There figures to be a lot more attention on other things in the aftermath of the tussle between AFC division leaders. The officiating will be at the top of that list.
Officials whistled a play dead after Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce fumbled late in the third quarter, which meant Bill Belichick had to use his second and final challenge to get the call overturned to a turnover. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore might have scored on that return and wide receiver N'Keal Harry almost certainly scored on the ensuing drive, but he was ruled out of bounds and Belichick had no challenges left to overturn that call.
He also didn’t have one to use when it looked like Kendall Fuller may have interfered with Phillip Dorsett on a third down near the Chiefs end zone with 3:31 left. One can never tell what ruling pass interference replays will generate, but it would have been worth a shot.
As it was, the Patriots converted the fourth down when Tom Brady ran for 17 yards on fourth down. It was Brady’s longest run since 2014 and it gave New England four shots to get in the end zone. It didn’t work out, which means they’ve dropped to 10-3 on the season.
It’s three losses in the last five games for New England and they are all to potential playoff opponents. They’re on to Cincinnati next week before closing out the regular season with games against the Bills and Dolphins. Winning out would ensure them of a first-round bye, but moving back into the top overall seed will take two losses by the Ravens in the final three weeks.
The Chiefs clinched the AFC West and looked strong on both sides of the ball while building a 20-7 halftime lead, but there wasn’t much to like about their offense’s play in the second half. After kicking a field goal, they had a punt blocked, lost a fumble and punted twice while picking up just 28 yards. They were able to survive that on Sunday as the defense remained sturdy and the breaks went their way in New England.