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The New England Patriots coasted to a victory Monday night over the Kansas City Chiefs, who were without their starting quarterback Matt Cassel, by a score of 34-3. After a slow offensive start Tom Brady and Co. were able to pick things up. Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the Patriots got another score from Julian Edelman who returned a punt 72 yards for the score.
With the win the Patriots, who now sit at 7-3, increased their lead in the AFC East to two games, but by beating Kansas City who’s in the hunt for the wild card helped their division rivals the New York Jets.
No one was expecting much from the Chiefs who started quarterback Tyler Palko in place of the injured Cassel. He threw three interceptions, two which were picked off by Kyle Arrington, and the Chiefs only managed one scoring drive, a field goal that gave them the lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
“Three interceptions is inexcusable,” Palko said. “The game is hard enough as it is without making mistakes.” Palko finished 25 of 38 for 236 yards and three interceptions. The Patriots got off to a slow start punting on three of their first four possessions and the other ending in a fumble by Brady. On the next series Brady was sacked twice.
“Obviously, the first half we didn’t do anything,” Brady said. “I don’t think it could have gotten much worse.” After that the Patriots were lights out scoring on their next three drives. Brady found Gronkowski for a 52 yard touchdown in which Gronkowski ran for the last 35 yards and tiptoed the line barely remaining inbounds.
The Chiefs gave it right back when Arrington got his first of two picks to set up a field goal to make it 10-3 Patriots. “We were still fighting and we knew it was a close game going into halftime,” Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis said. “They got a big play and a big score (Gronkowski’s second touchdown) in the second half and that started their rally.”
The Patriots drove 85 yards on plays to start the third quarter capping on a 19 yard pass to Gronkowski for his second score. Brady finished 15 of 27 for 234 yards and two scores. A minute after that Edelman got his chance and returned a punt for only the second time in his career to put the Patriots up 24-3 with just under nine and a half minutes left in the third.
Arrington got his second pick of the day on the next possession setting up another field goal by Stephen Gostowski to make it 27-3. “We did too many things that get you beat in this league too many times,” Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali said. The Patriots got their final score in garbage time when rookie Shane Vereen scored his first NFL touchdown on a 4 yard score with a minute left.
The Patriots look to continue their quest for the number one seed in the AFC when they travel to Philadelphia to square off with the Eagles. The Chiefs will try to stay in the hunt for the AFC West and the wild card, but without Cassel it will be hard. They head home to face Pittsburgh, but after that travel to Chicago and to New York before heading back home to face the Packers.
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