Game Rewind: It wasn’t pretty at times but Tom Brady and the Patriots survived beating the Chiefs 27-20 to advance to their fifth straight AFC Chanpionship game. It will be their tenth conference championship appearance in the last sixteen years for the Patriots. WOW! That’s insane. Here are my five thoughts on last night’s game.
1. Brady Was Great: Is it really a surprise? It’s the playoffs! This is the time of year when Brady is at his best. He finished 28 of 42 for 302 yards and two touchdown passes. Of course it helps that Julian Edelman was back but Brady had that look in eyes yesterday. He wasn’t going to be denied. By the way, he won his 22nd playoff game yesterday.
2. Edelman Makes a Difference: All you need to know is that the Patriots are now 10-0 with Julian Edelman in the line up this season. 3-4 without him. Edelman made a huge difference last night. Brady got the ball quicker and the offensive line didn’t give up a sack. Both of those tidbits are a direct result of Edelman being in the line up. He finished with 10 catches for 100 yards on 16 targets. The Patriots are clearly a different team with him in the line up.
3. Offensive Line Finally Plays Well: The offensive line played really well in this game. As I mentioned earlier, Brady wasn’t sacked once. Clearly, the Patriots game plan was to throw the ball and they did. They were able to make big plays in the passing game thanks to the performance of the offensive line.
4. Where’s the Ground Game: Obviously the Patriots came into this game looking to throw the ball but one has to wonder if they have lost faith in their ground game? They only ran the football 14 times for 38 yards. That’s pathetic! They will need to run the ball much better next week against the Broncos if they want to win that game and get back to the Super Bowl.
5. Defense Continues to Struggle on 3rd Down: The Patriots just can’t get off the field on 3rd down. They struggled once again yesterday. Kansas City was 60% on third down for the game. That’s awful! The Patriots will need to be much better defensively next week. They didn’t play well in this game. Kansas City had five drives that went for 51 yards or more in this game. Not good.