chiefs kept the ball.

Jackson was flagged again one play later, this time for pass interference 23 yards from the line of scrimmage. On the following play, Mahomes launched the ball downfield and Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones couldn’t hang on to a potential interception in the end zone.

Patriots 24, Chiefs 21 (3:32): On 4th and 1 at the Chiefs 10-yard line, Sony Michel took the handoff from Tom Brady, sprinted through a hole created by James Develin, and burst into the end zone for a touchdown.

The Patriots’ 10 play, 75-yard drive was highlighted by Chris Hogan’s incredible one-handed catch over the middle for 11 yards on 3rd and 8. Andy Reid challenged the call on the field, a completed catch, but the ruling was upheld after review.

Chiefs 21, Patriots 17 (7:45): Damien Williams turned a short Patrick Mahomes pass into a 23-yard touchdown as the Chiefs made the most of the turnover.

The score came on the second play of the drive, after Bill Belichick threw his challenge flag on the first. The officials ruled that a would-be 7-yard connection to Sammy Watkins was incomplete.

Patriots 17, Chiefs 14 (7:55): Julian Edelman’s fingertips were involved again moments later.

This time, Tom Brady’s pass slipped off those fingers and into the waiting arms of Daniel Sorensen, who took the interception 22 yards to the New England 23-yard line.

Patriots 17, Chiefs 14 (8:47): Patrick Mahomes failed to connect with Tyreek Hill downfield on third down as the Chiefs went three-and-out.

There was a lengthy review after Julian Edelman looked to have touched the football as he muffed Dustin Colquitt’s punt. The officials initially ruled that the Chiefs had possession at the New England 26-yard line, but after review they determined Edelman had not touched the ball. The overturned ruling meant the Patriots kept the ball.

Patriots 17, Chiefs 14 (9:38): Facing 4th and Inches at the edge of the red zone, Bill Belichick elected to go for it. Instead of his usual quarterback sneak, Tom Brady handed the ball off to Rex Burkhead — who was wrapped up by Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen for no gain.

The Chiefs took over at their own 24-yard line.

Brady started the drive with a 19-yard completion to Julian Edelman. The Patriots also picked up first downs through Sony Michel, who fought for 10 yards on 2nd and 9, and James Develin, who caught a 9-yard pass on 2nd and 7.

Patriots 17, Chiefs 14 (14:51): Patrick Mahomes capped a nine play, 75-yard drive by connecting with Damien Williams for a 1-yard touchdown.

Mahomes dove for a first down on 3rd and 1 to keep the drive alive early, then watched Williams take a short pass 33 yards through the Patriots defense.

The Chiefs drove to the New England 14-yard line, where Mahomes looked for Travis Kelce in the end zone. Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson grabbed Travis Kelce before the ball arrived and the officials flagged him for pass interference to set up William’s score.

Third quarter

Patriots 17, Chiefs 7 (4:02): Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 47-yard field goal to convert the short field position into three points for the Patriots.

Tom Brady connected with Chris Hogan for a first down on the second play of the drive, before Phillip Dorsett was flagged for offensive interference.

Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston tackled James White near the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 17 to stall the drive.

Patriots 14, Chiefs 7 (7:38): Facing 3rd and 18 after a false start penalty and a sack by Patriots defensive end John Simon, Patrick Mahomes threw an incomplete pass intended for Chris Conley.

Damien Williams ran for 10 yards and a first down on the second play of the drive, before the penalty on guard Cameron Erving and Simon’s sack wiped out much of the gain.

Julian Edelman returned the punt to the Kansas City 37-yard line.

Patriots 14, Chiefs 7 (10:19): Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones got a hand to Tom Brady’s pass on 3rd and 6, which fell to the ground incomplete as the Patriots drive stalled.

New England picked up one first down, via a 1-yard rush by Rex Burkhead on 3rd and 1, before an incomplete pass and a short Sony Michel rush brought up Jones’s intervention.

The Chiefs were whistled for an illegal block on the punt return and pushed back to their 7-yard line.

Patriots 14, Chiefs 7 (12:56): One play after firing a 54-yard bomb to Sammy Watkins, Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a 12-yard touchdown.

The throw to Watkins, who sprinted beyond Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, came on the third play of the drive — a 3rd and 2 at the Kansas City 34-yard line.

Second quarter

The Patriots led 14-0 entering the break. A few stats:

Total yards: NE 245, KC 32

Plays: NE 42, KC 16

Yards per play: NE 5.8, KC 2.0

First downs: NE 16, KC 3

Third down: NE 7-9, KC 1-4

Penalties: NE 2-10, KC 0-0

Tom Brady: 12-17, 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 91.8 rating

Patrick Mahomes: 4-8, 65 yards, 77.6 rating

Patriots 14, Chiefs 0 (0:00): Kyle Van Noy strip sacked Patrick Mahomes for a 10-yard loss on the Chiefs’ first play of the drive as the first half drew to a close.

Patriots 14, Chiefs 0 (0:27): Despite the defender cloaking him, Phillip Dorsett held on to Tom Brady’s deep pass for a 29-yard touchdown.

The Patriots traveled 90 yards in eight plays for the score. Thirty of those yards came when James White took a short pass through the Chiefs defense before they finally dragged him down at the Kansas City 38-yard line. White added another 9-yard rush before Brady floated the pass that found Dorsett in the end zone.

Patriots 7, Chiefs 0 (3:14): After Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City to the New England 22-yard line, Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers sacked him for a 14-yard loss on 3rd and 9 and forced the Chiefs to punt.

Mahomes had connected with Tyreek Hill deep downfield for 42 yards, but overthrew Damien Williams — who had nothing but green grass in front of him — on the next play.

Punter Dustin Colquitt sent the Patriots back to their own 10-yard line.

Patriots 7, Chiefs 0 (7:39): Chiefs defensive tackle Justin Hamilton stopped Sony Michel short of the first-down marker on 3rd and 1 as the Patriots drive stalled at the Kansas City 42-yard line.

James White reeled in a beautiful catch for nine yards and a first down on 3rd and 7 early in the drive.

Michel added another first down before an incomplete pass and a 9-yard rush set up his third down attempt.

Punter Ryan Allen pinned the Chiefs at their own 15-yard line.

Patriots 7, Chiefs 0 (12:08): Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown stuffed running back Damien Williams for no gain on 3rd and 1 to stall the Chiefs drive.

Patrick Mahomes failed to connect with tight end Travis Kelce on first down, then found him for nine yards on the following play.

Julian Edelman returned Dustin Colquitt’s punt to the New England 26-yard line.

Patriots 7, Chiefs 0 (13:45): After driving to the Chiefs’ doorstep, Tom Brady was picked off in the end zone by linebacker Reggie Ragland, who fell to the ground for a touchback. Brady’s throw on 3rd and Goal from the 1-yard line was intended for Rob Gronkowski.

The Patriots had traveled 43 yards in 11 plays before the interception. James White continued their early success converting third downs by fighting for four yards on 3rd and 4, before Cordarrelle Patterson raced for 15 yards to reach the red zone.

First quarter

Patriots 7, Chiefs 0 (4:43): Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy eluded his blocker and sacked Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for a 14-yard loss on 3rd and 10 to stall Kansas City’s first drive.

The Chiefs picked up one first down on the drive with some help from the officials. Although Mahomes threw an incomplete pass intended for Sammy Watkins on 3rd and 7, Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones was whistled for defensive holding to move the chains.

Julian Edelman returned Dustin Colquitt’s punt to the Kansas City 44-yard line.

Patriots 7, Chiefs 0 (6:55): Sony Michel followed fullback James Develin into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown on the opening drive.

The Chiefs defense couldn’t prevent New England from moving the chains as Tom Brady and company advanced 80 yards in 15 plays.

Brady found Rob Gronkowski for 13 yards and a first down early in the drive, before James White rushed for five yards on 3rd and 4, then two yards on 3rd and 1.

To reach the red zone, Brady connected with Julian Edelman over the middle for 14 yards on 3rd and 7. Then Michel, the Patriots rookie running back, set himself up for the score with an 11-yard rush.

Coin toss: Kansas City won the toss and elected to defer. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense will start with the ball.


Patriots: DB Duke Dawson, DL Keionta Davis, OL James Ferentz, DL Danny Shelton, TE Stephen Anderson, DL Deatrich Wise Jr., and DB Ufomba Kamalu.

Chiefs: LB Dorian O’Daniel, OL Kahlil McKenzie, OL Jimmy Murray, OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, WR Kelvin Benjamin, TE Deon Yelder, and LB Tanoh Kpassagnon. Safety Eric Berry is officially active.

Pregame scenes

Patriots Chiefs Football
Chiefs fan before the AFC Championship. —AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
David Andrews
Patriots center David Andrews was on the field in shorts while the NFC Championship game was being shown on the screen behind him. —Jim Davis /Globe Staff
Patrick Mahomes
About two hours before kickoff, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes came onto the field, jogged to an end zone goal post and knelt down in prayer. —Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Tom Brady heads back up the ramp to the visitor’s locker room past a giant sign that reads “This Is Chiefs Kingdom.’’ —Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Patriots Chiefs
Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan was out warming up a couple of hours before kickoff. —Jim Davis / The Boston Globe

How the freezing cold will affect the playing surface at Arrowhead

A pregame dispatch from Nora Princiotti at Arrowhead:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It didn’t turn out to be quite as cold as forecasts predicted earlier in the week (score one for weatherman skeptic Bill Belichick) but it was still below freezing on AFC Championship gameday in Kansas City.

The field at Arrowhead Stadium, though, is kept relatively warm, thanks to a North Andover company that designed the underground heating system that keeps it from freezing.

Watts Water Technologies developed the hydronic system that circulates hot water in a network of pipes stretching from end zone to end zone below the grass. Three of the company’s Benchmark boilers warm the water, which keeps the grass just warm enough to avoid freezing.

Watts has also outfitted Red Bull Arena, the stadium for the New York Red Bulls MLS team, and several soccer venues in Europe with similar heating systems.

It’s an interesting local connection as well as a factor in the Patriots’ preparations for the AFC Championship game. Teams always know the surface they’re about to play a game on, and take into consideration how it’s maintained and likely to feel like on gameday.

“That’s part of our weekly preparation to know the fields that we’re playing in and what the conditions are, whatever they are from dome to outdoor stadium to whatever the potential for weather could be and to have the proper equipment and gear and so forth that we need for whatever it is we’re playing in. We definitely do that,’’ Belichick said during the week leading up to the game. “In some cases we can practice that way. In some cases we can’t. If we’re able to utilize a practice tool prior to the game because of the way that the circumstances fall then great, and if we’re not then we prepare mentally and talk about how we want to do certain things or whatever the issues are.’’

Patriots players were warned during the week that the freezing temperatures could lead to issues with footing on the natural grass field. It’s harder for cleats to get good traction on frozen ground, which is an issue for any team but especially one like the Patriots that runs the ball and asks its linemen to pull and clear out space for the running game on a regular basis. Those kinds of blocks require a firm base, easier when there’s good footing. Frozen turf, of course, is also an injury risk.

“There’s definitely differences and there’s some things that can affect us and we try to take those into consideration ahead of time. Sometimes those things don’t become apparent or they don’t declare until you actually get to the game. Sometimes it changes during the game and you have to make that adjustment,’’ Belichick said.

“But yeah, I’d say during the year we’ve practiced in most every condition we could get and it would be pretty unusual for something to come up that we haven’t at least approximated in the practice setting so that we can refer back to, “Well, when it’s like this or when this happens, we need to make this adjustment,’’ because we’ve already talked about it and made it. So, it would have to be something pretty extraordinary to fall outside of that, out of those experiences that we’ve had over the course of the year. But if it did, we would just broaden our net and try to make the adjustment we need to make to be able to handle it.’’

— Nora Princiotti, Globe Staff

Odds & ends

■  The Patriots would love to start Sunday’s game the way they started against the Chargers. Playing from behind against the Chiefs is rough. Kansas City is plus-91 in first-quarter scoring, best in the NFL. Andy Reid’s track stars have scored first in 13 of 17 games. The four times Kansas City fell behind first it went 2-2, both wins coming against rival Denver.

■  The Patriots are plus-15 in first-quarter scoring.

■  The home team has won five straight AFC Championship games.

■  Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman went to North Attleborough High.

■  KC’s director of football operations is Everett native Mike Borgonzi.

■  Julian Edelman’s 403 punt return yards (on 34 attempts) is tops in NFL playoff history.

■  Sony Michel (three TDs in the divisional round) can tie the postseason record for most rushing touchdowns by rookie with just one score Sunday. He would share the record with five other backs.

■  With a win, the Patriots will reach their third straight Super Bowl, joining the 1990-93 Bills and 1971-73 Dolphins as the only teams to make three consecutive Super Bowls.

Jim McBride’s keys to victory for each team


1. Tom Brady never hit the turf last week. If he has a clean shirt after this one, the Chiefs are going on vacation. Justin Houston, Dee Ford, and Chris Jones have to get him down.

2. They must hang onto the ball. Giving the Patriots extra chances is a formula for disaster. For all the excitement Patrick Mahomes generates with his crazy, contortionist passes, better safe than sorry.

3. Returners Tyreek Hill and Tremon Smith are electric. If they can keep the field — and the subsequent drives — short, it will keep this offense fresh for four quarters.


1. Mahomes has insanely quick feet, so using a spy as a second level of pressure when he starts to scramble makes sense. Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, you’re up!

2. Getting the ball into James White’s hands so he can work his magic against inside ’backers Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland (hint: they can’t catch him) is a must.

3. Play man defense — Stephon Gilmore on Sammy Watkins, J.C. Jackson on Tyreek Hill, Patrick Chung on Travis Kelce — to keep Mahomes’s windows tight. He’ll hit some of them, but you can’t make it easy on him.

Check out his full scouting report.

Pregame reading

■ What experts are predicting for the AFC Championship

■ ‘Go ask Tom Brady if I cheated when I sacked him’: Greg Hardy disqualified in UFC fight for kneeing opponent in the head

■ Princiotti wrote about Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, how April 18, 2015 changed the course of his life, and his path to the Patriots after a mistake in college and on what made him “fearless.’’

■ Why do the Patriots run into trouble when they’re on the road? Princiotti examined a number of factors and talked to Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, and Shaq Mason to try to find out.

■ Why the Chiefs use run-pass options so much, and how the Patriots can stop them.

■ Film Study: How the Patriots should defend against Mahomes this time around.

■ Film Study: What to expect from the Chiefs’ defense this time around, and how the Patriots should attack it.

■  How Brady and the Patriots have fared when it’s 20 degrees or colder.

■ Here is Chad Finn’s Unconventional Preview for this matchup. Three players not named Brady to watch? Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, the cornerback Jackson, and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.

■ Is Patrick Mahomes one of a kind, or the beginning of a new wave of quarterbacks?