2018 AFC Playoffs

Bedard: How did the Patriots’ defense corral Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs?

(Adam Richins for BSJ)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A lot has been said and much more will be written about how the Patriots were able to hold Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to a combined four catches for 65 yards in the Patriots' 37-31 victory on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

There will be a lot of discussion about coverage, and how Jonathan Jones (mostly) did a great job with safety help over the top against Hill, and how J.C. Jackson and then Stephon Gilmore (late) held Kelce in check.

All of that will be true. They covered very well for the most part, and that was a big key for the Patriots.

But it wasn't the biggest reason why the Patriots threw a shutout in the first half and allowed just seven points through three quarters — a head start the Patriots would need every bit of as the Chiefs scored 24 points in the fourth.

The Patriots made Patrick Mahomes look mortal for three quarters because they used two things that have been his kryptonite in his spectacular sophomore campaign: man coverage and, more importantly, pressure.

Mahomes had never seen anything close to what the Patriots unleashed at Arrowhead Stadium.