By: Ian Logue
Some highlights and stats from the second quarter:
The second quarter started off ugly, with Tom Brady getting sacked on the first play of the quarter and losing the ball after getting hit from behind by Wallace Gilberry. The Chiefs recovered, and although they didn’t capitalize, it was a sign of things to come.
Julian Edelman made a big tackle during the second quarter. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
Brady was then sacked twice on their next drive, including a nine yard loss on 3rd down that backed them up to their own 6, which after the punt once again gave the Chiefs great field position at the Patriots 44 yard line. New England then caught a break after the Chiefs picked up 13-yards on a 3rd and 11 play, but it was called back thanks to a holding call after Julian Edelman was held on the play. Edelman then made a big tackle on the next play to force the Chiefs to punt.
On the next Patriots drive Ryan Wendell replaced Dan Connolly at center, who has struggled keeping Brady upright so far. The team later announced he was dealing with a groin injury. Meanwhile Deion Branch was also spotted on the sideline trying to stretch out, and seemed to be dealing with a hamstring issue.
The good news was the Patriots finally got going on that drive and ended up in the endzone thanks to a 52-yard touchdown grab by Rob Gronkowski. On the play Gronkowski came across the middle and caught the ball at about the Chiefs 35 yard line, and then took off up the field and managed to stay in bounds after getting hit at the 10 yard line and ran into the endzone for the score. He then spiked the ball in the back of the endzone, and the Patriots had a 7-3 lead with 4:18 left in the half.
The officials would review the play to see if he went out of bounds when he was hit on the sideline, but replays showed he stayed in and the call was upheld. It was Gronkowski’s 19th touchdown of the season.
Kansas City then went to the no-huddle, moving the ball into the Patriots territory. However, Tyler Palko was hit by Rob Ninkovich and Kyle Arrington picked off the pass. On the play Kansas City guard Ryan Lilja got completely blown up by Kyle Love, with Lilja never seeing the Patriots defensive lineman coming. That left him woozy after the play, and the Patriots had the ball at midfield.
From there they put together an 8 play 51 yard drive in the closing minutes that was highlighted with a 16 yard pass to Danny Woodhead, a 17 yard pass to Rob Gronkowski, a 12-yard run by Woodhead, along with an 8-yard run by Brady to get them down to the 3 yard line. Unfortunately Woodhead couldn’t haul in a pass on the goal line from Brady and had the ball ripped out, and the Patriots would be forced to settle for a 21-yard field goal. That put them up 10-3 at the half.
Some first half numbers:
– The Patriots are 0-for-5 on third down so far, while Kansas City is 3-of-8
– The Patriots have 174 total NET offensive yards, while the Chiefs have 190
– Tom Brady is 8-of-16 for 133 yards, but he’s been harassed quite a bit and has been sacked 3 times. Tyler Palko on the other hand is 10-of-14 for 111 yards, but his critical interception has been the difference in the game so far.
– The Chiefs have done a good job running the ball, with Kansas City racking up 87 yards on the ground through the first two quarters.
– Kansas City has won the time of possession battle thus far, with the Chiefs offense holding the ball for 17:33, while New England has had it 12:27.