Monday, Dec. 4 9:00pm ET
Chiefs reach Pats' 11 as time runs out

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- One of Monday night's least meaningful matchups turned into another last-minute thriller. And it ended Kansas City's final hope for a playoff berth.

Kevin Faulk
Kevin Faulk had 52 yards rushing and leapt to this first-quarter TD for New England.

The New England Patriots held on for a 30-24 victory over the Chiefs in a matchup of teams going nowhere.

It was the third Monday night game in the last seven that was decided on the last play.

"We were able to build a big enough cushion to sustain it, but overall, that's not what we want," New England coach Bill Belichick said.

The Chiefs (5-8) certainly didn't since their fifth straight loss eliminated them from playoff contention.

"We play as hard as any team can, but it's disheartening," Kansas City coach Gunther Cunningham said. "We keep making mental errors at the wrong time. It's eating away at me."

Drew Bledsoe's sore thumb didn't stop him from having one of his best games, throwing for a season-high 282 yards. He completed 33 passes, third-most in his career, in 48 attempts for two touchdowns.

And Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals, including a 53-yarder that gave the Patriots (4-9) a 20-10 halftime lead.

But as the game wound down, it was sparked memories of the Patriots' 20-19 Monday night loss to the New York Jets in Week 2 when they allowed two touchdowns in the last 6:25.

The Chiefs cut the lead to 30-24 on Elvis Grbac's 19-yard pass to Kevin Lockett with 3:58 left. Then they drove to the Patriots 12, but had no timeouts. Time expired when Tony Gonzalez was tackled by Tebucky Jones in the middle of the field after a 5-yard completion.

"I wasn't going to let him score," Jones said. "I knew if I made the tackle and laid on him, the game was over."

Grbac threw to Gonzalez, who had 11 catches for 147 yards, as a last desperate attempt.

"I probably should have thrown the ball into the end zone," said Grbac, who was 25-for-46 for 350 yards and three touchdowns. "But I saw Tony was open and I got him the ball. Any time I get the ball to Tony, he can score."

This time, Gonzalez didn't.

The Chiefs gave up two fumbles after losing just four all season and wasted Grbac's 81-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Alexander, who has three scoring catches of over 80 yards in his career plus an 82-yard TD run.

The loss came eight days after Kansas City became San Diego's only victim of the season. Grbac missed that game with an injured right index finger.

The Patriots treated a chilly crowd -- missing 9,964 no-shows -- to their best offensive display of a season in which they often faltered in the waning moments of games. They entered with a 7-18 Monday night record, worst in the AFC.

"We know we are out of the playoffs, but it is a big win," Patriots wide receiver Tony Simmons said. "It builds our confidence."

The win was some consolation after their 34-9 loss in Detroit on national television on Thanksgiving Day.

"After the last game, we were really faced with a challenge," Bledsoe said. "Which way were we going to go? Were we going to mail it in the last four games or come out and compete?"

Bledsoe, who had thrown just two touchdown passes in his previous six games, threw a 17-yarder to Troy Brown and a 1-yarder to tight end Jermaine Wiggins, signed seven days earlier after being cut by the Jets.

Bledsoe completed all seven passes during the drive that was capped by Wiggins' touchdown to make it 27-10 with 7:09 left in the third.

"It's still a little sore," Bledsoe said of his thumb. "It doesn't have a profound effect."

The Chiefs marched back, reaching the New England 27, but Otis Smith intercepted Grbac's pass at the 4 and returned it 56 yards. The Patriots couldn't capitalize as Vinatieri's 37-yard field-goal attempt went wide, ending his streak of 16 successful kicks.

Grbac then threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Gonzalez, cutting the lead to 27-17 with 13:43 left. But Sylvester Morris' fumble on the Chiefs' next possession was recovered by Tony George and led to Vinatieri's 27-yard field goal with 7:37 remaining.

He also hit a 48-yarder on the first series before Todd Peterson tied it with a 42-yard field goal.

The Patriots, who had just two touchdowns in their previous three games, scored two in the first half on Kevin Faulk's 1-yard dive and Bledsoe's pass to Brown, who had a career-high 12 catches for 119 yards.

In between those scores, the Chiefs tied it on Grbac's pass to Alexander. It was Alexander's fourth touchdown of more than 80 yards in two seasons.

Game notes
The Patriots, who allowed opponents to convert on 54 percent of their third downs, permitted the Chiefs just 40 percent (6-for-15). ... Bledsoe called a timeout, then tried to wave it off with 2:09 left in the first half. The officials wouldn't let him, but two plays later he threw his touchdown pass to Brown. ... Gonzalez's 147 yards and Alexander's five for 116 yards, extended the franchise record set this season to 14 100-yard receiving performances.


Kansas City Clubhouse

New England Clubhouse

Week 14 wrap-ups

TJ's Take on Week 14

Week 14 infirmary report

Prime Time Players

 Drew Bledsoe talks with ESPN's Ann Werner following the Patriots victory over the Chiefs.
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 ESPN's Ann Werner catches up with the Patriots' Otis Smith after the game.
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 Troy Brown talks with ESPN's Ann Werner after his 119-yard performance.
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 Drew Bledsoe tells ABC's Melissa Stark the no-huddle offense played a big role in their victory.
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 Troy Brown tells ABC's Eric Dickerson the long break helped him recover for tonight game.
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