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Final score: Chiefs use third-quarter run to secure 27-17 win over Patriots

A competitive game was decided by Kansas City’s strong second-half start in Foxborough.

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

For the third consecutive week, the Kansas City Chiefs had one overriding goal: to begin a season-ending winning streak that would give the team a chance to get the AFC’s No. 1 postseason seed. That streak has finally begun with a 27-17 win over the New England Patriots, giving the team a 9-5 record with three weeks remaining in the 2023 season.


First quarter


The Chiefs won the opening coin toss, deferring decision of possession to the second half. That gave New England the ball to begin the game.

The Patriots started at their own 13-yard line after a holding penalty on an explosive kickoff return by former first-round pick Jalen Reagor. A tackle for loss on first down by safety Justin Reid and linebacker Nick Bolton set up third down, where an incomplete pass over the middle capped off the three and out.

Tight end Noah Gray found space downfield on the Chiefs’ first snap, gaining 32 yards to the Patriots’ 30-yard line. From there, the offense was set back by an offensive pass interference call on wide receiver Rashee Rice. That negated a big play to wide receiver Kadarius Toney; a few snaps later, Harrison Butker missed his first field goal of the season.

New England’s offense got going on the second drive, making two downfield completions that gained 16 and 20 yards, advancing inside the red zone. However, a face-mask penalty on the offense was topped with a sack by defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. The Patriots were forced to settle for a field goal attempt, and the kick went left of the uprights.

The Chiefs’ offense pounced at the second opportunity to score: a well-designed screen pass opened the drive and had running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire running into open grass for 48 yards. That was followed up by two quick catches by Rashee Rice, the latter a shovel pass that ended in the end zone. Quickly, Kansas City had a 7-0 lead.

The defense of the Chiefs made quick work of the Patriots’ offense on the ensuing drive; a quick third and one was stopped when linebacker Leo Chenal blitzed off the edge and batted down the pass attempt. New England went on to punt, ending the first quarter.


Second quarter


Kansas City opened the second period with a negative possession: a one-yard run on first down was followed up by a sack, then a blown up screen, leading to the team’s first punt of the game.

The Patriots took possession and were immediately set back by a sack from linebacker Drue Tranquill. However, Justin Reid was called for defensive holding while allowing a third-down completion, the first of many passes to tight end Hunter Henry on the drive.

Henry paced them down the field, capping it off with a touchdown reception from 16 yards out on fourth down. It tied the score ay 7-7.

The Chiefs immediately gave it back to New England, when a Mahomes pass was intercepted, ripped out of the hands of tight end Blake Bell. That was returned deep into Chiefs’ territory, setting up a goal to go situation.

Kansas City defense held to third and goal, then used a holding call to further extend the attempt at a goal-line stop. The screen pass on third down was stopped, leading to a field goal; New England took the 10-7 lead with five minutes to go in the first half.

The frustration of the Chiefs’ offense continued after a quick third down was pushed even further after a false start on right tackle Jawaan Taylor. However, Mahomes overcame it with a deep completion to wide receiver Justin Watson for a 31-yard gain past midfield. Kansas City quickly worked right back into third and long, but it was overcome once again with a downfield catch by Rice; it set up the Chiefs just outside of the red zone at the two-minute warning.

Advancing inside the 20-yard line, Kansas City faced third down and a timeout from New England. A handoff to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire pushed past the marker and worked the Chiefs inside the 10-yard line. Then, Jerick McKinnon finished the drive with a quick pass to the flat, crossing the pylon and giving his team a 14-10 lead with 30 seconds to go in the half.

The Patriots let the fist-half clock run out after gaining possession, leading into the break with the 14-10 score intact.


Third quarter


The Chiefs’ offense started off with a quick completion to Rice, who gained 24 yards on the catch and run. Moving past midfield, it looked like disaster struck again when wide receiver Skyy Moore fumbled when turning upfield after the catch, but a defensive holding call negated the play. It gave the Chiefs life, and led to a completion to Rice that further moved the chains.

A 17-yard gain by wide receiver Richie James set up the Chiefs in the red zone, and nearly set up a touchdown — but the end-zone target to tight end Travis Kelce went off his hands. Two plays later, another throw to Kelce fell to the turf, and the Chiefs settled for another field goal, pushing the lead to 17-10.

One play into New England’s drive, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. jumped a pass and intercepted it. That gave the Chiefs great field position, and the offense took advantage when a jump pass to Edwards-Helaire was secured in the back of the end zone. The highlight play gave the Chiefs a 24-10 lead, still early in the third quarter.

The Chiefs’ defense rose up to get a quick stop on the ensuing drive, highlighted by a big run stop by Nnadi and defensive lineman Chris Jones. That set up cornerback Jaylen Watson to finish a third-down blitz with a sack, forcing the Patriots to punt.

Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling started this drive with a 17-yard catch over the middle, then Edwards-Helaire gained 20 yards on a run. It looked like a promising drive, but the Chiefs eventually settled for a field goal — pushing the lead to 27-10 with a few minutes to go until the fourth quarter.

The offense would get another shot with the ball before the clock turned to the final period, because the Chiefs’ defense forced such a quick three and out. The ultimate play was a sack and fumble by defensive end Charles Omenihu; the ball was recovered by New England, and punted back to Kansas City.

The Chiefs went three and out, giving the ball right back to the Patriots; that led into the fourth quarter.


Fourth quarter


To start the final period, the Chiefs’ defense got a quick stop themselves; on a third-down pass, the ball was forced incomplete on contest. That led to a punt, but the Chiefs punted right back after not getting much going themselves on offense.

Relying on the Chiefs’ defense again, the unit stepped up — quickly forcing third and long and swarming to the pass short of the sticks. It gave the Kansas City offense the ball right back, but a juggling attempt at a catch by Kadarius Toney resulted in an interception.

The turnover gave Patriots possession at the Chiefs’ 29-yard line, and they quickly turned that into a touchdown. An 18-yard run up the middle narrowed Kansas City’s lead to 27-17.

The Chiefs took time trying to defend the 10-point lead on the ensuing drive, moving the chains twice and getting past midfield with the run game. However, the drive stalled, and the pass protection fell through to allow a sack. That forced a punt back to New England, one that was downed beautifully at the one-yard line by rookie cornerback Ekow Boye-Doe.

From the one-yard line, the Patriots couldn’t dig out of the hole. On third down with four yards to go, a quick pass was defended well — then was followed up by a near interception on fourth down. The Chiefs took over at the Patriots’ six-yard line, leading into the two-minute warning.

The team went into victory formation from there, leading to the Chiefs’ 27-17 victory.


Special Teams


Kicker Harrison Butker missed a 39-yard field goal to end the team’s opening drive. It was his first failed field goal of the season. He followed it up with two successful kicks: one from 29 yards, then another from 54 yards in the third quarter; both extended the Chiefs’ lead at the time.

Butker converted all three of his point-after attempts.

Punter Tommy Townsend had four punts throughout the game, the best being downed at the one-yard line in the fourth quarter by rookie cornerback Ekow Boye-Doe.

Punt returner Richie James gained 15 yards on one return, then 18 yards on another explosive play.

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