Originally created 11/23/04

Big plays give Patriots win over Chiefs



KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A half dozen New England Patriots made big plays. None made as many as Tom Brady.

Brady threw for 315 yards, including a touchdown pass to Deion Branch, and the Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-19 on Monday night for their 24th win in 25 games.

The victory was New England's third straight after its NFL-record 21-game winning streak was snapped in Pittsburgh last month.

Typically, the Patriots (9-1) didn't seem satisfied as they pursue their third NFL title in four seasons.

"We're still trying to improve," Brady said. "We left some points out on the field tonight. I think everyone's just glad we won this game."

One way they did it was by shutting down a Kansas City running game missing Priest Holmes, out with a knee injury.

But Trent Green also took advantage of injuries in the New England secondary, throwing for 381 yards, including TD passes of 65 and 26 yards to Eddie Kennison. The Patriots played without starting cornerbacks Ty Law and Tyrone Poole.

The second score to Kennison came after Corey Dillon, who had two short touchdown runs, fumbled at the Kansas City 3 as the Patriots seemed set to take a 31-13 lead. Instead, Green drove the Chiefs the length of the field to cut their deficit to 24-19 with 6:13 left - a 2-point conversion attempt failed.

The Chiefs, however, couldn't stop the Patriots, who used up nearly 4½ minutes on a drive that ended with Adam Vinatieri's 28-yard field goal. That almost guaranteed that the Chiefs (3-7) will miss the playoffs after going 13-3 last season.

"They're an excellent team. They showed why they are champions," Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said. "All I can tell our players is 'shake their hands, say good job and move on.' "

Dillon, who carried 26 times for 98 yards, had two runs for one first down to start that last drive. Then Brady, who completed 17-of-26 passes, hit Christian Fauria for 14 yards and Branch for 9 yards more. Branch finished with six catches for 105 yards.

He was one of many Patriots to make big plays.

Rodney Harrison stopped a Kansas City threat with an end zone interception in the last minute of the first half; Tedy Bruschi forced a field goal by stuffing Derrick Blaylock on a third-and-1 after a long Chiefs drive in the third quarter; tight end Daniel Graham had two big catches; and David Patten's only reception was a 46-yarder that set up a touchdown.

This game was strictly football, unlike last Monday night's game between Philadelphia and Dallas, which began with an introduction on ABC featuring actress Nicollette Sheridan and Terrell Owens that caused a furor. This week, the opening featured Brady and Green among others saying, in effect, "let's play football."

Dillon's touchdown runs of 5- and 1-yard and Vinatieri's 37-yard field goal gave the Patriots a 17-10 halftime lead. It was preserved by Harrison's interception in the end zone.

Dillon's 5-yard score came at the end of a 71-yard, 10 play drive on the opening series of the game. It featured a 27-yard third-down pass to Daniel Graham on a short flip by Brady over a blitzing linebacker.

A 44-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes cut the lead to 7-3, then Green found Kennison behind career Earthwind Moreland for a 65-yard touchdown.

Dillon's second score came at the end of a 75-yard yard drive that featured passes of 22 yards to Troy Brown and 14 to Branch.

Tynes' 24-yard field goal on the first drive of the third quarter cut it to 17-13 after Bruschi stopped Blaylock on third down.

But it took less than two minutes for the Patriots to score on Brady's 26-yard TD, a short dump over the middle that Branch took to the end zone by weaving through the Chiefs secondary. It came a play after Patten's 46-yard catch.