It sounds daunting, sure, but beginning the campaign on the road also has its sneaky positives. As the road team, you get a chance to ruin someone's home opener, their welcome back in front of their faithful. You get to play spoiler, and leave with the last laugh, a sweet way to begin your own campaign.
No one did this better than the Kansas City Chiefs, who were lined up as the New England Patriots' intended sacrifice on opening night, placed on the table with an apple in their collective mouths as handshakes, high-fives and words of praise were exchanged among reigning champions. After all, it was the night the Patriots revealed their Super Bowl LI banner. The party was all about them.
Except someone forgot to tell the Chiefs.
“I was surprised that New England — that was a good matchup and the Chiefs had a real good team,” Jones said after the Cowboys’ 19-3 victory over the Giants on Sunday. “I know all of these tragic conditions in Florida and in Houston, have had this nation involved in it. I know a lot of other things that normally get ratings are considerably down as people are struggling with these storms.
“Unfortunately in this business you get to enjoy these things (momentarily), then you have to move on,” Reid said. “Now that it’s over, it’s probably the most overrated game of the year because it gets so much publicity. Everyone is so fired up to start the season and get this thing underway, coaches, players, media, fans.”
New England’s defense weighed collectively 300 pounds less than it normally does. Likely as a response to the speed and receiving ability of every skill player on the Chiefs, the Patriots decided to deploy six defensive backs for most of the game — going with a 3-2-6 defensive front. David Harris and Elandon Roberts essentially did not play any meaningful downs.
That’s why sports have always been a grand platform to empower the marginalized. Boxer Muhammad Ali was a master teacher in the practice. Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos knew what they were doing when they raised those black-gloved fists during the national anthem atop the medal podium at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City. The Miami Heat made a powerful statement when they all wore hoodies, heads bowed, hands in their pockets and called for justice for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Because #BlackLivesMatter.
A Patriots spokesman says the field wasn't up to the team's standards, even though it met the safety requirements for both the NFL and Major League Soccer. Spokesman Stacey James says it was the first chance to replace it because the field won't be used for two weeks.
The last time the Chiefs spanked the Pats... was in 2014. It turned their entire season around. They went on to beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. It turned out pretty well for them. It has to be tough being a Chiefs fan in that Alex Smith is a solid QB who rarely makes mistakes and will get you a decent number of wins, but you also know that you’re never going to win a championship with him. But games like Thursday’s are a great reminder that anybody can beat anybody else on any given day, and the Patriots will be using this game as fuel for the entire season.
At Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology, 90 percent of all parlays that featured the Thursday night game had the Patriots. Plus, the book took a $23,000 money-line bet on New England -470. The bet would have netted around $5,000, instead the customer is out $23,000.
"It was a really big number," CG Technology vice president of risk Jason Simbal said of his book's win on Thursday.
Berry’s presence would have been nice to have in the building Monday, when the Chiefs began refocusing their efforts toward their Week 2 opponent, Philadelphia. But instead, thanks to the injury, Berry was forced to travel to Green Bay, Wis., on Monday to see Dr. Bob Anderson, who heads up the NFL’s foot and ankle committee and performed the repairs on both of inside linebacker Derrick Johnson’s torn Achilles.
“He’s respected as the best foot and ankle surgeon in the country,” Chiefs head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said Monday.
It really seems like just a few weeks ago that I was sadly churning away through the all-22 film of Kansas City’s loss to Pittsburgh in the playoffs, trying to figure out where it all went wrong. Well time flies, and apparently things change (for at least a week). Because here we are, getting ready for another year of Alex Smith all-22 reviews. In the meantime, the Chiefs went and drafted Patrick Mahomes, which gives these a whole new feel to me.
Following a stunning 42-27 victory over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on the showcase Thursday Night Football game to open the NFL regular season, the Chiefs open up against the Eagles as a 4.5 point favorite.
It was quite telling that the Eagles did not dress Douglas, and it appears that his inconsistent preseason led the team to view him as more of a long-term developmental project and playing him in Week 2 would certainly go against that plan.
On third downs, Wentz’s passer rating Sunday was 158.3, and he averaged 13.4 yards per attempt in those situations.
Wentz’s mobility could cause the Chiefs some problems. Here is an example of how he extended a play against Washington.
Secretly the best part of the video is hearing some of Mitch Holthus’s calls on the Chiefs big runs. I watched the NBC broadcast so I actually hadn’t heard some of these calls. The one where Kareem Hunt is running down the left sideline late in the game was a great reaction from Holthus. You can always feel the excitement with him.
The Chiefs decided to give the Patriots no cushion at all, with Danny Amendola (2.8 yards of cushion, 2nd), Rob Gronkowski (2.9, 3rd), and Brandin Cooks (3.5, 6th) ranking at the bottom of the league in space. Kansas City didn’t want to give any of these players a free release out of the snap and their decision to provide zero cushion prevented the Patriots from throwing any quick passes.