FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Kansas City Chiefs had won 11 consecutive games in large part by being plus-20 in turnovers.

They were minus-1 on Saturday, and that one helped turn the fortunes against them in a 27-20 loss to the New England Patriots in an AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium.

Kansas City trailed 14-6 when it took the opening kickoff of the second half and swiftly moved to the New England 40. Quarterback Alex Smith threw a short pass to running back Knile Davis as Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones closed in. Jones stripped the ball, linebacker Dont’a Hightower recovered at the 31, and five plays later New England had a 21-6 lead.

“Big-play Chan,” Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard said. “He’s always making plays for us. It was a smart play by him, definitely.”

It was the only turnover of the game, but it swung momentum permanently in New England’s direction. The play was ruled a fumble, then upheld on review.

“I was wishing they would give us the call,” Davis said, “but they didn’t and that’s why they won.”

Jones and Hightower both left late with injuries and were unavailable to speak to reporters. Linebackers Jamie Collins and Jerod Mayo also got hurt during the game, casting a bit of a pall on the win.

“Any time one of your guys goes down your heart goes out to them because you know these guys that you have blood, sweat and tears with all year since training camp,” said reserve linebacker Jonathan Freeny, who had three tackles.

New England defensive back Duron Harmon appeared to have a second turnover on a fourth-down interception in the fourth quarter. But after a review it was ruled he bobbled the ball while landing out of bounds.

That decision actually gave the Patriots 29 yards of field position, but Harmon was still a little miffed to not get credited with a rare pick of Smith, who threw only seven all season.

“It was in between,” Harmon said of his emotions while the play was reviewed. “I was like, ‘All right, let’s get the field position. It will help at this point.’ ”

But there were no mixed emotions about Jones’ play. The defensive end forced four fumbles during the regular season, three of which the Patriots recovered.

Jones also sacked Smith for a 3-yard loss on third down to force a fourth-quarter punt.

“We always talk about it. We want the ball and that’s a play where we had to get it and it was probably the turning point of the game,” Harmon said.

“It was one heck of a play by a great player.”

 


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