Foxboro, Mass. — Drew Bledsoe and the New England Patriots won't soon forget one of the season's least meaningful Monday night matchups.
They picked up a rare victory, beating the Kansas City Chiefs, another team going nowhere, 30-24. Bledsoe threw for a season-high 282 yards and Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals in New England's highest-scoring game of the year.
For a change, the Patriots held on at the end after the Chiefs cut the lead to 30-24 on Elvis Grbac's 19-yard pass to Kevin Lockett with 3:58 left.
Kansas City drove down to the Patriots' 11-yard line but had no timeouts and time expired when Tony Gonzalez was tackled in the middle of the field after a five-yard completion.
In their other Monday night game this season, in Week 2, the Patriots gave up two touchdowns in the last 6:25 and lost to the New York Jets, 20-19.
Two of the previous six Monday night games were decided on last-play field goals, but the Chiefs (5-8) fell short of ending a four-game losing streak with a last-play touchdown.
They gave up two fumbles after losing just four all season and wasted Grbac's 81-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Alexander, who has three scoring catches of over 80 yards in his career plus an 82-yard TD run.
And it came eight days after they suffered the indignity of becoming San Diego's first and only victim of the season. Grbac missed that game with an injured right index finger.
The Patriots (4-9) treated a chilly crowd missing 9,964 no-shows to their best offensive display of a season in which they often faltered in the waning moments of games. They also entered the game with a 7-18 Monday night record, the worst in the AFC.
Bledsoe, who had thrown two touchdown passes in his previous six games, threw two on Monday a 17-yarder to Troy Brown and a 1-yarder to tight end Jermaine Wiggins, signed seven days earlier after being cut by the Jets.
Bledsoe overcame a sore thumb he's played with for four games by completing 33 of 48 passes, including all seven on the drive to Wiggins' touchdown that made it 27-10 with 7:09 left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs marched back, reaching the New England 27, but Otis Smith intercepted Grbac's pass at the 4 and returned it 56 yards. The Patriots couldn't capitalize, as Vinatieri's 37-yard field goal attempt went wide, ending his streak of 16 successful kicks.
Grbac then threw a four-yard scoring pass to Gonzalez, cutting the lead to 27-17 with 13:43 left in the game. But Sylvester Morris' fumble on the Chiefs' next possession was recovered by Tony George and led to Vinatieri's 27-yard field goal with 7:37 remaining.
Vinatieri had given New England a 20-10 lead on the last play of the half with a 53-yard field goal, the second longest of his career. He also hit a 48-yarder on the first series of the game before Todd Peterson tied it with a 42-yard field goal
The Patriots, who had just two touchdowns in their previous three games, scored two in the first half. Kevin Faulk's 1-yard dive gave New England a 10-3 lead and Bledsoe's pass to Brown made it 17-10.
In between those scores, the Chiefs tied the game on Grbac's pass to Alexander. It was Alexander's fourth touchdown of more than 80 yards in two seasons.