KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- For the New England Patriots, Sunday night was business as usual. Another AFC Championship Game, another win.
In their eighth consecutive conference championship, the Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31, clinching a third consecutive Super Bowl bid in the process.
The defining moment was an offsides penalty by linebacker Dee Ford that had no direct effect on the play, but would offset a game-winning interception by Kansas City.
But at the end of the day it’s what prevents the Chiefs from playing in their first Super Bowl since 1970. Of course one offsides penalty is not solely to blame in the loss, as the result of the game was largely the result of great coaching on the side of New England.
There was a lot of speculation this week on how loud Arrowhead Stadium would be throughout the game. During the first half, it was nearly silent. However it wasn’t the work of the cold, but instead the work of Bill Belichick
Belichick executed his defensive game plan perfectly, using press coverage to contain Hill and Watkins, pulling defenders around the end to pressure Mahomes and all but eliminating the Chiefs’ ground game.
As a result, New England allowed just 32 yards of total offense and handed the Chiefs their first first-half shutout of the 2018 season.
Down 14-0 at halftime, the atmosphere in Arrowhead read like it was 30-0. It appeared that the Chiefs were bound to fall apart in the playoffs yet again. Groans and loud curses could be heard floating from the 300-level seats into the press box.
Then, there was hope. It was a four play, 74-yard drive to begin the second half that got the Chiefs offense firing and cut the deficit to seven.
As the game wore on, Patrick Mahomes began to find a rhythm. Behind 17-7, Kansas City would score on another passing touchdown early in the fourth, bringing the Chiefs back within one score for the first time since the first quarter.
Then, for the second week in a row, it was the Chiefs defense that swooped in to save the day. This time, Daniel Sorensen wore the cape.
It started with a fourth down stop with nine minutes left. Sorensen busted through the A gap and picked up running back Rex Burkhead by the hip, throwing him short of the first down marker and forcing a turnover on downs. Arrowhead erupted.
Following a three-and-out drive by the Kansas City offense, New England took over on the 28-yard line just a score away from booking a trip to Atlanta. Sorensen intercepted a pass by Brady, once again making it the Chiefs’ game to lose.
In a moment of true poetic justice, the Chiefs struck back with the very play that picked apart their defense in the first half. Mahomes rolled left out of the pocket, leaving Damien Williams all alone on the left side of the field. Pass, catch and score. Chiefs lead 21-17 with just under eight minutes remaining.
From there, it was a back-and-forth battle of the offenses.
The Patriots had a fourth-and-one stand on the Chiefs 10-yard line. It was no problem for Sony Michel, who danced into the endzone nearly untouched. Damien Williams then returned the favor, bouncing through the line to score on a 2-yard run and put the Chiefs back in front, 28-24 with two minutes to play.
But if there's one thing you can't give Tom Brady, it's the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. New England needed just six plays and 1:24 to reclaim a three-point lead and suck the life out of Arrowhead.
It was a scramble to get into field goal range. Mahomes would complete two deep passes to get the Chiefs to the opposing 21-yard line. It set up a 39-yard field goal for Harrison Butker, who had only missed only one field goal from within 40 yards all year.
That missed field goal came on a 37-yard attempt against the Ravens in week 14. It was exactly two yards in front of the current spot, also to win the game. Once again, the fate of the Chiefs’ season rested in the right foot of number seven.
Butker sent this one high through the uprights. Overtime.
As teams huddled for the overtime coin toss, Patriots receiver Matthew Slater sent a raucous “WE WANT THE BALL.” into the referee’s microphone and watched as the announcement bounced through the stands. The Patriots won the toss and never looked back.
Brady and the New England offense dissected the Chiefs defense with surgical precision, completing three passes of 10 or more yards and using just eight minutes before punching the ball into the endzone.
It was heartbreak once again for the Kansas City faithful, albeit a bittersweet one for once.
Tune into KCTV5 News at Ten for full highlights and interviews from Sunday's game.