Jamaal Charles returned from a sprained right ankle to score three touchdowns, helping the Kansas City Chiefs to a 27-7 lead over the New England Patriots after three quarters Monday night.
Charles missed last week's victory in Miami, but worked out all week and showed no lingering effects. The Pro Bowl running back carried 15 times for 78 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run, and caught a pair of short touchdown passes from Alex Smith.
The second TD catch came after a strip-sack of Tom Brady by linebacker Tamba Hali gave the Chiefs the ball deep in New England territory. Charles caught the pass, turned up field and then stumbled into the end zone, where he appeared to grab the back of his right hamstring.
The injury did not appear serious. Charles was checked out by trainers on the sideline and went to the locker room for a brief period before eventually returning to the game.
Smith was also sharp for the Chiefs, who are trying to end a four-game skid at Arrowhead Stadium. He was 17 of 23 for 216 yards, zeroing in on a pair of targets in Dwayne Bowe and Travis Kelce. The duo combined for 12 catches and 172 yards.
Cairo Santos kicked a 22-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer, which came after the Chiefs were bailed out by a defensive penalty. The Chiefs had been stopped short of the goal line on a pass play with 8 seconds left, but the penalty on the Patriots gave them a second chance.
Kansas City piled up 303 yards of offense in the first half, the most that any team coached by the Patriots' Bill Belichick had allowed in a single half.
Brady, who has been heavily criticized the last three weeks, was off to a miserable start against a banged-up Chiefs defense. Along with the lost fumble, Brady was picked off by Sean Smith later in the third quarter, setting up Santos's second field goal of the night.
Brady was 13 of 21 for 158 yards with his first interception of the season. He did throw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell, who slipped the grasp of cornerback Marcus Cooper and ran untouched the rest of the way for the third-quarter score.
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 their 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 record a noise level of 142.2 decibels — breaking the mark of 137.6 that the Seattle Seahawks' fans had set last season.
The crowd included several members of the Kansas City 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.
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