They failed to force a turnover for the first time since their win streak began. In fact, they lost the turnover battle, with the game’s only such miscue coming when Knile Davis’ third-quarter fumble killed a promising drive.
They failed to pressure Tom Brady, who, with time to throw, looked nothing like the beleaguered quarterback he was when the Chiefs beat the Patriots in Kansas City in a 2014 regular-season game. The Chiefs failed to get a sack for only the second time since the start of their win streak.
In the first half, the Chiefs matched New England's touchdowns with field goals of their own. The Chiefs wasted great second-quarter starting field position, at the New England 36, by losing a yard over the next three plays.
The Chiefs didn’t get much from quarterback Alex Smith, particularly as a runner. Smith scrambled for 15 yards and a first down on Kansas City’s only touchdown drive in the third quarter, but other than that, the Patriots shut him down as a runner until late in the game, when the matter had been decided.
Most importantly, the Chiefs finally played against an opponent that wouldn’t let them get away with all of this. Brady and the Patriots seized on every Kansas City mistake to beat the Chiefs 27-20 and end the Chiefs' season Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Perhaps at some point the Chiefs will appreciate what they accomplished this season. They overcame their dismal 1-5 start to win 10 straight games to end the regular season and claim a wild-card playoff spot. The Chiefs then won their first playoff game in 22 years by beating the Texans last weekend in Houston.
That won’t ease the sting of this playoff loss. The Chiefs were confident heading to New England that if they played the game that won them 11 straight, they would be able to beat the Patriots and advance to next weekend’s AFC Championship Game.
That dream ended early. New England took the opening kickoff and moved 80 yards for a touchdown to take an early lead. That left the Chiefs chasing the Patriots -- futilely, as it turned out -- the rest of the way.
Avant gets the game ball: Veteran wide receiver Jason Avant was the Chiefs’ best offensive player. He had the Chiefs’ two longest catches, both for 26 yards.
Maclin, Houston part-time players: Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is the Chiefs' leading receiver, and linebacker Justin Houston their top pass-rusher and best all-around defensive player. Injuries relegated those two to part-time status against the Patriots. Maclin was battling a high-ankle sprain, while Houston had a knee injury.
Little contact with the quarterback: Not only did the Chiefs not sack Brady, but they also weren’t credited with a quarterback hit until linebacker Dee Ford got to Brady after he released a pass midway through the fourth quarter. That discounts a roughing the passer penalty on linebacker Dezman Moses that set up a New England touchdown in the second quarter.
Another failed onside kick: The Chiefs tried one in the final two minutes, but New England recovered. The last successful onside kick by Kansas City came on Nov. 8, 2009.