Patriots: 3 best non-Super Bowl playoff games of the decade

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The Patriots have been in the playoffs every year of the past decade.

The Patriots have had a first-round bye in the playoffs for nine of the past 10 seasons, and they just snapped a streak of three straight Super Bowl appearances. There’s no doubt New England was the cream of the crop in the NFL this past decade, with three big game victories to their name.

But championships aside, a few memorable playoff games may have gotten lost in the shuffle, considering the Pats have been to too many to even count. Let’s take a look at the best non-Super Bowl playoff games for the team from 2010-2019.

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

3. 2018 AFC Championship vs Chiefs

The Patriots went into Arrowhead the underdog, but came out with the Lamar Hunt trophy.

You’d be lying if you said you weren’t nervous heading into Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs in January 2019. Yes, New England had beaten Kansas City in Foxborough earlier that season by a mark of 43-40, but the Patriots were hanging on for dear life. They were up 24-9 at the half, but found themselves down 33-30 halfway through the fourth quarter.

The Patriot killers, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, torched New England again just as they had done when the Pats had dropped their championship banner the year prior. The regular-season game was nerve-wracking, and a Stephen Gostkowski field goal was able to let 65,000 fans take a big sigh of relief.

In the AFC Championship Game, we got lightning striking twice.

New England shut out the Chiefs in the first half, leading 14-0, but in the second half, 41-year-old Tom Brady had to go blow for blow with young phenom Patrick Mahomes. Again, it felt as if the game was slipping out of the Patriots’ hands.

Speaking of hands, a Julian Edelman dropped pass led to an interception (two plays after he nearly muffed a punt), and the Chiefs capitalized with a Damien Williams touchdown. Then came overtime, after the Pats and Chiefs matched scores throughout a frenzied second half, nearly ended early by a Brady pick, which Dee Ford nullified. The game was tied 31-31.

Then, the real magic happened. Brady converted three third and longs to keep the Patriots’ drive alive, and Rex Burkhead was able to pound the ball into the end zone, capping off an improbable victory.

The Pats were underdogs, had an aging quarterback, and limped their way into the postseason after uncharacteristically losing two games in December. But they got the job done, and then defeated the Rams in the Super Bowl.

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