Tag Archives: Patriots

NFL nears COVID-19 crisis as Titans, Patriots reveal more positive tests

Tennessee will not be returning to the team’s facility Wednesday after two more players tested positive amid the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, and the New England Patriots have cancelled practice amid reports that a third player has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The New England Patriots cancelled a practice scheduled for Wednesday after reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19, according to the National Football League’s website.

Quarterback Cam Newton tested positive Saturday and is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the Patriots placed a defensive tackle from the practice squad on that list Tuesday. The Patriots are scheduled to host Denver on Sunday.

“WEAR YOUR MASK. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE,” Newton posted on Twitter Wednesday along with a photo of himself wearing a mask.

The Titans had no positive tests Monday or Tuesday for the first time after six consecutive days of positive results. A third straight day was necessary for the team to be allowed back in its headquarters, stopping its planned return, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said no one’s perfect when asked about the NFL’s stricter protocols as his Bills (4-0) prepare for a game at Tennessee that may now be in jeopardy. McDermott said no one’s perfect.

“We’re fighting an uphill battle,” McDermott said. “I think we know that there’s a challenge because of how easily this thing spreads.”

McDermott said the Bills have had no positives after beating the Raiders 30-23 in Las Vegas last week. The Raiders placed defensive tackle Maurice Hurst on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.

Instead, the Titans’ outbreak now is up to 22 cases with 20 now returned since Sept. 29, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither the NFL nor the Titans announced the latest results.

The Titans announced they will not have any media availability Wednesday.

The new positive tests put into question Tennessee’s scheduled game Sunday against Buffalo (4-0), a matchup between two of the NFL’s six remaining undefeated teams. The NFL has rescheduled the Titans’ game with Pittsburgh from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25.


The NFL gave New England and Kansas City an extra day after Newton tested positive Saturday, and Kansas City beat the Patriots 26-10 on Monday night. But pushing the Bills’ game with the Titans back by a day will be challenging because Buffalo is scheduled to host Kansas City on Thursday night, Oct. 15.

The league is attempting to play a full schedule amid the pandemic without teams isolated in a bubble as other sports have done to protect players and staff from the virus. No games were affected through the first three weeks of the season.

Pittsburgh defensive tackle Cam Heyward said Wednesday it was “ludicrous” to think the NFL wouldn’t have positive tests and warned there would be more. He said players and teams were under pressure to minimize outbreaks.

“Things are going to change every minute now,” said Heyward, the Steelers’ player representative. “And we’ve just got to be willing to adjust. I know the NFL and the NFLPA is trying to do right by the players and the coaches, but there’s only so much they can do.”

Breaking rules could mean forfeits, fines

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell warned all 32 teams Monday that any violations of COVID-19 protocols that force schedule changes could result in punishment including forfeiting games, fines or loss of draft picks.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he’s allowing his wife and three children to attend the Steelers’ game Sunday against Philadelphia. The Steelers had an unexpected bye last weekend with the Titans’ outbreak affecting their schedule.

“I don’t think they’ll consider forfeiting our game, and of course we got the short end of the stick,” Roethlisberger said.

Titans last together on Sept. 27

Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters Tuesday he was hoping to hear more good news Wednesday morning when the latest batch of daily testing results came back. Instead, he’ll have to try to prepare a game plan with his team possibly not back into its facility until Saturday because it needs back-to-back days of negative tests.

Tennessee hasn’t been together as a team since Sept. 27, when the Titans beat the Vikings 31-30 in Minnesota. The Titans played that game after leaving outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen in Nashville following his positive test result Sept. 26, and the NFL shut down the team facility on Sept. 29.

The franchise has continued daily testing since then, and the league sent all 32 teams a memo Oct. 1 with list of new protocols for clubs to follow when dealing with a coronavirus outbreak or having been exposed to an outbreak.

The Las Vegas Raiders put their first player on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday — defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. He didn’t attend the charity function last week that led the NFL to fine 10 Raiders players for conduct violating COVID-19 protocols. The list is for players who either test positive for the coronavirus or have had close contact with an infected person.

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Patriots’ Cam Newton tests positive for COVID-19: reports

The NFL postponed this week’s game between New England and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs after “positive COVID-19 tests on both teams.” ESPN reported on Saturday that Patriots quarterback Cam Newton was among those testing positive.

The NFL said on Saturday that the game, originally scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, will be played on Monday or Tuesday, a move that would be possible only if there is no wider spread of the disease on the rosters.


Newton’s agent did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking confirmation.

Players and coaches who were around the player have all tested negative for the virus.

The only known Chiefs player to test positive is quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, a member of the practice squad who has not appeared in a game but would have spent time in meetings with Super Bowl MVP Pat Mahomes and the team’s other QBs.

It is the second game this weekend that has been affected by COVID-19. After an outbreak on the Titans, the matchup between Pittsburgh and Tennessee was postponed — originally for a day or two, and then until Oct. 25 as the positive tests accumulated.

League overconfident after avoiding earlier outbreak?

To fit it in, the Steelers’ game against Baltimore that day was pushed back to Nov. 1.

The Patriots had been planning to fly to Kansas City on Saturday afternoon. Instead, players left the facility to await further instructions. The team said in a statement that the COVID-positive player has entered self-quarantine and that players, coaches and staff who were in close contact with him were tested Saturday morning and all were negative.


Earlier this week, Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty said the league might have grown overconfident after making it through training camps and the first two weeks of the season without a major outbreak.

“But at the end of the day, we are in a pandemic,” he said. “So what happened in Tennessee, although it kind of shocks us, it’s not really surprising. I think we all knew at some point we might get some positive tests.

“So it’s like, `We got this,”‘ he said. “I think this is just a little shocker, but it’s also a wakeup call, like ‘Hey, the virus is still here and it will affect any and everybody. It doesn’t care that we’re trying to play football.”‘

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Patriots sign quarterback Cam Newton to 1-year deal: report

The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, bringing in the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.

The one-year deal is worth up to $ 7.5 million with incentives, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly. A Patriots spokesman said the team had nothing to announce Sunday night.

The signing was first reported by ESPN.

The Patriots had been heading to training camp with 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham as the heir apparent to Brady, who led the team to six Super Bowl championships since 2001 but signed with Tampa Bay this off-season. Stidham appeared in three games last season, completing two passes for 14 yards with one interception.

The only other experienced quarterback on the defending AFC East champions’ roster was 34-year-old Brian Hoyer, who has started 38 games in an 11-year career with seven NFL teams, including the Patriots twice.

The Panthers released Newton on March 24 following nine seasons, a move that saved the team $ 19.1 million under the NFL salary cap.

The 31-year-old Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft after leading Auburn to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy. He helped the Panthers reach the playoffs four times, including the Super Bowl in 2015.

Patriots fined, lose pick for filming game last season

The New England Patriots have been fined $ 1.1 million by the NFL for inappropriately filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during a game last season.

On Sunday, the league also took away a third-round pick in the 2021 draft.

Also, the team’s production crew will not be allowed to shoot any games in the 2020 season.

ESPN first reported the penalties. An NFL spokesman confirmed the discipline to The Associated Press.

The filming occurred at the Bengals game at Cleveland on Dec. 8 of last season. The Bengals hosted the Patriots the following week and lost 34-13.

When the taping became known last season, the team said at the time a three-person crew producing a web series titled “Do Your Job” “inappropriately filmed the field from the press box” as part of a feature on the scouting department.

The filming took place “without specific knowledge of league rules,” the statement said.

Also, the team’s statement last season said that while they were granted credentials for the crew from the Browns, “our failure to inform the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight.”

When confronted, the team said the crew “immediately turned over all footage to the league and co-operated fully.”

Severely punished before 

At the time, Patriots coach Bill Belichick says neither he nor his coaching staff had watched any of the video footage.

“I personally have never viewed any video footage at all, anything that those production people have done, other than what’s shown on public television or something like that,” Belichick said in December.

Previously, New England was fined $ 250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick in 2007 for violating NFL rules against using video to steal signals in a scandal dubbed “Spygate.” Belichick was also fined $ 500,000.

Spygate fueled a distrust of the Patriots that persisted when the team was accused of illegally deflating the footballs used in the 2015 AFC championship game.

The punishment by the NFL in that case was also severe. Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games, and the team was fined $ 1 million and docked another first-round draft pick.

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Tom Brady, 6-time Super Bowl champion, leaving New England Patriots

Tom Brady, the centrepiece of the New England Patriots’ championship dynasty over the past two decades, appears poised to leave the only football home he has ever had.

The 42-year-old six-time Super Bowl winner posted Tuesday on social media “my football journey will take place elsewhere.”

The comments were the first to indicate the most-decorated player in NFL history would leave New England.

In a two-part message, Brady thanked the Patriots and the fans and said “FOREVER A PATRIOT.”

“I don’t know what my football future holds, but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and my career,” he wrote. “Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for out incredible TEAM experiences.”



The one-year contract Brad y signed before last season expires Wednesday afternoon, and his agent could negotiate a deal with another team on Tuesday, though it can’t be official yet. He actually could still work out a new deal with New England, but his Instagram post suggests that won’t happen.

Comments by Patriots owner Robert Kraft to ESPN make that clear, too. Kraft told ESPN that Brady reached out to him Monday night and went to the owner’s house.

“We had a positive, respectful discussion.” Kraft said. “It’s not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son.

“Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality. While sad today, the overwhelming feeling I have is appreciation for his countless contributions to our team and community.”


Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft embrace after winning the 2018 AFC championship. (The Associated Press)

A four-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and three-time league MVP, Brady has been the enduring face of the Patriots during a run that added another layer to Boston’s already rich sports history. Only Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA championship rings in the 1950s and 60s with the Celtics, has won more titles as a member of one of New England’s four major professional sports teams.

Will be 43 when season starts

Brady would be the oldest starting quarterback in the league at 43 at the beginning of next season. He is also arguably coming off his worst non-injury season. He threw for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2019, with eight interceptions. But he completed fewer than 56 per cent of his passes six times in the final eight games of the year, including a season-ending loss to Miami that cost the Patriots a first-round playoff bye.

They lost at home to the Titans in the wild-card round, Brady’s earliest post-season exit in a decade — and likely his last game in a Patriots uniform.

Brady had a one-year contract for 2019 that paid him $ 23 million, placing him 10th among starting quarterbacks. It was the latest renegotiation by Brady to help give the Patriots salary cap flexibility to fill out the roster.

The chief decision maker in player personnel decisions, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hasn’t been shy about moving on from players he felt were past their prime or seeking contracts that exceeded value in relation to their age. Belichick has severed ties with players much younger than Brady during his time in New England.

“Nothing about the end of Tom’s Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was,” said Belichick, whose current quarterback is untested second-year player Jarrett Stidham. “With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone’s adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.”

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New England Patriots release Antonio Brown after 2nd sexual misconduct allegation

Antonio Brown was released by the New England Patriots on Friday after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct — the third team in seven months to tire of the off-field behaviour that has overshadowed his accomplishments as one of the NFL’s most prolific receivers for a decade.

The defending Super Bowl champions announced the move in a statement emailed to reporters, three minutes after Brown posted on Twitter: “Thank you for the opportunity Patriots. Go Win It.”


Already facing a civil suit claiming that he raped a former trainer, Brown was accused in a Sports Illustrated story published on Monday of exposing himself to an artist he hired to paint a mural at his home. He has denied both allegations.

But the Patriots cut ties with the four-time All-Pro after just one game.

The statement attributed to “a Patriots spokesperson” said, in its entirety: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”


Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady both declined to comment on Brown during their scheduled media availability Friday, a few hours before Brown was released. Belichick said during the morning that the team was looking into “some things,” then cut off his news conference when reporters continued to ask about Brown.

Asked if he expected Brown to play in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, Belichick said, “He’s on the roster.”

About five hours later, he wasn’t.

“It’s unfortunate things didn’t work out with the Patriots,” Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus tweeted. “But Antonio is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon.”

An NFL investigation of the allegations against Brown is ongoing. The league said in a statement late Friday that Brown could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list if he is signed by another team and could also be suspended once the investigation concludes — circumstances that cast doubt on whether he will play again this season.

“Our office is presently investigating multiple allegations, some of which are the subject of pending litigation,” the NFL statement said. “We have as yet made no findings regarding these issues. The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously.”

Former trainer had lengthy meeting with the NFL

Brown has been sued by a former trainer Britney Taylor, who claimed Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions, including rape. Although the allegations became public last week, Brown practiced with the Patriots, then played on Sunday in a 43-0 rout of Miami, scoring a touchdown.

Taylor had a lengthy meeting with the NFL this week.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, but Taylor was identified in the federal lawsuit and was quoted in a statement provided by her lawyer.

According to a Sports Illustrated story, a second woman, who as a victim of sexual harassment is not being identified, was working at Brown’s home when she turned around to find him standing there naked except for a small towel covering his genitals.

After the article ran, the magazine reported, the woman “received what she characterized as intimidating texts” from Brown that included pictures of her children.

“She received a group text message that appeared to come from the same phone number Brown provided to her in 2017,” the magazine said. “The person she believes is Brown encouraging others in the group to investigate the woman. The texter accused the artist of fabricating her account of the 2017 incident for cash.”

Lawyers for the woman said in a statement that the league and the Patriots “took our client’s concerns seriously.”

“She wanted the threats and intimidation to stop and we hope that will be case,” said a statement emailed to reporters from attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz. “The NFL has assured us that regardless of Antonio Brown’s roster status, it will continue to investigate all claims regarding his behaviour.”

Also this week, Nike cut ties with the receiver, saying in an email to The Associated Press on Friday, “Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete.”

A four-time All-Pro who caught 837 passes over nine seasons with the Steelers, Brown wore out his welcome in Pittsburgh after he went missing for two days before the 2018 season finale. The Steelers traded him to Oakland, which signed him to a contract that would have paid him up to $ 50 million over the next three seasons.

But he never played a game for the Raiders, quarreling with the coach and general manager until they, too, released him. The Patriots signed him only a few hours later, giving him a one-year deal that would have guaranteed him $ 9 million and paid him up to $ 15 million this season.

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Patriots outlast Rams in defensive battle to win Super Bowl LIII

That super shootout everyone expected turned into a defensive standoff. The New England Patriots showed they can win that type of championship game, too.

So after Tom Brady led one classic drive to win the Patriots their record-tying sixth Super Bowl, he perfectly summed up the 13-3 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams.

"Finally got a touchdown and the defence played the best game of the year," Brady said.

In a season in which all sorts of offensive records were set, this Super Bowl rewrote the defensive record book.

"How about our defence? How about our defence?" he said. "They played unbelievable."

So well that their leader linebacker Dont'a Hightower, joked they had extra incentive.

"I'm tired of hearing about Brady," he said with a laugh. "I won one today — we all got one. It feels good for us to get it all. Shout out to him getting his, but this is a team game and it feels good to win."

But the defence still needed vintage Brady for one drive . He threw two perfect passes to Rob Gronkowski to set up rookie Sony Michel's 2-yard score — the only touchdown in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. That put New England up 10-3. A late field goal clinched it 13-3.

No Super Bowl had gone into the fourth quarter without a touchdown. This one did, tied 3-3 — even though these teams had combined to average over 60 points a game.

When the Patriots needed a score, Brady, the oldest winning quarterback in a Super Bowl at 41, completed four straight passes, including a pair covering 47 yards to Gronkowski. The second , on which the star tight end beat two defenders, ended at the Los Angeles 2, the only time either team was inside the 20-yard line. Michel ran off left tackle for his sixth post-season touchdown.

"He knows to trust in me and throw that ball," Gronkowski said, "and I'm going to grab it."

Julian Edelman, the outstanding receiver who missed the 2017 season with a knee injury, was the game's MVP with 10 receptions for 141 yards.

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was named Super Bowl LIII MVP. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

With 4:17 left, All-Pro Stephon Gilmore picked off an ill-advised pass by Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who seemed overwhelmed by the big stage all night, at the New England 2.

Stephen Gostkowski made a 41-yard field goal with 1:12 remaining, completing a 72-yard march that took more than three minutes off the clock and included 26-yard runs by Michel and Rex Burkhead.

Defence wins championship

It was a workmanlike conclusion for the Patriots (14-5), whose losses all came away from New England. They beat the top two offences in the Chiefs and Rams (15-4) in the post-season, and tied Pittsburgh for most Super Bowl titles.

"We're a relentless team," Hightower said after New England allowed the fewest points in a Super Bowl (tied with Dallas in 1972 against Miami). "We didn't give up. A lot was thrown at us. When we play like we did tonight, we can't be beat."

The Rams, who reached the NFL championship game with the aid of a major officiating error in the conference title victory at New Orleans, never really threatened to reach the end zone.

"Last time I checked, defence wins championships," Rams running back C.J. Anderson said.

At 66, Bill Belichick became the oldest winning Super Bowl coach. The Patriots beat the Rams, then representing St. Louis, to begin their dynastic run in the 2002 game. They also have beaten Carolina and Philadelphia (2004 and '05, the last back-to-back championships); the Seahawks in 2015; and the Falcons in 2017 in the only overtime in Super Bowl history.

They have lost three times, including to Philadelphia a year ago. New England is the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to win a Super Bowl the year after losing one.

Atypical victory

How the Patriots accomplished it was atypical. The 10-point margin was their biggest in winning a championship.

"This whole year, it was the biggest team win, the biggest team Super Bowl that I've ever been a part of," said Gronkowski, who could be headed for retirement.

Brady, who has won four Super Bowl MVP trophies, wasn't particularly sharp — except when throwing to Edelman. He was the steadiest offensive player on the field.

"It just matters that we won," Edelman said. "It was a crazy year. We had a resilient bunch of guys."

Brady passed Hall of Famer Charles Haley to become the only player with six Super Bowl titles.

Brady won his sixth Super Bowl title. (John Bazemore/The Associated Press)

All those suspicions about the Patriots declining this season became moot as the defence made the 24-year-old Goff look awful and turned All-Pro running back Todd Gurley into a nonfactor.

It wasn't a typical New England championship win. The 2 1/2-point favourite Patriots moved the ball well, ran down the clock, but made uncharacteristic gaffes on offence. Goff and the Rams made more.

"I think we expected to score a lot more points than that," Goff said. "It sucks that's the way it worked out, but we'll use this as a learning experience."

A painful one.

Rams offence disappears

LA's second-ranked offence managed 57 total yards for the first half. The Rams were completely overmatched on the line and were particularly unable to handle the elusive Edelman, who had seven receptions for 93 yards.

Coach Sean McVay, whose Rams never had been blanked in a first half, let out a long, deep sigh just before halftime, recognizing how badly his team was manhandled, even though it trailed just 3-0.


It was the lowest score at halftime since Super Bowl 9, which Pittsburgh led 2-0 over Minnesota.

McVay, the youngest Super Bowl head coach at 34, admitted he was outcoached. He had no answers as Gurley, coming off knee issues, managed 35 yards rushing, Goff went 19 for 38 for 229 yards and was sacked four times. Brandin Cooks, a Patriots receiver last season, did have eight receptions for 120 yards.

"They did a great job. I'm disappointed that I didn't do a better job of adjusting," McVay said. "I know there is a handful of decisions that I'm going to wish that I could have back, for sure."

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Patriots beat Chiefs in OT to reach 3rd straight Super Bowl

The New England Patriots are headed to their third straight Super Bowl, once more thanks to Tom Brady's brilliance.

The five-time NFL champion guided the Patriots 75 yards after winning the overtime coin toss, and backup Rex Burkhead's 2-yard TD lifted New England past Kansas City 37-31 for the AFC championship Sunday night.

The drive, during which New England (13-5) had three third-down conversions, against an exhausted defense was reminiscent of when the Patriots beat Atlanta in the only Super Bowl to go to OT two years ago.

"Overtime, on the road against a great team," Brady said. "They had no quit. Neither did we. We played our best football at the end. I don't know, man, I'm tired. That was a hell of a game."

Awaiting them in Atlanta are the Los Angeles Rams, who won 26-23 in overtime in New Orleans for the NFC championship. The Rams (15-3) last made the Super Bowl in 2002 while based in St. Louis, losing to the Patriots.

New England benefited from two critical replay reviews and made its ninth Super Bowl with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach.

"This is crazy," Brady said. "What a game."

It's the first time both conference title games went to OT. The last time both visitors won conference championship matches was 2012.

Several times, the Patriots appeared to have it won, only to see Kansas City (13-5) come back in spectacular fashion.

Brady, at 41 already the oldest quarterback to have played in a Super Bowl, drove New England 65 yards in 1:24 to Burkhead's go-ahead 4-yard touchdown with 39 seconds left in regulation. That was enough, though, for his far younger counterpart, the 23-year-old Patrick Mahomes, to take the Chiefs 48 yards to Harrison Butker's 39-yard field goal with 8 seconds left to force overtime.

Offences wake up in 4th

It was a sizzling offensive showing in the fourth quarter after defense had been in charge most of the way. Indeed, the Chiefs were blanked in the opening half for the first time all season.

And they never saw the ball in overtime, which along with the two replay decisions might call into play NFL rules and officiating.

No matter to New England, which became the third franchise to reach three Super Bowls in a row. And Belichick now has 30 postseason victories, more than Bill Walsh and Don Shula combined. That Hall of Fame coaching duo also won five Super Bowls; Belichick shoots for No. 6 in two weeks.

An apparent muff by the usually reliable Julian Edelman on a fourth-quarter punt return was overturned by a lengthy video review, prompting raucous booing and some demonstrative arguing from the usually laid-back Andy Reid. Edelman definitely touched his next try when Brady's pass deflected off his hands directly to safety Daniel Sorensen. His 22-yard return set up Kansas City at the Patriots 23, and Damien Williams, who scored three times, had no defender near him down the left sideline for the score that made it 21-17, KC's first lead.

Back came Brady, engineering a 75-yard march on which Chris Hogan's diving one-handed catch on third down appeared to touch the ground. Reid challenged — and lost.

Minutes later, rookie Sony Michel scored from the 10, his second TD of the night.

With 3½ minutes remaining, there was plenty of time for more points. Williams' 2-yard run gave the Chiefs a 28-24 edge that New England took up most of the remaining time overcoming before Butker's field goal sent it to overtime.

The Chiefs hadn't been blanked in any half this season, but they barely were a presence in the first 30 minutes, when they had the ball for 8:53. Mahomes was sacked three times for 43 yards; Kansas City's record-setting attack ran only 16 plays and gained a mere 32 yards.

The zero disappeared quickly in the third quarter. Finally given solid protection, Mahomes unleashed a 54-yard completion to Sammy Watkins over All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. He then hit another All-Pro, tight end Travis Kelce, on a slant to make it 14-7 — and awaken the slumbering crowd.

But one of several bad decisions further damaged Kansas City when Tyreek Hill, the All-Pro flex player, retreated deep in Chiefs territory returning a punt. Eventually, KC had to punt and the Patriots had excellent field position, setting up a 47-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

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Eagles stun Patriots with late TD to win 1st Super Bowl title

As their delirious fans sang their theme song and their owner lifted the Lombardi Trophy, the Philadelphia Eagles finally could breathe freely.

Yo, Philly, you really did beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a thrilling Super Bowl that rewrote the offensive record book.

Nick Foles guided the drive of a lifetime, Zach Ertz made a bobbling touchdown catch that had to survive replay review, and an exhausted defense came up with two stands in the final moments Sunday for a 41-33 victory. For the first time since 1960, the Eagles are NFL champions.

“Fly Eagles Fly,” indeed.

“We’ve played this game since we were little kids, we dreamed about this moment,” game MVP Foles said. “There’s plenty of kids watching this game right now dreaming about this moment and someday will be here.”

Backup quarterback Nick Foles led the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52.3:06

In a record-setting shootout between backup QB Foles and five-time champ Brady of the favoured Patriots, Foles led a pressure-packed 75-yard drive to the winning touchdown, 11 yards to Ertz with 2:21 to go .

Then Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady and Derek Barnett recovered, setting up rookie Jake Elliot’s 46-yard field goal for an 8-point lead.

Brady got his team to midfield, but his desperation pass fell to the ground in the end zone.

“For us, it was all about one stop we had to make. We went out here and made that one stop,” Graham said.

The underdog Eagles (16-3), even injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz, came bolting off the sideline in ecstasy while Brady sat on the ground, disconsolate.

It was the first Super Bowl title for Philadelphia (16-3), which went from 7-9 last season.

“If there’s a word [it’s] called everything,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “That’s what it means to Eagles fans everywhere. And for Eagles fans everywhere, this is for them.”

Foles wins MVP

Super Bowl MVP Foles orchestrated the victory with the kind of drive NFL MVP Brady, a five-time champion, is known for. The drive covered 14 plays, including a fourth-down conversion.

“I felt calm. I mean, we have such a great group of guys, such a great coaching staff,” Foles said. “We felt confident coming in, and we just went out there and played football.”

The Eagles had to survive a video replay because ball popped into the air as Ertz crossed the goal line.

Ertz scores the game-winning touchdown past New England’s Devin McCourty during the fourth quarter.(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“If they would have overturned that, I don’t know what would have happened to the city of Philadelphia,” Ertz said. “But I’m so glad they didn’t overturn it.”

The touchdown stood — and so did thousands of green-clad Eagles fans who weren’t going to mind the frigid conditions outside US Bank Stadium once they headed out to celebrate. But not before a rousing rendition of “Fly Eagles Fly” reverberated throughout the stands once the trophy was presented to Lurie. Later, fans danced along with the “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from “Rocky,” the city’s best-known fictional underdog.

Brady reacts after his crucial fourth-quarter fumble.(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Patriots (15-4) seemed ready to take their sixth championship with Brady and coach Bill Belichick in eight Super Bowls. Brady threw for a postseason record 505 yards and three TDs, hitting Rob Gronkowski for 4 yards before Stephen Gostkowski’s extra point gave New England its first lead, 33-32.

Then Foles made Eagles fans forget Wentz — at least for now — with the gutsiest drive of his life.

Breathtaking and bizarre

“We couldn’t make a play to give the ball back to the offense,” Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore said.

Foles has been something of a journeyman in his six pro seasons, but he has been spectacular in four career playoff games. He finished 28 of 43 for 373 yards and three TDs.

The combined 1,151 yards were the most in any modern NFL game. The 40-year-old Brady finished 28 of 48 and picked apart the Eagles until the final two series.

Brady indicated he will return for a 19th season even as Gronkowski was hedging on his future.

“I mean it’s 15 minutes after the game ended, so I’d like to process this a little bit,” Brady said. “I wouldn’t see why I wouldn’t be back.”

Gronkowski, who has played eight superb but injury-riddled years, said “I am definitely going to look at my future.”

It was such a wild game that Foles caught a touchdown pass, and Brady was on the opposite end of a Danny Amendola throw that went off his fingertips.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson brought home the championship in his second year in charge. Belichick is 5-3 in Super Bowls and his teams have only a plus-4 overall margin in those games.

So this one was in keeping with that trend: breathtaking and even a bit bizarre.

Brady and the Patriots looked more like five-time champions by opening the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Gronkowski was unstoppable, grabbing four passes for 69 yards, including the 5-yard score.

Philly didn’t flinch, answering with a precise 75-yard march and three more third-down conversions; the Eagles were 10 for 16. The last was on Foles’ perfect pass to Clement over double coverage. The rookie’s reception was upheld by review, and the Eagles were back on top by 10.

Brady shrugged and, getting steadfast protection, went over 400 yards passing on the next TD drive. Chris Hogan scored from the 26 as he turned around safety Rodney McLeod.

Avoiding inevitability

When all the Eagles could manage was Jake Elliott’s 42-yarder for a 32-26 lead, it seemed inevitable the Patriots would go in front, then become the first repeat Super Bowl winner since they did it in the 2004 and `05 games.

Foles, Ertz, and — at last — a revitalized defence said otherwise.

The weird image of Brady ambling downfield on a pass pattern came three plays after New England lost receiver Brandin Cooks to a concussion on a vicious but clean hit by Malcolm Jenkins in the second quarter. Amendola’s pass required an over-the-shoulder grab and the ball fell off Brady’s outstretched hands.

Brady got back to passing after a wild interception. Alshon Jeffery nearly made a spectacular catch near the Patriots’ goal line, only to juggle the ball into the air. Duron Harmon picked it off at the 10. Moments later, Brady was connecting with Chris Hogan for 42 yards.

James White broke several tackles with a brilliant 26-yard run and it was 15-12. That gave White seven touchdowns in his past three postseason games, including the overtime winner in last year’s Super Bowl.

But the Eagles still had 2:04 left in the half — and some more magic in their bag.

A short third-down throw Clement turned into a 55-yard gain to the Patriots 8. Philly got to the 1 and on fourth down, and it was Foles’ turn to morph into a receiver.

Kicker issues

He did better than Brady. On fourth down, Clement took a direct snap, pitched to tight end Trey Burton, and the former Florida QB hit an uncovered Foles. The Eagles were up 22-12 at halftime, the most points New England has allowed in the opening half of a Super Bowl under Belichick.

Each kicker had issues, with Elliott missing an extra point, his fifth miss this season. Then Gostkowski hit the left upright with a 26-yard field goal after holder Ryan Allen mishandled the snap. Gostkowski also missed an extra point.

When LeGarrette Blount, who won the title last season with the Patriots, scored on a 21-yard burst, Pederson went for 2, but the pass failed, making it 15-3.

The Eagles and Pederson brushed it off and stayed with their usual aggressive approach. Breathtakingly, it eventually paid off.

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Patriots secure 10th Super Bowl appearance with comeback win over Jags

Give ’em a hand: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl.

Brady shook off a hand injury and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola with 2:48 remaining , rallying the Patriots to a 24-20 comeback victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship Sunday.

Brady, wearing a black bandage on his right hand after hurting it during practice earlier in the week, showed no signs of being hampered.

And, with the game — and possibly the season — on the line, the Patriots star came up big again.

“I’ve had a lot worse,” Brady said. “I didn’t know that on Wednesday. It was a crazy injury. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday was a little scary. Then I started getting some confidence and today we did just enough to win.”

Brady finished 26 of 38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns for the Patriots (15-3), who’ll play the winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

5-time winner

It’s the eighth Super Bowl appearance for Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who have won five times — including last year’s 34-28 overtime rally against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Jaguars (12-7) led 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold against the defending champions.

Jacksonville — looking to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history — had one more shot, but Bortles’ throw on fourth-and-15 to Dede Westbrook was knocked away by Stephon Gilmore.

The Patriots then ran out the clock, with Dion Lewis’ 18-yard scamper with 90 seconds remaining sealing the victory. And they did it mostly without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who left the game late in the first half and didn’t return.

Brady’s hand was the most-scrutinized body part in Boston since the quarterback’s right ankle before the 2008 Super Bowl, and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s right ankle tendon — the bloody sock — in the 2004 playoffs.

Brady was listed as questionable after he hurt his right hand during practice earlier in the week. He was limited Wednesday, sat out Thursday and was limited again Friday because of the injury.

That caused some panic among the Patriots faithful.

Nothing to fret about

Turns out, it was nothing to fret about.

Brady came out for warmups without a glove on his hand, and he came out throwing. He completed his first six passes — including a 20-yarder to Amendola on fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars 30 — for 57 yards to march the Patriots down the field. The drive stalled when Brady was sacked by Dante Fowler Jr., and New England settled for Stephen Gostkowski’s 31-yard field goal.

A wide-open Marcedes Lewis gave the Jaguars a 7-3 lead 45 seconds into the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown catch from Blake Bortles, who was 5 for 5 for 66 yards on an impressive and efficient seven-play, 76-yard drive.

Leonard Fournette gave Jacksonville a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter with a 4-yard TD run, hushing the crowd at Gillette Stadium.

The Jaguars made some big mistakes that hurt them just before halftime. Bortles completed a 12-yard pass to Lewis on third-and-7 from the Patriots 44, but Jacksonville was called for delay of game — after New England called a timeout.

That wiped out a first down, and Bortles was sacked by Adam Butler on the next play to force a punt.

With just over two minutes left before halftime, New England’s offence took over and the fans chanted “Bra-dy! Bra-dy!”

And their quarterback delivered — with some help from the Jaguars on two long penalties.

Gronkowski injured

On first-and-10 from the Patriots 40, Brady threw a long pass for Gronkowski, who was injured when he got popped by Barry Church just as the ball was arriving. Church was called for unnecessary roughness, putting the ball at Jacksonville’s 45.

A.J. Bouye was called for pass interference on the next play on an incomplete throw for Brandin Cooks. The 32-yard penalty put the ball at the Jaguars 13. After a 12-yard catch by Cooks, James White ran it in from the 1 to make it 14-10 with 55 seconds left.

Josh Lambo gave Jacksonville a 17-10 lead 4:37 into the third quarter with a 54-yard field goal. He added a 43-yarder 8 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it a 10-point game.

But Brady & Co. were just getting started.

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