Jamell Fleming

Patriots Send Loud, Clear Message: We're Back

Patriots Send Loud, Clear Message: We're Back

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Games, particularly playoff games, are not won on the first drive. Yet the Patriots' first drive Saturday, an 11-play, 80-yard near masterpiece, did more than put seven points up on the Gillette Stadium scoreboard.

It sent a message, a loud and clear message:


Gronk? Here.

Julian? Here.

Danny? Here.

All sorts of names from both sides of the football were on the injury list during the week before this 27-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs that pushed the Patriots to their fifth consecutive AFC Championship game. All the important names found their way on to the field.

Nothing — nothing — is more frightening to...