Chiefs humble Patriots as Jamaal Charles returns with three TDs
It made sense that Andy Reid spoke in baseball metaphors after Kansas City whipped the New England Patriots on Monday night, with the Royals poised to end a long playoff drought just across the parking lot from Arrowhead Stadium.
He may have stretched things a bit when it came to Jamaal Charles, though.
"It's a heck of a thing to bring 25 off the bench as a relief pitcher," Reid said. "That's a pretty good player. To add him back to the mix is something."
Relief pitcher? How about staff ace.
Charles returned from an ankle injury to score three touchdowns, Tom Brady had two passes picked off by the opportunistic Chiefs, and Kansas City routed New England 41-14 to hand Bill Belichick one of his worst losses as coach of the Patriots.
Charles, who missed last week's win in Miami with a sprained ankle, ran for 92 yards and a score. The Pro Bowl running back also caught two short touchdown passes from Alex Smith, who had 248 yards passing and three touchdowns in a sharp performance before a raucous crowd.
"Coach said he was going to look for me, and see how it feels during the game," Charles said, "and I guess I started feeling like myself. He didn't want to take me out."
The Chiefs (2-2) ended a four-game skid at Arrowhead Stadium dating to last season by making things miserable on Brady, who had one of his two picks returned for a touchdown.
Brady also was strip-sacked and finished 14 of 23 for 159 yards and a touchdown.
"It was just a bad performance by everybody," Brady said. "We need to make sure we never have this feeling again. We've got to figure out what we have to do better."
With the game out of hand, the Patriots gave rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a chance to play. He threw a late touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to complete the scoring.
"Just wanted to play everybody," Belichick said.
The Chiefs forced the Patriots to air it out by stuffing Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. And when Brady dropped back, their front seven ran roughshod over New England's suspect offensive line.
It hardly helped the Patriots' offense that it was trying to operate on the same night Chiefs fans were trying to reclaim the record for loudest outdoor sports venue. The record was set in the first half, when Guinness World Records noted a noise level of 142.2 decibels -- breaking the mark of 137.6 that the Seattle Seahawks' fans had set last season.
"My ears are still ringing," Reid said with a smile.
The crowd included several members of the Royals, who made the walk across the parking lot from Kauffman Stadium to watch the start of the game on the sidelines. The Royals will play their first postseason game since 1985 against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Knile Davis added 107 yards rushing for Kansas City, forming a potent one-two punch with Charles in the backfield. Tight end Travis Kelce had eight catches for 93 yards and a score.
"Some nights things come together," Smith said. "Guys execute and you take advantage."
Charles was executing right from the start, giving the Chiefs a lead with his first-quarter touchdown plunge. He then extended the lead with a 5-yard TD catch in the second quarter.
Cairo Santos added a 22-yard field goal just before halftime for a 17-0 lead.
The field goal came after the Chiefs were bailed out by a defensive penalty. They had been stopped short on a pass play with 8 seconds left, but the penalty gave them a second chance.
Kansas City had 303 yards of first-half offense, the most against any Belichick-coached team.
Charles added his third touchdown of the game early in the second half, taking a short pass in the flat and stumbling into the end zone. He appeared to grab his hamstring on the way down and was met by trainers as he exited the field. After a brief trip to the locker room, Charles logged a few more carries before his night was done.
By that point, the game was pretty much done, too.
Brady threw a 44-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to Brandon LaFell, who slipped the grasp of cornerback Marcus Cooper to reach the end zone. But he was picked off by Husain Abdullah later in the half, and Abdullah returned the interception 39 yards for a touchdown.
Abdullah was flagged afterward for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the devout Muslim said it had nothing to do with dropping to his knees in prayer. He said the penalty came because he slid to his knees. The lesson learned? "Stop before you drop," Abdullah said.
NOTES: Brady needs 60 yards passing to reach 50,000 for his career. ... Chiefs WR Donnie Avery left the game with a strained groin. ... Kansas City is 5-1 against New England at Arrowhead Stadium. ... LaFell finished with six catches for 119 yards.