Despite throwing the ball just five times in the opening half of their regular season finale against the Dolphins, the Patriots went to the air early and often on their opening drive. In fact, the Patriots did not run the ball once. Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman were heavily involved on the opening drive. Gronkowski led the way with 43 yards on 3 catches, and caught a beautiful back shoulder touchdown from Tom Brady to give the Patriots an early 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs were not pretty on their opening drive, but were effective. They picked up four third down conversions and kept the drive going for 17 plays. The Patriots were eventually able to create a third down stop down in the red zone, and forced the Chiefs to settle for three.
The Patriots' had their longest drive of the first half on their final drive. Starting with the ball at their own two, they would march 98 yards down the field behind the arm of Tom Brady. The key play of the drive was a 42-yard Brady to Keshawn Martin throw down the right sideline. Steven Jackson had a couple of nice runs later in the drive, and it was capped by back-to-back Tom Brady runs, the second of which saw him extend the football over Kansas City defenders and over the goal line.
Kansas City would get the ball back with enough time to do some damage. Set up with good field position, the Chiefs moved to the red zone on a run from Chacandrick West and a 26 yard catch by Jason Avant. The Chiefs had to settle for another field goal, to make the score 14-6 heading into the break.
Overall, the Patriots are rolling in the passing game. Bryan Stork went down early with a knee injury, but returned to the game. Against a stout Kansas City front, the protection has held up significantly better than recent weeks. The Patriots have struggled with drops, with Edelman committing several mistakes.
Defensively, the Patriots have been very solid in the secondary. The pass rush has been hit and miss, but the Patriots cornerbacks have been all over Chiefs receivers. Alex Smith was a very uncharacteristic 10-21 in the first half. However, the Chiefs have been able to open some big holes in the running game.
The Chiefs will get the ball to begin the second half.