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Chiefs put end to Patriots' perfect season talk

By MIKE SHALIN
The Sports Xchange

September 08. 2017 12:57AM
Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce celebrates a fourth-quarter touchdown by Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt during Thursday's game at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Alex Smith threw for four touchdown passes, rookie running back Kareem Hunt scored three times after fumbling away the first carry of his pro career and the Kansas City Chiefs spoiled the Patriots’ Super Bowl celebration with a stunning 42-27 upset of New England in the NFL season opener Thursday night.

The Patriots had been 81-0 at Gillette Stadium when leading at the half in the regular season, and 95-1 counting postseason before the Chiefs came back from a 17-14 halftime deficit.

Smith was 28 of 35 for 368 yards and hit Tyreek Hill and Hunt with touchdown bombs of 75 and 78 yards, respectively.

Hunt, who became the starter when Spencer Ware was lost for the season during the preseason, ran for seven yards but coughed the ball up on his first carry. But went on to run for 148 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries and catch five passes for 98 yards and two TDs.

Hunt’s late 58-yard run preceded a 21-yard TD run by Charcandrick West with four minutes left, as the Chiefs ran up 536 yards of offense and scored on drives in 90, 92 and 90 yards.

The Patriots, who lost Julian Edelman for the year during the preseason, saw Dont’a Hightower leave the game in the third quarter with a right leg injury and Danny Amendola leave in the fourth to enter concussion protocol.

The Patriots had won eight straight season openers.

Tom Brady was just 16 of 36 for 267 yards in the loss, six of the completions to Amendola, who had his eighth career 100-yard game.

New England Patriots offensive tackle Marcus Cannon looks on during Thursday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Gillislee, making his Patriots debut, scored all three New England touchdowns, making him the first player with three rushing TDs in his first game with a new team since Marshall Faulk in 1994.

Smith became the first Chiefs QB with two touchdown passes of at least 75 yards in a game since Len Dawson did it to the Boston Patriots in 1968. He is the second quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards and at least four TDs with no interceptions against a Bill Belichick defense.

Hunt became the third player ever — the first since Faulk in ’94 — with 150 scrimmage yards and three scores in his debut.

Hill caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Gillislee scored his first touchdown twice. He went in form two yards out but offsetting penalty brought it back and he scored again two plays later, capping the opening drive.

Rookie Kareem Hunt then fumbled away his first NFL carry after a seven-yard game and Brady hit Gronkowski with a 20-yard touchdown that was also called back — this one upon review — and Gillislee was stopped on a fourth and less than a yard at the 10.

Smith then went 7 of 8 through the air to bring his team 90 yards to a 7-7 tie, with Smith drilling a seven-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Harris.

The KC defense then made a big third-down stop on James White and the Patriots went ahead 10-7 on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal and Gillislee scored his second TD to make it 17-7.

The Chiefs started a drive at their own 8 and were sent back to the 4 on a penalty, but Smith brought them down the field again, with a 20-yard pass interference penalty against Malcolm Butler in the end putting the ball at the New England 1.

After a two-yard loss, it was Smith to Hunt for the TD with 13 seconds left and it was 17-14 at the half.

Notes: The Patriots placed WR Malcolm Mitchell on IR, with a chance to return after eight games, with a knee injury and activated OL Ted Karras from the practice squad. … New England was also missing special teams captain Matthew Slater (hamstring) and fellow special teamer Nate Ebner (shoulder) and DL Vincent Valentine (back). 

… Towels were handed out in the parking lot depicting commissioner Roger Goodell with a clown nose and he heard the boos when he appeared on the field an hour before kickoff. … Mark Wahlberg emceed the pregame ceremony. … Dylan Wagner, who led authorities to Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jersey, was a guest of the Patriots, receiving a gift bag and a Brady jersey from owner Robert Kraft hours before the game. … The Chiefs host and Philadelphia Eagles and the Patriots visit New Orleans Sept. 17.


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