The New England Patriots are headed to their third straight Super Bowl, once more thanks to Tom Brady’s brilliance.
The five-time NFL champion guided the Patriots 75 yards after winning the overtime coin toss, and backup Rex Burkhead’s two-yard touchdown lifted New England past Kansas City 37-31 for the AFC championship on Sunday night.
The drive against an exhausted defence was reminiscent of when the Patriots beat Atlanta in the only Super Bowl to go to overtime, two years ago.
New England Patriots have reached the Superbowl yet again after a thrilling overtime victory over Kansas City Chiefs
The Patriots are headed to their third straight Super Bowl, once more thanks to quarterback Tom Brady’s brilliance
The five-time NFL champion guided the Patriots 75 yards after winning the overtime coin toss to win a thrilling game
Rex Burkhead’s two-yard touchdown lifted New England past Kansas City 37-31 for the AFC championship on Sunday
The drive against an exhausted defence was reminiscent of when the Patriots beat Atlanta in the Super Bowl two years ago
‘Overtime, on the road against a great team,’ Brady said. ‘They had no quit. Neither did we. We played our best football at the end. I don’t know, man, I’m tired. That was a hell of a game.’
New England benefited from two critical replay reviews before making their ninth Super Bowl with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach.
Awaiting them in Atlanta are the Los Angeles Rams, who won 26-23 in overtime in New Orleans for the NFC championship. The Rams last made the Super Bowl in 2002 while based in St. Louis, losing to the Patriots.
It’s the first time both conference title games went to over time. The last time both visitors won conference championship matches was 2012.
Several times, the Patriots appeared to have it won, only to see Kansas City come back in spectacular fashion. Brady, already the oldest quarterback to have played in a Super Bowl, drove New England 65 yards in 1:24 to Burkhead’s four-yard touchdown with 39 seconds left in regulation time.
Harrison Butker’s 39-yard field goal with eight seconds left forced overtime for Kansas City, but they were eventually beaten
That was enough, though, for his far younger counterpart, the 23-year-old Patrick Mahomes, to take the Chiefs 48 yards to Harrison Butker’s 39-yard field goal with eight seconds left to force overtime.
It was a sizzling offensive showing in the fourth quarter after defence had been in charge most of the way. Indeed, the Chiefs were blanked in the opening half for the first time all season, and they never saw the ball in overtime, which along with the two replay decisions might call into play NFL rules and officiating.
No matter to New England, the third franchise to reach three Super Bowls in a row. Belichick now has 30 postseason victories, more than Bill Walsh and Don Shula combined. That Hall of Fame coaching duo also won five Super Bowls; Belichick goes for No 6 in two weeks.
An apparent muff by the usually reliable Julian Edelman on a fourth-quarter punt return was overturned by a lengthy video review, prompting raucous booing and some demonstrative arguing from the usually laid-back Andy Reid.
New England have now made their ninth Super Bowl with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach
Edelman definitely touched his next try when Brady’s pass deflected off his hands directly to safety Daniel Sorensen. His 22-yard return set up Kansas City at the Patriots 23, and Damien Williams, who scored three times, had no defender near him down the left sideline for the score that made it 21-17, Kansas’ first lead.
Back came Brady, engineering a 75-yard march on which Chris Hogan’s diving one-handed catch on third down appeared to touch the ground. Reid challenged – and lost. Minutes later, rookie Sony Michel scored from the 10, his second touchdown of the night.
With three minutes remaining, there was plenty of time for more points. Williams’ two-yard run gave the Chiefs a 28-24 edge that New England took up most of the remaining time overcoming before Butker’s field goal sent it to overtime.