For two consecutive weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs had been trying to begin a season-closing winning steak that would keep them in the running for the AFC’s top playoff seed. Instead, the Chiefs collected a 27-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers and a 20-17 defeat by the Buffalo Bills. But on Sunday, the Chiefs kept the dream alive with a 27-17 road victory over the New England Patriots, giving them a 9-5 record for the 2023 season.
After Kansas City forced a three-and-out on the opening drive, each team ran a drive of almost 50 yards that was stalled by a penalty — and ended with a missed field goal. Then a beautifully executed 48-yard screen pass to running back Clyde- Edwards-Helaire was the centerpiece of a four-play drive that ended with running back Jerick McKinnon taking a direct snap and finding wideout Rashee Rice for a 4-yard touchdown pass, giving the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.
The Kansas City defense forced another three-and-out, getting the ball on the 27-yard line as the second quarter began. This time, the Patriots forced a three-and-out — and Tommy Townsend’s poor punt gave them the ball at their own 39-yard line. Recovering from a 7-yard sack by Drue Tranquill, New England drove down the field, scoring on a 16-yard, fourth-and-2 pass to Hunter Henry that tied the game at 7-7 with 7:14 left in the first half.
On the first play of the next possession, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was intercepted when Marte Mapu stepped in front of Blake Bell to take the ball out of his hands, returning it to Kansas City’s 8-yard line. The Chiefs’ defense held, forcing a field goal that gave New England a 10-7 lead. Getting the ball with 4:47 left, Kansas City drove down the field, overcoming a penalty (and two third-and-longs) before Mahomes found Jerick McKinnon for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left. The Chiefs took their 14-10 lead to halftime.
Kansas City started the third quarter with some strokes of luck. On the first play of the opening drive, Rice managed to cover his fumble after a 13-yard gain. Then Skyy Moore lost a fumble after another 13-yard gain — but it was wiped out by a defensive holding penalty on the Patriots. The drive ended with a 29-yard Harrison Butkers field goal that gave Kansas City a 17-10 lead.
On the first play of New England’s next possession, Willie Gay Jr. intercepted Bailey Zappe’s pass, returning it to the Patriots’ 7-yard line. One play later, Mahomes hit Edwards-Helaire with a 6-yard touchdown pass that extended the Chiefs lead to 24-10. Kansas City ended a 5-play New England drive with a batted pass and a Jaylen Watson sack on successive plays — and then the Chiefs got close enough for a 54-yard field goal that made the score 27-10 with 3:40 left in the third quarter. The two teams traded three-and-outs as the third quarter came to an end.
Kansas City forced another three-and-out to open the fourth — and then had to punt when its own five-play dive ended with Mahomes being sacked for a 10-yard loss. After another three-and-out, Kadarius Toney bobbled a Mahomes’ first pass of the next drive into the hands of Jahlani Tavai, who returned the interception to Kansas City’s 29-yard line. After one more play, running back Kevin Harris broke free for a 18-yard touchdown run that narrowed Kansas City’s lead to 27-17 with 8:24 left in the game.
The Chiefs managed to get four minutes off the clock before the Patriots forced a punt that Kansas City downed inside New England’s 1-yard line. New England gave up the ball on downs — and the Chiefs kneeled out their 27-17 victory.