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Thursday Night in Massachusetts, the New England Patriots opened the season dawning their new Super Bowl rings. Tom Brady, Bill Belicheck and freinds would enter into actual gameplay as a nine point favorites versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
A nine-play, 73 yard touchdown drive had the Patriots fans going wild. Then an ensuing dogfight of a game would unfold. After a fumble ended their first drive, the Chiefs would outscore the Patriots 42-20.
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt exploded for 246 combined yards and three total touchdowns (rushing and recieving) on 22 touches. Tyreke Hill added seven catches for 138 yards and a score. Alex Smith won the quarterback battle going 28-35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns.
Andy Reid seemed to figure out midway through the first quarter that the Patriots linebackers struggle in coverage. A lot of plays were designed to attack the middle of the defense and engage the linebackers. The running gane was fluid and brusing at times. The Chiefs as a team averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the ground.
After their initial drive, the Patriots looked a little out of sync on both sides of the ball. Tom Brady finished with 36 pass attempts but only 16 completions for 267 yards and zero (count em 0) touchdowns.
The Chiefs defense seldomly blitzed and kept thier defense in coverage forcing a lot of underneath passes. Brady rarely had a clean shot downfield. Mike Gillislee ran for all three New England’s touchdowns.
The team did alright on the ground overall considering the three scores but an average of 3.5 yards per carry wont get it done versus a team that is scoring all seven touchdowns. The defense was solid for the first half giving up 14 points.
In the second half, a myriad of problems occurred starting with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Hill of a blown coverage by the secondary. Two drives later, linebacker Dont’a Hightower would leave the field with an apparent knee injury.
After that injury, New England was outscored 21-10 with no points in the fourth quarter. Hunt exploited a matchup against two seldom used linebackers Cassius Marsh and Kyle Van Noy to score a 78 yard touchdown pass.
After the Hightower injury, the Chiefs took advantage of the lack of experience (and talent) by attacking the second level of the Patriots. Forcing their linebackers into coverage situations and controlling the clock with the run, ultimately won the game for Kansas City. They seem to have all the big plays on the Patriots home turf. Brady’s age showed a little bit, especially down the stretch.
Cheifs safety Eric Berry suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles injury late in the fourth quarter.
Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury and did not return.
Smith made history becoming the first signal caller to throw for 300 plus yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions against Patriots head coach Bill Belicheck.
Tom Brady became the thirteenth quarterback to start an NFL game at the age of 40.