The Patriots 27-20 AFC divisional round playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs was a tale of predictable outcomes.
For the fifth consecutive year, the New England Patriots have advanced to the AFC Championship Game, tying the Oakland Raiders (1973-77) for the longest run of consecutive conference title game appearances. Once again, KC had a solid team, but lacked the gangster to really live the impossible dream.
Josh McDaniels gave Tom Brady the green light and he inflicted surgery by dissection on the Chiefs’ defense. New England didn’t call a run play until its 15th snap during its second possession. Even with a janky ankle he sprained two weeks ago in the regular-season finale, Brady completed 27 of 41 passes (65.9 percent) for 290 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions.
So much for that ailing ankle that KC was going to exploit.
Brady continues to build his legacy and will start his 10th AFC Championship Game, by far the most conference championships for any quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
He and the Pats can now lay in the cut and wait for the winner of the Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game today, featuring a battle of two oft-ailing future Hall of Fame QBs. The divisional fisticuffs between Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning will be like a battle between Rakim and Jadakiss.
However, as the Patriots continue to win, the narrative switches to Brady and his quest for five Super Bowls which would put him on a totally exclusive and godly football level as he becomes the winningest Super Bowl QB in history. Another Lombardi would break a three-way tie between Brady, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw (4 Super Bowls).
The combination of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and QB Alex Smith was exactly who they’ve always been; Good enough to keep the Chiefs in the game, but not nearly elite or brave enough to take the risks that championship teams take to produce game-changing plays. And do we even need to mention the clock management issues for Reid towards the end of the game? Just add it to the list of reasons why Brady and the Pats are moving on.
KC’s defense seemed to tick Brady off early with some aggressive play and borderline late hits and we all know that dude is like the Hulk. Brady told them, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
With Gronk and Julian Edleman healthy and back in the swing of things, Brady was injected with a dose of “to the crib.” It makes you wonder if any of the remaining AFC teams can give the Pats a serious run at representing the conference in the Super Bowl. As the playoff puzzle begins to formulate, a repeat Super Bowl is starting to look like a real possibility for the defending champs.