The National Football League got off to a great start as the Kansas City Chiefs walked away from Foxborough with a big win over pre-season favourites, the New England Patriots.
After looking like they would be blown away within the first five minutes, the Chiefs recovered and went on to outscore a Patriots offense that had been the comeback kings last season in the Super Bowl.
Hunt and the Chiefs defense put on a show
On his first ever NFL start, Kareem Hunt had a night to remember. The rookie running back fumbled the ball on his first run but quickly recovered to have a big night and help his team to an unlikely victory. Hunt finished the night with 148 total rushing yards and one touchdown as he worked his way back into the game and past the Patriots defensive line. Hunt was just as influential in the passing game, finishing with 98 total yards, five receptions and two touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, the KC defense picked themselves up after they looked to be headed towards a massive loss at the hands of the Patriots. The defense made vital fourth down stops throughout the game and also managed to defend the red zone well in key moments. The Chiefs finished with three sacks on the night but their ability to limit the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks were what led them to victory. At the heart of that performance were safeties Eric Berry and Marcus Peters who not only tackled well all night but also ensured that any throws coming their way did not reach their intended target.
Smith wins the battle of the quarterbacks
Pre-game predictions and discussions had all been about Tom Brady but it was Alex Smith who was the best quarterback of the game. Smith was not only accurate, completing 28 of his 35 attempts for four touchdowns, but his mobility allowed him to keep drives going and complete them once they reached the red zone. The offensive line kept Smith clean and allowed him the time and space to make the best passes for his team. The Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes II this year but the rookie will have a hard time dislodging Smith after a performance like that.
For Brady, this will be a night that he will want to forget quickly. Brady finished with no touchdowns on the night and completed less than half of his attempted passes, 16 out of 36. The Chiefs defense may have taken until late in the game to finally bring him down but their secondary were immense and made it difficult for any of Brady's receivers to get open and make the catches they needed to win the game.
New England will most probably bounce back from this loss but it does give the rest of the NFL an opportunity to see where the Patriots are weakest and try to use those weaknesses against them in the coming months. The Patriots had to rely on their running game to pick up touchdowns, most notably Mike Gillislie, but will not want to do that in every game.
Injuries on both teams could be a cause for concern
New England's injury woes worsened tonight as they lost both Danny Amendola and Dont'a Hightower during the course of the game. Amendola was set to star for the Patriots after they lost Julian Edelman during preseason but now, the offense is looking very thin at the wide receiver position and they have lost their two best slot receivers.
On the defensive side of the ball, things are even worse for the Patriots. They do not have a true replacement for Hightower and as shown tonight, his loss limits what they can do as a unit and takes a lot away from their pass rush. Defensive head coach Matt Patricia will have his work cut out for him moving forward if the Patriots want to finish top of their division.
Kansas City's Berry left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury and though they do have replacements for Berry at safety, the all-Pro defensive back is almost impossible to replace. The Chiefs will have to make some adjustments in their secondary as they try to figure out how long Berry will be out for in the next few days.