Patriots Fall Flat in Season Opener, Chiefs Offense Shines

The NFL season kicked off Thursday night with the Kansas City Chiefs entering Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, who were favored by nine points in Vegas. However, the night didn’t go quite as expected for the Boston faithful. The Chiefs shocked the nation with their strong offensive performance in a 42-27 victory over the Pats.

There were a lot of takeaways and storylines from this game. First and foremost has to be the play of Kansas City QB Alex Smith and rookie RB Kareem Hunt. Smith completed 80.0% of his passes, throwing for 368 yards and four touchdowns, with a near-perfect 148.6 quarterback rating. Kareem Hunt had 246 combined yards (148 rushing, 98 passing) with three touchdowns, while averaging 8.7 yards per carry. Hunt was patient with the football in his NFL debut, and was able to easily find holes in the Patriots defense.

Speaking of the Patriots defense, it was arguably their worst performance of the decade. Their 42 allowed points is the most allowed in a game in the Bill Belichick era in New England. Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was unable to draw up anything to stop the air or ground game all night, allowing 537 total yards, the 4th most in New England history, and again, the most in the Belichick era.

New England QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski looked rusty, to put it kindly. Brady completed just 44.4% of his passes, totaling 267 yards, and was held scoreless. Gronkowski caught just two passes for 33 yards. Brady was working with all the time in the world, with the Chiefs often rushing only three defenders, and was still having trouble breaking through the Chiefs secondary. Gronkowski was covered most of the night by star Kansas City DB Eric Berry, who did a phenomenal job halting the production of the best tight end in football.

If there was a bright spot for New England, it was RB Mike Gillislee. Though Gillislee only ran for 45 yards, he was by far the most productive Patriot, scoring three touchdowns.

There were also several injuries of note:

  • Kansas City Chiefs
    • DB Eric Berry
      • Left with an achilles injury, could be torn
    • WR Tyreek Hill
      • Left with cramps, should be ready by next week
  • New England Patriots
    • WR Danny Amendola
      • Left with head injury (concussion protocol), extent of injury unknown at this time
    • LB┬áDont’a Hightower
      • Left with knee injury, extent of injury unknown at this time

The Chiefs showed up tonight. It’s as simple as that. They proved that this New England team isn’t perhaps as daunting as we originally thought. It’s still way too early in the season to make huge claims and leaps, but what we saw go down in Foxborough tonight was certainly eye-opening.

Sam Smith

Sam has been with MSB since 2015. He covers stories ranging from all things Maryland to breaking national stories, specializing in the NFL, and college football and basketball. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, where he attends Southern Methodist University (SMU).

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