For the fifth consecutive year, the New England Patriots are in the AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship with a 27-20 victory over the Chiefs. It was a game in which the Patriots’ game plan was simple: They trusted Tom Brady to pick apart the Chiefs’ defense, and Brady delivered.
Brady will start his 10th AFC Championship Game, by far the most conference championships for any quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
For the Chiefs, an 11-game winning streak has come to an end. Although Kansas City did an excellent job turning its season around after a 1-5 start and looked great last week in Houston, the Chiefs never faced a team nearly as good as the Patriots over the course of that streak. Against New England, Kansas City was overmatched.
Although the Chiefs had a chance late in the game, they wasted a huge amount of time, taking 5 minutes, 16 seconds off the clock on a long touchdown drive that brought the score to 27-20 with 1:13 left. Chiefs coach Andy Reid has often been criticized for clock management throughout his coaching career, but this might have been his worst clock management game to date. The subsequent onside kick went right into Rob Gronkowski’s hands. On the subsequent Patriots drive, a Brady pass was tipped, but Julian Edelman caught it for the game-sealing first down.
Now the Patriots will watch tomorrow’s game to find out if they’re heading to Denver for the AFC Championship Game, or if they’ll be at home against the Steelers. Against either opponent, the defending champions have to feel confident, after another impressive performance today.