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Patriots primed for rematch with Chiefs in AFC title game

New England tight finish Rob Gronkowski stated the Patriots would take the evening to revel in it. Protection Devin McCourty stated it will be nearer to only a few hours of birthday celebration.

On the other hand lengthy the Patriots avid gamers deliberate to loosen up after their dominating 41-28 divisional-round win over the Chargers on Sunday , this a lot is apparent: An excellent Kansas Town Chiefs crew is ready within the AFC championship recreation.

In the meantime, within the shedding locker room in Foxborough on Sunday, the Chargers headed again around the nation after losing their lone recreation of the season out of doors the state of California.

New England wanted a box function from Stephen Gostkowski within the waning seconds to slide previous the Chiefs 43-40 in probably the most wildest video games of the steady season in Week 6. Tom Brady had one among his very best video games of the season within the Oct. 14 victory over KC, throwing for 340 yards and a landing and operating for every other to earn his 200th profession victory as beginning quarterback.

It all used to be wanted on an evening wherein counterpart Patrick Mahomes rallied his crew from a 24-Nine halftime deficit, throwing for 352 yards and 4 touchdowns in what used to be the Chiefs’ first lack of the season and his first as a beginning quarterback.

Now comes a rematch towards a Kansas Town crew that oddsmakers have put in as an early favourite. It’s going to be uncommon air for the Patriots.

Sunday’s win over the Chargers despatched the Patriots to the convention name recreation for 8th immediately season. It’s going to even be the 13th convention championship recreation look via the Patriots all the way through the Tom Brady-Invoice Belichick generation.

McCourty stated regardless of their unparalleled run and function Sunday, no person within the Patriots locker room believes they may be able to simply display up and win at Arrowhead Stadium.

“You cross to 8 immediately AFC championship video games, you are within the playoffs 10 years in a row, you roughly get in a method like it is going to stay taking place, it is going to be there,” McCourty stated. “However this can be a particular crew, and I feel we are beginning to understand that we have got one alternative to check out to benefit from the whole lot that is in entrance people.”

New England were given 3 first-half touchdowns from rookie Sony Michel to set the early tone towards the Chargers. He completed with 129 yards speeding, his 5th 100-yard speeding recreation of the season.

The Patriots scored touchdowns on their first 4 possessions, development a 35-7 halftime lead.

Buoyed via the run recreation, Brady used to be in antique shape at age 41, finishing 34 of 44 for 343 yards and a landing. He stepped forward to Eight-Zero as a starter towards Philip Rivers, who drops to 1-Eight towards New England all-time.

In a while, Brady said that he heard the voices this season who doubted the Patriots and concept “we will be able to’t win any video games.”

Requested if he concept the win may have quieted the ones voices, he merely smiled and paused.

“I identical to successful,” he stated. “I identical to successful.”

OPEN GATES

The Chargers’ ultimate landing got here lengthy after the sport used to be out of succeed in, however do not name it rubbish time to Antonio Gates.

The Los Angeles tight finish is 38 years previous, and it would had been his ultimate recreation. When he stuck an Eight-yard move from Rivers to make it 41-28 within the ultimate minute, it made him the oldest tight lead to NFL historical past with a landing catch in a playoff recreation.

Handiest large receiver Jerry Rice had a postseason TD reception at a extra complex age.

“Lovely cool that if it have been to be his final one, that his final catch used to be a landing,” stated Rivers, who has thrown 89 regular-season TD passes to Gates, essentially the most for a quarterback-tight finish tandem.

“You might be speaking a few man that is stuck greater than anyone within the historical past of tight ends. And he and I’ve thrown extra within the historical past of quarterbacks and tight ends,” Rivers stated. “If it have been to be (his final recreation), you’ll glance again sooner or later and say it ended simply the way it began there a very long time in the past.”

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Whilst so much used to be made from the Chargers’ luck at the highway this season, Rivers stated it would had been great to play Sunday’s recreation at house.

They have been 7-1 all the way through the steady season, shedding simplest after they performed on the crosstown Los Angeles Rams. The Chargers received at Baltimore within the wild-card around to open the postseason.

“We received each and every recreation we were given on a aircraft this 12 months, except for for this one. So we might performed a heck of a role at the highway. From time to time you take a look at what you probably did and also you cross, ‘Yeah, let’s simply stay all of them at the highway as a result of now we have been just right at the highway.’ … There is no query, you wish to have to be at house the place it is about 65 levels and it is your position, now not coping with the noise and with the ability to keep in touch and all the ones issues. The ones issues may have helped a bit bit these days, too. However they simply outplayed us, they simply outplayed us.”

MOVING ON UP

The Patriots received their 35th playoff recreation, tying the Cowboys for 2nd all-time. With another win, New England will tie Pittsburgh for essentially the most postseason wins in NFL historical past.

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AP Sports activities Creator Jimmy Golen contributed to this file.

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Extra AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL

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Apply Kyle Hightower on Twitter a http://www.twitter.com/khightower

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