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Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2002 8:37 PM EDT
NFL RECAP
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New England 41, Kansas City 38 (ot)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Kansas City Chiefs
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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England Patriots
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FOXBORO, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Adam Vinatieri is still kicking game-winning field goals and the New England Patriots still cannot be beat.

Vinatieri's 35-yard kick 4:40 into overtime gave the Patriots their 12th straight victory, a 41-38 triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs .

For the first time this season, the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (3-0) showed some chinks in the armor. They could not stop the run and squandered a 14-point lead at home in the final five minutes of regulation.

"Ultimately, the most important thing is the win," quarterback Tom Brady said. "We're 3-0 and that's the reality. But there was a lot for us to learn from this game. This is pro ball, so there are going to be games like today."

"We didn't come here to achieve respect or prove that we could play with the world champion," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "We came here to win and we didn't."

Kansas City's Priest Holmes , who rushed for 180 yards on 30 carries, banged in from the 1 for the tying touchdown on the final play of regulation. But Brady and David Patten made sure Holmes and his teammates never got the ball again.

After the Patriots won the coin toss, Brady hooked up with Patten on passes of 13 and 22 yards that moved the ball to the Chiefs 22. Brady threw a three-yard pass to fullback Marc Edwards and ran two yards before Vinatieri's kick split the uprights.

"The way I look at it, you never know what kick or what extra point is going to make the difference in the outcome of the game," Vinatieri said. "So in that sense I make sure I go out there with the same mind-set every single time, whether there is no time left or it's the first quarter."

The Patriots have not lost since November 17 against St. Louis. They avenged that loss in the Super Bowl, one of four games during the streak in which Vinatieri has kicked a field goal on the final play.

"I don't think any of those kicks are ever easy," Vinatieri said. "But since I've been there once or twice before, you kind of know what to expect."

"I just am glad that when it came down to the final kick, Adam is the one kicking it for us," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

Brady, Patten and Troy Brown had huge days for the Patriots, who are averaging better than 38 points per game.

Brady completed 39-of-54 passes for 410 yards and four touchdowns, all setting or matching career highs. Patten caught seven passes for 108 yards and a TD.

"Their passing scheme is so well-coached and so well-defined and disciplined," Vermeil said. "They execute their scheme better than anyone I've seen. I credit their coaching staff, and then Brady."

Brown caught a club-record 16 passes for a career-high 176 yards and a score before leaving with an injury midway through the fourth quarter.

"I hope I'm all right," Brown said. "I got a helmet to the knee. It got a little stiff and they decided to hold me out."

Trent Green threw three TD passes for the Chiefs (1-2), who are allowing more than 34 points per game. Green was 16-of-25 for 149 yards and two interceptions.

Brady threw TD passes of 18 yards to Daniel Graham and 38 yards to Patten around Tebucky Jones ' recovery of Holmes fumble, giving New England a 31-17 lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Green threw a 15-yard TD pass to Eddie Kennison to halve the deficit, but the Patriots responded with Antowain Smith 's 42-yard TD run for a 38-24 lead with 6:10 to go. Smith had 92 yards on 16 carries.

Holmes had scoring runs of six and one yards around a three-and-out by the Patriots, forcing overtime. Before the tying TD, Kennison was stopped in bounds at the 1 after a catch, forcing Green to call timeout.

Known for their defense, the Patriots surrendered 221 rushing yards.

"We saw some areas we could attack them in and we definitely were sure to run the ball," Holmes said. "Once you get in the second half, defensive linemen sometimes wear down, and that's when you can run the ball."

After linebacker Mike Maslowski intercepted Brady, Green threw a 14-yard TD pass to Kennison on the first play of the second quarter to give Kansas City a 10-0 lead.

Brady's 23-yard TD pass to running back Kevin Faulk and Vinatieri's 37-yard field goal made it 10-9 at halftime, but Holmes rumbled 25 yards before catching a three-yard TD toss from Green for a 17-9 lead two minutes into the second half.

Brown had seven catches for 67 yards on the next drive, including a nine-yarder for a score. Smith's conversion run pulled the Patriots into a 17-17 tie midway through the third quarter.

"Troy makes the offense go," Brady said. "When in doubt, go to Troy. We've been doing that since I got here."

"We had every kind of penalty you could possibly want and dropped balls and mental errors on defense and mental errors on the kicking game," Belichick said. "But all in all, we did come out of here with a win."

Brown's receptions broke the team record of 13 set by Terry Glenn in 1999 and his yardage was the fourth-highest in club history. The two best games of his career have come against the Chiefs, having compiled 12 catches for 119 yards against them two years ago.


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