Thursday Night Football: Chiefs @ Patriots 9.7.17

The NFL kicked off the 2017 season as the defending champs New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.  The New England Patriots celebrated the season opener with a ring ceremony commemorating their Super Bowl comeback victory engineered by Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Head Coach Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs did not let the ring ceremony intimidate them, but it may have motivated them.

The Patriots started the game looking like they never skipped a beat. Led by Brady, their opening drives looked like business as usual. Using an up-tempo style offense to move the ball, Brady quickly delivered the ball to his playmaker tight end Rob Gronkowski and newly acquired speedster wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Brady was also able to utilize wide receiver Danny Amendola out of the slot. However, his action was limited due to being diagnosed with a head injury. As Amendola was diagnosed with a concussion, the Patriots looked to running backs James White and ex-Buffalo Bills running back Mike Gillislee. Speaking of James White, did anyone else see the mean stiff arm he put on Kansas City DB Terrance Mitchell!?#%! It couldn’t get any worse for the Chiefs as the Patriots turned to Gillislee, who shined in the RedZone and ended the game with 3 touchdowns.

The Chiefs welcomed their on rookie running back Kareem Hunt to the NFL. Unfortunately for the rookie, his first NFL carry was a fumble. Teammates and coaches looked to pump up the rookie as he approached the sideline. It was clear he was disappointed with himself but for some reason, I feel like these are the moments when stars are born. These are the moments where you either become a lost memory the next day or you’re the topic for water cooler talk by all the guys in the office playing fantasy football.

Hunt showed great speed with EXCELLENT hands no matter where he was lined up. The rookie running back showed off his catching ability by catching a big 78-yard touchdown reception. The rookie Hunt also showed a great burst of speed and knack for the end zone. As Kansas City’s defense showed up with several defensive stops on 4th down, the Patriots offense seemed to cool down after a hot 1st half and underrated veteran quarterback Alex Smith looked as seasoned as this chicken I’m about to grill.

En route to a surprising 42-27 win in New England, Smith was consistent and solid. The Chiefs breakout wide receiver Tyreek Hill was utilized all over the field. Head Coach Andy Reid did an amazing job moving him around using different formations. Hill looked very explosive and even more impressive on a huge 3rd quarter 75-yard touchdown reception as he cruised into the end zone untouched.

All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce had a relatively quiet game while New England tight end Rob Gronkowski saw his fair share of targets while battling Kansas City’s All-Pro defensive back Eric Berry. Despite the lopsided loss at home, this is an AFC matchup to keep an eye on as the regular season progresses. I’m sure Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and Brady will be looking to get revenge come playoff time.

Michael Jereld