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The Patriots tied the game, 28-28, late in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 25-point deficit in the second half to force the extra frame.
The Patriots won the coin toss to start off overtime and received the ball first before completing an eight-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by James White that won the title for New England.
“Last year is finished,” Blank continued. “I’d say the franchise had a wonderful year, I mean that truly. Both on and off the field. We finished our stadium, the team had a wonderful year, competed at the highest level. It didn’t end the way we wanted to, we certainly didn’t conclude the way we wanted to. But we’ve learned from it, grown from it, I think we’re better for it.”
Yet this week, no doubt the flashbacks will come. They’ll look across the field and see the same Patriots as they saw in February. Different season, yes. The Patriots don’t look quite as invincible, while the Falcons have lost two straight after a fast start.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith knows the rap on him. He can’t throw deep. He pilots a station-to-station offense that is more efficient than exciting. One game doesn’t erase a career’s worth of evidence, but it’s hard to say this Chiefs offense is still boring under Smith. Coach Andy Reid pilots a creative offense which borrows liberally from the spread concepts Smith used to run in college. He wound up completing 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns. It was the first time a Bill Belichick-coached team has ever given up two touchdown passes over 75 yards in the same game.
Smith benefited from a coverage bust and the incredible talent of his playmakers Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, but that talent isn’t going anywhere. If the Chiefs can put up 42 points during a quiet night from tight end Travis Kelce, they are going to be difficult to stop.
Cleveland has acquired Patriots star linebacker Jamie Collins for a compensatory draft pick that’s slated to eventually be a third-round selection, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The Browns confirmed the trade, but didn’t confirm details about compensation.
Currently the trade is for a 2018 fourth-round selection. Once the league designates the loss of former Browns center Alex Mack (who went to Atlanta in free agency) as a third-round compensatory pick for 2017, New England will receive that pick instead.
But when Patriots players talk about how terrifying Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is, that’s something which comes from the heart.
“I’ve been a huge fan of him before I got in the league, and just to see and kind of have an idea where he came from, it’s unbelievable to show how hard he’s worked to get to where he’s got,” Patriots receiver Julian Edelman said, via The Boston Herald. “He’s a large man that is fast, explosive, and if he’s coming my way, it’s going to be a ‘get down.'”
It sounds daunting, sure, but beginning the campaign on the road also has its sneaky positives. As the road team, you get a chance to ruin someone’s home opener, their welcome back in front of their faithful. You get to play spoiler, and leave with the last laugh, a sweet way to begin your own campaign.
No one did this better than the Kansas City Chiefs, who were lined up as the New England Patriots’ intended sacrifice on opening night, placed on the table with an apple in their collective mouths as handshakes, high-fives and words of praise were exchanged among reigning champions. After all, it was the night the Patriots revealed their Super Bowl LI banner. The party was all about them.