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.