On a night where everything was cranked up to 11, we got quite the show to open the NFL season.
First, let’s set the stage. The Patriots got the festivities starting right about an hour before kick-off with some trolling of the Falcons and the ring ceremony for the Super Bowl winning team of a year ago.
On Twitter, Barstool Sports got some push for handing out towels with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a clown nose to all the fans coming into the game, more than 45,000 in all. The bad PR was so rough that Goodell actually conducted the ring ceremony before kickoff so to be off the field in time for the Pats’ fans to make their way into the stadium before they could boo him. Yikes.
A buddy comes through with a great shot of Goodell on the field, surrounded by clown towels pic.twitter.com/WYO0EiA26y
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 7, 2017
Anyways, onto the game. The Patriots got things started in the way you would expect, rattling off a touchdown drive utilizing their new weapons in Brandin Cooks and Mike Gillislee.
Mike Gillislee two touchdowns on his first drive as a Patriot pic.twitter.com/kslbcfhbhl
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) September 8, 2017
The Chiefs’ much-hyped rookie running back Kareem Hunt would get his first touch to open the season on that next drive and cough it up, and things weren’t looking right for Andy Reid and the Chiefs.
But it started to swing as the second half drew to a close. The Chiefs would score before the half on a pass to Kareem Hunt to cap off a 90-yard drive, their second of what would be five drives on the night of 75+ yards.
Tyreek Hill’s 5th game in a row with a touchdown 60 yards or longer pic.twitter.com/n9c9XSOcGX
— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) September 8, 2017
After halftime, the Patriots again got knocked back. Highlight reel playmaker Tyreek Hill took a pass from Alex Smith 75 yards to the house and made the internet buzz with a “peace” sign to the Patriots defense as he broke away down the sideline.
The Patriots answered, however, with Mike Gillislee getting his third rushing touchdown of the game and a Stephen Gostkowski field goal pushing the champs to a six-point lead entering the fourth quarter. All things seemed normal.
But in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs blew the game wide open. Kareem Hunt opened the first minute by sprinting 78 yards to give the Chiefs the lead. And on the very next drive, Hunt got his first rushing touchdown of the game to put the Chiefs up eight.
The Chiefs put the last nail in the coffin on their final drive with a 58-yard Hunt run followed up with a Charcandrick West 21-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs a 42-27 win in Foxboro.
Wow. Alex Smith to Kareem Hunt for a 78-yard touchdown. That fumble from the opening possession is long behind him. pic.twitter.com/NizdL5JN5L
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 8, 2017
Gillislee isn’t the only hat trick 👀
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) September 8, 2017
Just like we drew it up. The game was a lot of near-firsts for many people. For the Patriots, it was the first time in 105 games they have lost while leading going into the fourth quarter. It was also Brady’s first opening loss in five years.
But the storylines around the surprising loss are even more interesting.
Kansas City has exploded into the limelight with a new-look team. ‘Check-down’ Alex Smith got going with the longball in a curious shift from the QB we’ve gotten to know. He slung the ball all over the field, using his new running back, as well as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. If this is the new Chiefs offense, this is scary.
“How TF did Alex Smith outplay me at home” pic.twitter.com/p2ImYgLxYB
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 8, 2017
But the real story for Kansas City was the breakout of Kareem Hunt. After fumbling on his first NFL carry, Hunt produced the most all-purpose yards ever for an NFL debut, gaining 239 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
One NFL game played.
One NFL record broken. pic.twitter.com/bTmspO5zRn
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 8, 2017
— Brian Chojnacki (@BroadcastingBri) September 8, 2017
Even though they lost Eric Berry, who was carted off the field, the Chiefs look really, really good. Prayers up for Berry, though.
Injuries are taking over this game. First Hightower, then Danny, then Tyreke Hill and now its All-Pro Eric Berry. The crowd is dead silent.
— Savage Sports (@SavageSports2) September 8, 2017
For the Pats, they lost Amendola and featured a sluggish looking Gronk, who aside from the touchdown barely produced in the passing game. But then again, neither did anyone else. Brady completed just 16 of 36 passes, by far his lowest completion percentage in two seasons. The QB looked flustered, with him being sacked three times and solid coverage from the Chiefs all night.
That New England Defense pic.twitter.com/sky9GFcauX
— Olujimi (@Boaz_AD) September 8, 2017
But things were much, much worse on defense for New England. The Chiefs drove the ball on long fields all night, with five scoring drives over 75 yards. In all, the Pats gave up a mind-boggling 535 yards of offense to Kansas City, by far the most by a Bill Belichick-coached team. They also surrendered the most points ever under Belichick. Oh, and they lost linebacker Dont’a Hightower, their best defender, to an apparent knee injury.
And things don’t get easier for the Pats: they welcome the explosive Drew Brees and New Orleans in their next matchup.
Damn New England Patriots defense has Drew Brees next? pic.twitter.com/b6ohRQrytA
— k a y (@SportsUnicorn) September 8, 2017
While it was just game one, we got treated to a fireworks display of epic proportions to open the NFL season. And in this game we already have so much to talk about. Are the Patriots overrated, or will Tom and company figure it out like always? And are the Chiefs the new darlings of the AFC?
I can’t wait to get the rest of these games underway.
See you Sunday.