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Week 1 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 42, New England Patriots 27

What you need to know

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the NFL season by shocking the New England Patriots, 42-27 in a week one win. It wasn’t just that the Chiefs won, but how they pulled off their victory. Gone was the ball control offense of years past, replaced by a more up-tempo passing game that showcased the speed that the Chiefs have at the skill positions. Alex Smith was 28 of 35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing five times for three years. Rookie Kareem Hunt was the star of the night, rushing 17 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, and chipping in five catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Tyreek Hill continued to be a force on offense, catching seven passes for 133 yards and one touchdown. Travis Kelce was largely quite for the night, catching five passes for 40 yards.

New England Patriots

Danny Amendola was the top target but left with a concussion. Rob Gronkowski was shut down by Eric Berry, and Chris Hogan was shut down by Marcus Peters. Mike Gillislee had the full LeGarrette Blount role and scored three times, limiting Tom Brady's line on a tough night for the quarterback.

Kansas City Chiefs

QB Alex Smith, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 35 - 368 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 3 - 0
Alex Smith played the game of his life against the Patriots in week one, completing 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Smith has survived in the NFL by being an extremely accurate passer, while minimizing his mistakes and keeping his team in the game. He displayed a willingness to take shots down the field that was not there in recent years, which is interesting considering the Chiefs let Jeremy Maclin- who is more of a prototypical #1 wide receiver than Hill- go in the off season. Smith’s best asset is his accuracy, and he did an incredible job of hitting his wide receivers in stride to take advantage of their speed on the outside. He was able to connect on a 75 yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill, and a 78 yard touchdown to Kareem Hunt. A lack of explosive plays have kept the Chiefs from advancing in the playoffs in recent years, but if Thursday was any indication of things to come in Kansas City, the AFC may have a new representative in the Super Bowl this season.

RB Kareem Hunt, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 148 - 1, Rec: 5 - 98 - 2 (5 targets)
Spencer Ware’s injury may have been a blessing in disguise for the Chiefs, as Ware’s plodding nature was replaced by Kareem Hunt’s bruising running style that was able to wear down the Patriots defense. After fumbling on the first run of his career, Hunt rebounded to rush 17 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, while also catching five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Hunt did not look the part of a rookie, wasting no motion behind the line of scrimmage and routinely getting downhill and attacking the second level of Patriots defenders. His offensive line did a great job neutralizing the Patriots defensive line, and then Hunt made the secondary pay time after time. Considering the fact that Hunt was able to break off a 58 yard run, and a 78 yard touchdown catch, the Chiefs would be wise to get him the ball as much as possible in the coming weeks.

WR Tyreek Hill, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 7 - 133 - 1 (8 targets)
Tyreek Hill got off to a fast start this season, catching seven passes for 133 yards and one touchdown against a talented Patriots secondary. This included a 75 yard touchdown catch where Hill ran a straight go route and left the Patriots secondary in the dust. Alex Smith delivered an accurate pass that traveled around 50 yards in the air, which is about as far as Smith has ever been able to throw the ball. There was not a Patriots defender within 15 yards of Hill when he caught the ball, which is a testament to his blazing speed as well as the Patriots being caught off guard by the Chiefs running deep routes. It is obvious that the Chiefs view Hill as their #1 receiver, and will use him in a variety of ways to get him the ball in space. He’s as exciting a player as there is in the NFL right now.

TE Travis Kelce, 67 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 5 - 40 - 0 (7 targets)
After putting the Chiefs offense on his back last season, Kelce was largely a spectator in Kansas City’s week one win against the Patriots. He caught five passes for 40 yards on nine targets, and although he did not have a great game by his standards, he played a big role in freeing up both Hunt and Hill in space. The Patriots came into the game knowing that Kelce could beat them in the middle of the field, and they game planned against that. What they hadn’t considered was that by focusing their defenders between the hash marks, they were giving the Chiefs exactly what they wanted, space on the outside to showcase their blazing speed. This was evident on Tyreek Hill’s 75 yard touchdown catch. Hill and Kelce were lined up tight on the right side of the formation. Kelce took the inside position and immediately started up the center of the field, while Hill faked like he was running an eight yard out-route to the right sideline. As Kelce continued veering inside, the safety help over the top took an angle on him. Instead of breaking off his route, Hill went to the right sideline and then up the field on a double move. The result was a long touchdown where there was not a Patriots defender within the camera frame of Hill as he caught the ball. Without Kelce running his route the way he did, there is no way the Patriots leave Hill on the outside with no safety help over the top. It was one of those rare instances where a play works out perfectly, especially against such a talented and disciplined team like the Patriots.

New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 81 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 36 - 267 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0
If it seems like it's been years since Tom Brady has played this poorly, you're right. It was clear that the offense missed safety valve Julian Edelman, and Brady showed some serious rust, missing several throws he would normally make. It started with the first throw of the game, when Brady overthrew a wide open Dwayne Allen on a medium length pass. To be fair, there were often times his receivers were blanketed throughout several plays. The 27 points the Patriots put up were also aided by an inordinate amount of Chiefs penalties. Make no mistake ñ the offense did not look good. Brady zero touchdowns could have been different as there were two P.I. instances in the end zone, which gave the running game the scores instead. Danny Amendola was also concussed during the game, which takes away an additional safety blanket for Brady. Going forward, Brady is too good to have more performances like this, but the offense may take some time to gel.

RB Mike Gillislee, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 45 - 3
Gillislee operated as the clear goal line back, which was notable. It was an up and down game for Gillislee, who did score three times on short runs, but also whiffed on a couple key conversions, including on fourth down. His weekly touches may be volatile given the Patriots' stable of running backs, but it seems like the goal line touches will be his.

RB James White, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 38 - 0, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (5 targets)
Despite having running back competition, White operated as the clear third down and hurry up back, even splitting wide at times. White also ran the ball 10 times, which indicates he'll be involved in the offense going forward. One of his blemishes was a route which wasn't run with proper depth, allowing Kansas City to tackle him just before the first down marker. With injuries to Edelman and Danny Amendola, White may be relied upon even more for third downs, which is critical for his forward outlook.

RB Rex Burkhead, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets)
Though he was hyped coming into the game, Burkhead only played 10 of 81 snaps for the Patriots offense. The semi-good news is that he was targeted or touched the ball on 6 of those snaps, including one end zone target. Even though this backfield will likely be fluid, Burkhead's role seems minimal right now.

RB Dion Lewis, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0
Lewis was the odd man out in the backfield, only receiving a couple carries. He did look good on a 5 yard gain he had, but his role seems fairly small right now.

WR Danny Amendola, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 100 - 0 (7 targets)
The good news was that Amendola was one of Brady's preferred targets and paced the team in receptions and yards. The bad news is that Amendola was concussed in the second half of the game, and may be looking at an absence from games. The injury actually happened on a punt return, an area the Patriots are extremely thin at right now. Amendola also lost a fumble, which is a big no-no in Patriots world, and ran a crucial route just short of the first down line, a clear mental error. Amendola will be a factor when healthy, but that ‘when' is anyone's guess.

WR Chris Hogan, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (5 targets)
Expectations were high for Hogan, but he simply could not produce against the Chiefs. He was well covered for most of the game, and in fact had more carries than catches, as the Patriots used him on 3 reverse sweeps with mixed results. Hogan should see more success in the future, but will remain a volatile asset on a week to week basis.

WR Brandin Cooks, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 88 - 0 (7 targets)
Brandin Cooks had a couple highlights on the day, but still has some work to do in terms of rapport with Tom Brady. He showed off his wheels on a 54 yard deep catch, which he caught in stride. Cooks also drew two critical P.I. penalties in the Chiefs end zone, setting up touchdowns for Mike Gillislee. Expect him to be a huge part of the game plan for the year with Patriots receiver injuries mounting up.

TE Rob Gronkowski, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (6 targets)
Gronk was well covered throughout most of the night by Eric Berry. His most notable play was a near touchdown catch that would have been a great diving grab, but upon further review, the ball dislodged itself when he hit the floor. Beyond that, it was a very quiet day, but things will get better soon given the injuries mounting up for the Patriots receiving corps.