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Behind two touchdown receptions from tight end Ron Gronkowski, the New England Patriots earned a decisive 34-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs during Monday Night Football at Gillette Stadium. Gronkowski, who caught four passes for 96 yards, helped the Patriots improve to 7-3 overall and earn a two-game lead over the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills in the AFC East standings. New England is also a four-way tie for first place in the AFC -- the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texas are each 7-3.
If you're still feeling the high from Monday night's victory and want to relive it once again, well, you've come to the right place. Here are some highlights from the Patriots Week 11 victory over the Chiefs.
Lets begin with Gronkoski's 52-yard catch from quarterback Tom Brady, who finished with 234-passing yards.
((Patriots vs Chiefs 11/21/11 R. Gronowski 50 yd TD (via eriah13))
((PatriotsvsChiefs 11/21/11 Tyler Palko gets leveled&Picked off (via eriah13))
Finally, Gronkowski's second touchdown of the game, a 17-yarder, which showcased him catching a swing pass out of the backfield, throwing on the jets -- or whatever afterburners he has -- and then leaping into the endzone to help the Patriots take a 17-3 lead with about 10 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter.
Here's a full highlight reel of the victory:
((Monday Night Football : New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Cheifs 11-21-2011 (via MrSnowk))
A win is a win in the NFL. Right?
The Patriots improved to 7-3 to tie the Steelers, Ravens and Texans for first place in the AFC after their convincing 34-3 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs in Foxboro on Monday night. The good news for the Patriots is that they did what they should have done, and took advantage of a bad team that is without its starting quarterback. The bad news is that the game was rather unremarkable, for that same reason.
As has become the routine, the Pats got off to a slow start but hit their stride in the second half; scoring 17 points in the third quarter alone. While they were stinking it up early, Tyler Palko actually looked pretty decent. At the half, he was 10 of 14 for 111 yards and an interception. He may not have scored but he seem to be calm under pressure and getting the job done well enough; for a guy that has spent the majority of his career on the practice squad and doing stints in the CFL.
His luck began running out after Kyle Arrington grabbed his first interception of the game with just over four minutes left in the first half. As they do, the Patriots capitalized on their opportunity, getting three points from a Stephen Gostkowski 21 yard field goal. The prior Patriot possession had produced a touchdown on a 52 yard pass play from Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the score heading into the half was 10-3.
New England proceeded to start the second half with a 9 play, 84 yard drive that culminated in another Gronkowski touchdown, extending their lead to two possessions at 17-3. The following two Chiefs possessions were abysmal at best; the first going three and out and the second resulting in Arrington's second interception of the game. His two interceptions on the night made him the sole NFL leader with 7.
The rest of the game was a blowout in the Patriots' favor, as they finished the night with 380 total yards and 34 points. Even unknown defensive back Philip Adams contributed an interception in the end zone, collapsing yet another Chiefs attempt to score a touchdown that they would never get in this game.
Tom Brady finished the night with a quarterback rating of 109.2, going 15/27 for 234 yards and 2 touchdowns. The numbers were efficient but lower, due to the amount that the Patriots ran the ball; especially in the fourth quarter as they ran down the clock. Not only did BenJarvus Green-Ellis have a great night with 81 yards on 20 carries, but rookie Shane Vereen did some serious work on the ground as well. He nabbed 39 yards on 8 carries and the final Pats touchdown, as the home team finished with 159 total yards rushing.
Rob Gronkowski's night turned out to be another record breaking one, as his two touchdowns on the night put him at 20 total touchdowns in his 26-game career. He got to 20 touchdowns in five fewer games than any other tight end in the history of the NFL; Mike Ditka did it in 31 games.
After the game, Tom Brady was asked about what makes the young tight end so special.
"Well he is tough, he runs hard, obviously he's great with the ball after he catches it. He's a tough match up, he made some big plays when we needed it. He did the same thing last week and came through again for us this week."
Gronkowski was humble when he talked to Stuart Scott after the game. He said he doesn't pay too much attention to the hype about his numbers and that he tries to avoid getting wrapped up in that type of stuff. Unsurprisingly, he said his focus is now on the importance of preparing for a tough game against Philadelphia on Sunday.
After falling behind 0-3 in the first quarter, it's been all New England, with a 17-point third quarter seemingly putting this game firmly in the "win column" for the Patriots.
For the first time in what seems like forever, the Patriots took the ball to start the second half and came out with some fire. A quick pass to BenJarvus Green-Ellis was good for 25 yards, giving Tom Brady the 15th most passing yards all-time. While the next series of downs would produce a 3rd-and-8, Brady would find Hernandez for a first down before turning to the ground game to get into the red zone. Now facing a 3rd-and-2 inside the 20, the Patriots turned to a rare short toss to Rob Gronkowski. The tight end came through, blowing past a defender and once again finding his footing down the sideline for the first and more, as he flipped head-over-heels into the end zone for the touchdown.
Four plays later, and the Patriots found themselves right back for more. After a strong defensive series forced a 3-and-out, Julian Edelman did some quick dancing after the catch and caught the Chiefs' special teams unit on the wrong foot. A quick burst to the right, and Edelman found a hole, cruising past the last man and into the end zone for six more.
If that wasn't enough, Kyle Arrington's second interception led to three more points as BenJarvus Green-Ellis pushed piles all the way to the 1-yard line before the drive stalled out on a strong defensive play by the Chiefs that prevented a Danny Woodhead touchdown catch.
The Patriots are up 24-3 thanks to three touchdowns, each one of them coming with a good bit of flair.
Up first, Rob Gronkowski's big reception and the balancing act which allowed him to stay in bounds and tumble into the end zone for seven:
One touchdown was not enough for Gronkowski, however, and his second featured a repeat of the balancing act. This time, though, the finish was a lot more painful as Gronkowski was flipped upside down, falling on his head and neck before popping back up and spiking the ball:
As dangerous as that looked, Gronkowski was seen joking with trainers not long after, so it seems all is well there.
Finally comes Julian Edelman providing one of the most exciting plays in the NFL. Despite making some questionable decisions in the return game this year, Edelman shined this time, bringing Kansas City's punt back 72 yards for six points:
Unfortunately a dropped pass at the end of the third will keep New England from adding a fourth just yet, but there's still 15 minutes to go...
The Patriots will take a 10-3 lead into the half after bouncing back with a strong second quarter.
Things did not start off terribly well. With the very first play of the drive, Tom Brady was hit from behind trying to escape pressure, fumbling the ball away well into Kansas City territory. The turnover would not help Kansas City build their 3-0 lead, however, with a 9-yard sack at midfield stalling the drive after a 28-yard pass seemingly had the Chiefs rolling.
The Patriots would endure one more series of offensive futility, allowing two sacks and punting out of their own end zone before finally turning things around. An all-important 3-and-out left the Chiefs giving the ball back to the Patriots at the 15-yard line, giving Tom Brady a chance to find his groove.
As per usual, it was the tight ends that helped Brady settle down. After targeting Aaron Hernandez with the first two passes of the drive for 22 yards, a couple of runs from BenJarvus Green-Ellis set up a 2nd-and-7 from midfield. With the pocket collapsing around him, Brady stepped up and took advantage of a blown coverage, finding Rob Gronkowski wide open over the middle. With space to work in, Gronkowski took off towards pay dirt, barely keeping his balance inbounds as he thwarted the best attempts of the KC secondary to stop him from reaching the end zone.
The Chiefs went back to work, with Tyler Palko doing a surprising number on the Patriots' secondary as he brought Kansas City into New England territory once again. But the Patriots' defense managed to come up with a big play when they needed it once again, as Kyle Arrington plucked a tipped pass from his shoetops for the interception, bringing it just shy of midfield on the return.
While Danny Woodhead would provide some running success where BenJarvus Green-Ellis had not been able to, the Chiefs managed to pick up a big stop in the red zone as Woodhead had a pass knocked--or more accurately ripped away from him at the goal line by a diving defender. With fourth down coming up, New England took the three points and went into the half up by a touchdown.
Center Dan Connolly has left Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a groin injury in the second quarter. His return is questionable.
It’s not immediately clear what caused the injury, but it comes at an inopportune time for the Patriots. The Chiefs, who have had miserable results in pass rush before tonight have already picked up three sacks on the night, and seem to have plenty of penetration on just about every play. Ryan Wendell has since taken over at center.
WIth a 3-0 lead after a first-quarter field goal, Kansas City made one of the gutsiest calls you'll see this year: a surprise onside kick that, but for a last-second deflection off of a Kansas City leg just shy of the 10 yards necessary to make it legal, could have gone in their favor.
We have the video:
Close, but no cigar. It's not too unusual to see a team outclassed on paper go for a big play like this with the hopes that the big gamble will pay off. What's not quite as typical is to see the other team not take advantage when it doesn't. With the first play of the second quarter and fifth play of the drive, Tom Brady was flushed out of the pocket and hit from behind. The ball popped loose, and after a bit of pinballing, found its way under a Kansas City player for the turnover.
The New England Patriots trail the Kansas City Chiefs 3-0 after 15 minutes of football in Foxborough.
While many expected this game to be something of a mismatch, the Kansas City Chiefs have been more than holding their own despite starting Tyler Palko in place of an injured Matt Cassel. A strong ground game lead by Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster has kept the pressure off of Palko well enough that the backup quarterback has been able to take advantage of the Patriots' bottom-of-the-barrel secondary.
The first series for each team resulted in an exchange of 3-and-outs, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis dropping a pass and picking up only a meager pair of yards. The Chiefs were the first to move the ball on their second drive, but Jerod Mayo stuffed Jackie Battle on 3rd-and-1, and Kansas City elected not to go for it, taking a delay of game and pinning the Pats deep.
Despite picking up their first fresh set of downs on the ensuing drive, the Patriots were again forced to punt when Rob Gronkowski dropped a pass on 3rd-and-7. A big return on the punt would set the Chiefs up at midfield--they would take advantage of the short field. Unable to stop the run game, the Pats would allow the Chiefs to march all the way inside the 5-yard line, but would be saved by an ill-advised QB keeper and an illegal shift penalty, backing the Chiefs up and forcing a field goal.
Then came one of the gutsiest calls the season has seen so far. Taking just a quick step back after getting set, Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop made a quick surprise onside-kick which could well have worked had the ball not deflected off a Kansas City player's leg just shy of the 10 yards necessary to make the kick legal. The Patriots hadterrific field position to start the second quarter, but only a few minutes in, and Tom Brady's fumble has left them high-and-dry once again.
McCourty is one of the more important names for the Patriots as the secondary came into the game less than full strength. Due to an injury to Matt Cassel, the Chiefs will be using a new starter at quarterback in Tyler Palko which might mitigate the loss of McCourty. Palko has attempted only 13 passes in his NFL career. The Chiefs defense, which has only been average at best against the pass, will also be composed of less than a first selection group for tonight's game.
The Kansas City Chiefs have also released their inactives for the contest.
The New England Patriots' thin secondary just became a little more emaciated. Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty has been ruled out of Monday night's meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com.
The cornerback injured his shoulder last Sunday against the New York Jets. McCourty missed the first three practices of the week, but returned to the field Saturday as the Patriots continued preparation for Kansas City.
New England's banged-up secondary will be facing inexperienced Kansas City quarterback Tyler Palko. Palko, normally Matt Cassel's backup, will make the first start of his career due to a hand injury that could keep Cassel out the remainder of the season.
The Pittsburgh alum has appeared in four games during his NFL career, throwing just 13 attempts. Undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, Palko has spent most of his NFL career on practice squads and spent the 2009 season playing for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
The New England Patriots host Monday Night Football against a depleted Chiefs team.
Wes Welker is one of Tom Brady's favorite receiving targets. Welker has already caught 72 passes on the 2011 season for 1,006 yards and 6 touchdowns. With the Patriots playing against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, expect Welker, who is listed as probable on the Patriots' injury report, to have a solid day.
Numberfire.com projects Welker to have the following numbers this week:
6.64 rec for 87.74 yds, 0.61 TDs for 12.53 pts
Those numbers rank Welker as the 3rd best receiver option behind Calvin Johnson and Greg Jennings. The Chiefs will be using a new starter at quarterback in Tyler Palko who might not keep Kansas City's offense on the field for very long. That's good news for those of you who have Welker on your fantasy teams. The Chiefs pass defense has been having a hard time limiting big plays. They have given up 40 receptions of 20+ yards (tied for fourth worst in the NFL).
This hasn't been Tom Brady's best season as a starting quarterback, but it isn't nearly his worst either. For those of you holding Brady in your fantasy league, expect a big week from him against the Chiefs on Nov. 21. Kansas City will be starting Tyler Palko at QB. Palko has seen very little game action in his career and that inexperience should give the Patriots more time on offense.
Numberfire.com projects Brady to have the following numbers this week:
22.28/34.16, 253.56 yds, 1.98 TDs, 0.76 INTs for 17.41 pts
The Chiefs are in the middle of the pack in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, but one of the worst teams in average yards per pass and passing touchdowns given up. Brady enters the game having thrown for 300+ yards and at least 2 touchdowns in each of the past two weeks. He could likely do the same against Kansas City, especially if the Patriots go no-huddle.
The whole country will be watching on Monday Night Football to see if Tom Brady and the Patriots are the real deal, or just another story of inconsistency.
The Patriots are 15 point favorites against Tyler Palko and the Kansas City Cheifs. Palko will be making his first career NFL start, subbing for an injured Matt Cassel.
The Kansas City Chiefs will likely be without starting quarterback Matt Cassel when they visit the New England Patriots on Monday night.
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