Patriots comeback falls short as Chiefs take 23-16 win

All of the updates from the loss at Gillette Stadium.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second quarter. The Patriots suffered a 16-23 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second quarter. The Patriots suffered a 16-23 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

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A furious second-half rally fell short as the Patriots dropped a 23-16 decision to the Chiefs Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Kansas City held a 23-7 lead midway through the third, but a blocked punt by Nate Ebner set the Patriots up with a Bradon Bolden score than cut the lead to 10 (the two-pointer was no good). And a strange fourth-quarter sequence where it looked like New England had scored touchdowns on two separate occasions but were denied by bad calls meant the Pats had to settle for a field goal to make it 23-16.


Despite all that, New England had the ball and a chance to tie late in the fourth quarter. However, a fourth-down pass play for Julian Edelman was broken up, leaving Kansas City with the win.

The Patriots 21-game home win streak came to an end with the loss. New England, which also lost its second straight, falls to 10-3 on the season. Tom Brady was 19-for-36 for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

On the other side of the ball, Patrick Mahomes was 26-for-40 for 283 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

7:38 p.m.: Breeland knocks the ball away from Edelman on fourth down, and that should do it. The final is 23-16, Chiefs. The 21-game winning streak is over.

7:33 p.m.: Brady picks up the first down, rumbling on that fourth-down play. Two minutes to go, and New England is within sight of tying the ballgame.

7:28 p.m.: They’ve had some better statistical performances, but the truth of the matter is this has been a great second-half effort for this dfefense. Another forced punt for Kansas City. Terrific effort.

7:24 p.m.: The Patriots had a nice sequence to start that drive, but couldn’t pick up that third-down opportunity. The Chiefs will get the ball back here with 7:22 remaining — the New England defense will have to put together another stand here if the Pats want to have a shot at a comeback.

7:14 p.m.: Terrific pursuit there by Van Noy, who didn’t get the sack but fought through that Mahomes facemask. Big play there to force the Kansas City punt. Trying to remember a comparabe game like this one over the years — the 2014 divisional playoff game against the Ravens? What a game this has turned out to be. Regardless, the Pats get the ball back with 10:17 to go and a chance to tie this one up.

7:08 p.m.: A wild sequence there for the Patriots, who lost out on what would have been touchdowns on two different plays. New England settles for a field goal to make it 23-16 with 11:42 left in regulation, but the Pats certainly have a beef with the way that last sequence was officiated. Jerome Boger and his crew have had major issues today.

7:01 p.m.: Momentum is swinging hard in New England’s direction here. Patriots’ offense has to respond.

6:56 p.m.:

6:40 p.m.: Good sequence there for the Patriots — is that the special teams spark they need? Nate Ebner with the blocked punt, and Brandon Bolden delivers the touchdown. The two-pointer was off the mark, but it’s 23-13 with 4:23 to go in the third quarter. The offense needs to put together at least one more drive, but for New England to cut it to 10 late in the third is as good a place to start as any at thias point on the afternoon.

6:34 p.m.: Our buddy Mike DeVito — a former Kansas City defensive lineman and the best player to ever come out of Nauset High on Cape Cod — told us Chris Jones was due for a big one today, and he was spot on. It’s still 23-7 with 7:09 to go in the third quarter.

6:25 p.m.: Not a bad drive there for Kansas City to open the third quarter, one that ends with the 41-yard field goal from Butker. It’s 23-7 with 8:46 left in the third. Down 16 leaves you with no margin for error at this point — the Pats have to answer here.

For what it’s worth, I agree with Ben’s viewpoint here as it relates to the defense.

6:18 p.m.: This streak is in serious danger here in the second half.

6:01 p.m.: That’s the half. It’s 20-7, Kansas City, and Gillette Stadium is filled with boos.

5:59 p.m.: Butker delivers a 31-yarder with 59 seconds left and it’s 20-7, Kansas City. That feels like a small win for the New England defense. (With an emephasis on “small.”) Let’s see if the Patriots can respond here before halftime — New England needs to enter the half on an up note.

5:55 p.m.: The guess here is Mahomes’ hand is OK. KC is driving for a touchdown here at the end of the first half that would make it (gulp) 24-7. And the Chiefs get the ball to start the second half.

5:46 p.m.: Not much going right for the Pats right now on either side of the ball. Maybe the best news? Halftime is coming up — they’ll need a few minutes to try and figure out how to recalibrate and get to where they need to be. (It’s 17-7 with 1:54 left in the second quarter.) With KC’s crazy-fast offense, this one could get away from them fairly quickly.

5:41 p.m.: New England will get the ball back here with 3:49 left in the first quarter. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a little trickeration on the part of the Pats to try and get a jolt before the half. New England really needs a boost going into halftime for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Kansas City will get the ball to start the second half. But really, the Patriots just can’t afford anything more than a 10-point deficit at this point on the afternoon.


5:30 p.m.: Patriots are now 2-for-5 on third down. That won’t get it done against the Chiefs. They’re going for it on fourth down. Feels like a big moment here … and New England can’t convert. Kansas City ball.

5:25 p.m.: Kelce with a four-yard TD run (off a Wildcat-style play) makes it 17-7 with 9:33 left in the second quarter. Pats have to display some urgency here against KC — you cannot let the Chiefs get into any sort of offensive rhythm, or this one is going to get away from New England awfully quickly.

5:13 p.m.: Mahomes-to-Hardman on a 48-yard strike makes it 10-7 with 13:04 left in the first half. Just a thunderbolt of a play gives Kansas City the lead. Terrific execution made possible by that great speed on the part of Kansas City. The Chiefs are committing some bad penalties, but they are making up for it on the other end with some big pickups in long-yardage situations.

5:06 p.m.: Patriots up 7-3 after one quarter. Brady is 6-for-9 for 75 yards and a touchdown.

5:01 p.m.: The margin for error in this sort of game is so narrow that when you get a blicked field-goal attempt like that one, you hope it doesn’t come back to haunt you. The Pats have had a pair of possessions against KC on their last two drives, and have come away with nothing to show for it. On that one, it’s a special teams issue there for New England — it’s still 7-3 New England with two minutes left in the first quarter.


4:50 p.m.: Butker delivers a 48-yarder to the lighthouse end of the stadium, and it’s 7-3 with 7:12 left in the first quarter. The Chiefs’ are looking at Mahomes’ right hand on the sideline — it looks like he banged it here in the early going. Worth keeping an eye on him going forward. He’s 4-for-9 for 55 yards with an interception so far this afternoon.

4:45 p.m.: Patriots defense playing more zone than man to start the game. A unique look — no team has played more man over the course of the first three months of the season. We’ll see how much things change as the game goes on, but it is interesting.

4:40 p.m.: Patriots can’t make anything off that turnover — they’re just barely out of field-goal range, and so it’s a field-position discussion, at least at this portion of the afternoon. We’ll see how it plays out on the next series. But even three would have been good there. It’s 7-0 with 10:58 left in the first quarter.

4:36 p.m.: That’s the sort of play that can give an offense a much-needed jolt.

4:33 p.m.: Two third-down flags keep the chains moving for the Patriots, and they cap the drive with a razzle-dazzle touchdown pass from Brady to Edelman, a 37-yarder, that gives New England a 7-0 lead with 12:34 left in the first quarter. On the two penalties — every time there’s DPI on a third-down deep ball, it’s worth recalling the work of David Patten. I felt like he did that better than anyone.

4:23 p.m.: Going to be interesting to see how the Pats try and slow down the Chiefs speed. One way I know they’ve done it in the past is, during practice, they’ll allow the scout team receivers to start 3-5 yards downfield as a way of simulating terrific team speed. Wouldn’t be shocked if that was the case again this week as they prepped for Hill and the rest.

4:15 p.m.: Coin flip — New England wins, 27-24. The Patriots end up running the ball effectively for really the first time all year against a playoff team.

3:51 p.m.: Heard a few folks talk this week about how this game is a tough one from a gambling perspective. The Patriots have stayed roughly three-point favorites all week long — I’d suspect a large part of that is due to the game being in Foxborough. Even with New England a favorite, this is a tough one to bet, given the state of the New England offense. One thing to keep in mind here is that the Kansas City run defense is one of the worst in the league, which means a quick start by the Patriots could open up chances in the running game in the second half. (And maybe this is the week Sony Michel and New England get some traction on the ground — provided the Patriots stick with it, as opposed to what they did last week against the Texans.) Anyway, this is a roundabout way of saying that a lot of this game is going to be dictated by what happens in the early going — which team can establish their ideal tempo on the contest. But I’d still stay away from this one, at least from a better perspective.

3:45 p.m.:

3:35 p.m.: A few odds and ends — Jerome Boger will serve as the referee for today’s game. This will be the first New England game of the year for the veteran official. Check out his page on Pro Football Reference for more on his work as an official. … Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be on the call this week for CBS. It’ll be their third New England game of the year — the Patriots are 2-0 when they’ve been in the booth this season. Since the start of the 2017 season (including playoffs), New England is 15-2 with them at the mic.

3:30 p.m.: When it comes to weather, it should be ideal conditions for December football: partly cloudy with highs in the low 30s throughout the afternoon, with no chance of precipitation. I don’t think this necessarily favors either team, but you would think that the chances of something funky happening would lessen considerably without any rain or snow.

Except, of course, when it comes to the wind and field-goal attempts.

3:15 p.m.: Oh, and it looks like the Chiefs’ equipment has arrived.

3:00 p.m.: The following players are inactive this afternoon for the Patriots: Cody Kessler, Damien Harris, Korey Cunningham, Joejuan Williams, Ryan Izzo, Ted Karras, and Byron Cowart.

No big shock when it comes to the list. Cowart and Karras were downgraded to out on Friday, so those aren’t a surprise. (I’d look for James Ferentz to go wire-to-wire in Karras’ spot.) Kessler, Harris, Williams and Cunningham have been healthy scratches for most of the season. (The return of Jason McCourty likely played a role in Williams returning to the sideline.) And while Izzo is technically a healthy scratch — he wasn’t on the injury list this week — he’s been up-and-down all year when it comes to health.

2:58 p.m.: Pre-game reading list