KANSAS CITY -- Does the Patriots defensive game plan against the Chiefs still rank as brilliant even after Kansas City hung 31 points on them in one half?

Im going with yes. The plan, which featured man-to-man, liberal pressure, double-teaming of Tyreek Hill and corners assigned to Travis Kelce, held the Chiefs back long enough for the Patriots to get the drop on them in the first 30 minutes. 

As with Bill Belichick’s game plans from the 1990 and 2001 Super Bowls, there came a point where the defense was solved and the gig was up. But the time bought by forcing a high-flying offense to crack the code was the difference. 

“They challenged us,” said Patrick Mahones. “They came up and played man. Not a lot of teams have this year. They put people in our face to see how we responded. The first half, we struggled. We couldn’t make anything happen. The second half, I feel like our guys took the challenge and they (Patriots) were doing the same things and we were just winning. You have to find ways to win one-on-one matchups and we found ways in the second half.”

Hill, who had (check stats) 12 catches for 266 yards and four touchdowns against the Patriots in two games was held to one 42-yard catch. 

“They doubled him on like 95 percent of the plays,” said Mahomes. “He made the one play with the deep one. Guys have to step up and I thought guys did. We put points on the board, we found ways to move the ball whenever we needed to. That just comes with how we played all season. Whoever gets their opportunity, they’re out there making plays.”


Because of the Chiefs second-half explosion, this game won’t hang in Belichick’s coaching Louvre, but it was a masterpiece in its own right.

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