New England Patriots reached an 11th Super Bowl, the ninth of the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era, as they edged out the Kansas City Chiefs 37-31 in overtime after a thrilling AFC Championship game on Sunday night at a cold and snowy Arrowhead Stadium.
The game started off slowly with the Patriots controlling possession and quite comfortably going into half time with a 14-0 lead.
However, the Chiefs’ No 1 offence finally sparked into life in the second half with quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing touchdown passes to Travis Kelce and Damien Williams to reduce the Patriots lead to 17-14 at the start of the final quarter.
Amazingly 38 points were scored in the fourth quarter as the Chiefs first took a 28-24 lead and left the Patriots holding on. Rookie running back Sony Michel played a key role for the Patriots down the stretch with Brady leading another magical, fourth-quarter drive, getting the ball at his own 35-yard line with 1:57 left and trailing 28-24. Rex Burkhead finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown.
Michel’s fourth-quarter touchdown was his fifth of the postseason, the most by any rookie in NFL postseason history.
Mahomes was left with just 32 seconds on the clock to figure out another comeback. The quarterback drove the Chiefs into field-goal range, and Harrison Butker sent the game into overtime with a 39-yard field goal with 11 seconds left.
Sunday featured the first in the Super Bowl era that both the AFC and NFC Championship games have gone into overtime.
The Patriots started the extra period with the ball and 41-year-old Tom Brady, who will look to win a record sixth Super Bowl in Atlanta, took the Patriots down the field to set up the winning score with the sole possession of overtime. Rex Burkhead ran in from two yards to send the Patriots to a fourth Super Bowl in five years, facing the LA Rams on Sunday 3rd February.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” said five-time champion Brady, who lost to the Eagles in last year’s epic Super Bowl.
“Kansas are explosive and they have been beating teams here all year. It was awesome, what a game.”
New England’s ninth Super Bowl under head coach Bill Belichick will see them face a Rams team who they beat to win their first Super Bowl title back in 2002. Can they repeat the past and add a new chapter to their legacy?
And as for the Chiefs? This loss will hurt a lot. But with this year’s championship run they’ve found a superstar quarterback in the making in Mahomes. They will no doubt be back fighting for a place in the Superbowl in years to come.