Monday 18 February 2019

Relentless Patriots set up showdown with Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) embrace after an AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) embrace after an AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

The Kansas City Chiefs will host the New England Patriots in next Sunday's AFC Championship game, bringing together the best quarterback in the NFL this year against one of the best of all time.

MVP favourite Patrick Mahomes displayed his customary flair, passing for 278 yards and running a score as the Chiefs used their potent offense to jump on the Indianapolis Colts early, en route to a 31-13 win in snowy Kansas City on Saturday.

Last night, Tom Brady followed that up with a clinical performance to suffocate the Los Angeles Chargers and record a 41-28 victory which was never really as close as the final scoreline suggests.

The very first drive of the game set the tone as the Patriots chewed up over seven minutes before running over a touchdown through Sony Michel.

The Chargers responded immediately, but that was to be their only score until the third quarter.

By half-time, the Patriots led 35-7 helped by touchdowns on their first three drives. The Chargers made the scoreline respectable in the second-half, but the outcome was never in doubt.

For the Chiefs, the result ended a six-game home losing play-off streak by the AFC's number one seed, and moved the team within one win of making it to the Super Bowl for only the third time. The Chiefs have not won a conference championship since the 1969 season, when they beat the Oakland Raiders en route to the Super Bowl title over the Minnesota Vikings.

To put how long ago that was in perspective, consider that it was before Mahomes' father was born.

Brady has already won five Super Bowls, while 23-year-old Mahomes played just one game in 2017, before taking the league by storm this season. The two quarterbacks already put on a spectacular show this regular season, when the Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in October.

Elsewhere, the LA Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys 30-22 to advance to the NFC Championship game.

The Rams, in their third season in southern California after the franchise ditched St. Louis for Tinseltown. The win leaves them one more victory from the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance since 2001, when they lost to the Patriots.

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