It’s Draft Week, so we’ll all soon be turning our attention to which players will be sitting at home watching Bill Belichick try to figure out how to turn his computer on, log into Zoom, and make his selection all within the allotted time frame. It sucks that this year’s draft class doesn’t get the opportunity to walk across the stage and put on their new team’s had live, but what can you do.
But before we turn to the Draft, I wanted to knock one more number off our countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2019.
The list so far:
20. The Patriots draft N’Keal Harry.
19. The Patriots trade for Mohammed Sanu.
18. Josh Gordon breaks three tackles to score the first Patriots touchdown of the 2019 season.
17. The kicker carousel.
16. A Kyle van Noy scoop and score ices the game against the New York Giants.
Number 15 might actually be the most memorable moment of the entire year - just for all the wrong reasons.
15. The refs screw the Pats out of not one, but two touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The New England Patriots seems to have a rotating cast of conference rivals that changes every few years. Up until very recently, the three main contenders for New England’s AFC Crown were the Colts, the Broncos, and the Ravens, but with the emergence of Patrick Mahomes and an unbelievably explosive offense, the Kansas City Chiefs have been the consensus pick as of late for the new top dog in the AFC. 2018 saw two absolutely incredible matches between KC and New England, an offensive shootout in Foxboro and an overtime thriller at Arrowhead that sent the Patriots to yet another Super Bowl.
So when the Chiefs came back to Gillette on December 8th, 2019, everyone was once again expecting fireworks. Even though the Patriots were 10-2 and the Chiefs were 8-4, most folks thought that the winner of this one would ultimately decide where the AFC Championship would be played later that year.
The Patriots came out of the game smoking hot, scoring a touchdown on just five plays on their very first possession and held the Chiefs to just a field goal through the first quarter. However, as they have done so many times in the past, the Chiefs put up 17 unanswered points in the second quarter and took a 20-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. Once again, the offense was having trouble moving the ball, and the Chiefs offense just had two many weapons.
However, once again defense and special teams stepped up when the Patriots needed a play. The field goal that KC scored on the first possession of the second half would be the only points they would put up for the rest of the game, and a Nate Ebner blocked punt in the third quarter put the Patriots back in the end zone to cut the lead to 23-13 after a failed 2 point conversion.
On the ensuing Chiefs possession, Mahomes was able to drive down to the New England 37 yard line before a Travis Kelce fumble was picked up by Stephon Gilmore and returned for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the refs got the call wrong in multiple ways on this one; first, they ruled that Kelce was down by contact and the play was good for a first down, which forced Bill Belichick to throw the challenge flag. Upon review, it was true that not only had Kelce fumbled, but Gilmore’s recovery was in no way impeded and he 100% should have gotten the score there. However, since the refs blew the play dead, there was nothing to be done. 23-20 was back to 23-13...but at least the Patriots had the ball.
It took New England just four plays to get into KC’s red zone with all the momentum in the world on their side. Burkhead was running well, and a DPI penalty on Jakobi Meyers got New England down to the 15 yard line. The next play was a short left out pass to rookie N’Keal Harry, who broke a tackle, pushed forward, and dove across the goal line for the touchdown that should have been awarded to Gilmore. Patriots 20, Chiefs 23.
Harry was ruled out of bounds at the three yard line. First and goal New England.
Instant replay showed that Harry was very, very clearly in bounds and 100% scored a TD there. There’s a good three or four inches of grass between him and the sideline, and at no point did any part of his foot go out of bounds. Furthermore, the ball is very clearly over the pylon. However, the Patriots were unfortunately out of challenges, using their last one on the officiating screwup that took away the defensive TD, and there was nothing to be done. The Patriots had to settle for a field goal to bring the game to 23-16, and unfortunately that’s where the game would end up.
To set the record straight, the Chiefs were a better football team than the Patriots were in 2019. They’re Super Bowl Champions, and deservedly so. And even though New England had two touchdowns taken off the board due to poor officiating all within five minutes of each other, they still had opportunities to win this game. Harry’s non-TD gave the Pats first and goal from the three yard line and they still couldn’t punch it in. They were back inside KC’s five yard line with just over a minute left in the game and turned it over on downs. The Pats didn’t do themselves any favors with their inability to score points. But still...to have not one, but two separate, clear, and legitimate touchdowns taken off the board as a result of blown calls left a bad taste in a lot of mouths. Who knows if the Patriots would have gone on to win the game if one of them had stood, but they may very well have. And if they win that game, they get a first round playoff bye and the entire landscape of the postseason changes. Ultimately the Chiefs probably still win the Super Bowl...but you never know. In a highly forgettable season, this was a moment we’d all love to forget, but can’t, so here it sits at Number 15
Check out both plays here.
Full game highlights here.