Happy Red Friday! What a game that was last night. Let’s recap what worked and what didn’t in the 42-27 beatdown of the New England Patriots.
Welcome to the Red Friday Report! Typically we will be preparing you for Sunday’s games but today we’ve got a breakdown of Thursday’s incredible victory. Before we get into the meat of things, let’s note how incredible this game was to take in!
The roar in that stadium was intense, but pales in comparison to Arrowhead in its full glory. The Patriots looked like they were turning our beloved Chiefs into red and gold doormats. Tom Brady pulled a Philip Rivers with his reactions to being manhandled. Kareem Hunt started off with perhaps the most unlucky career opening play ever with the fumble, but quickly redeemed himself, turning in a game to make Jamaal Charles look like a distant memory. Alex Smith was even making good, accurate deep throws. Now that I have checked that sentence off my list of things I never thought I would write, let’s get into it!
If you ask me, Hunt deserves the MVP of this game. This man showed us what a great start to a NFL career looks like. He gave us a superstar performance, a showcase of his utility talents, and a comeback story all in one game.
Hunt’s first career carry ended unceremoniously when the ball was stripped from his arms for a fumble. Cut him some slack, since he did not have that much control over it. What came after that ugly start, is something to be VERY excited about!
Hunt’s rushing numbers capped off at 17 carries for 148 yards and one touchdown. HIs receiving numbers totalled five receptions for 98 yards and two scores. That is a yards per carry average of 8.7, an insane number for a rookie. Hunt didn’t let the cold start get him down, getting back into the ring and winning that fight. Breaking tackles, making defenders miss. Hunt tore it up last night! Have a game, sir! Have a game!
Smith took all of the criticism levied against him recently and shoved it back in our faces. For this game at least, Smith was not the “game manager” or any other name put on him by his detractors. He was showing off his talent and reminding all of Chiefs Kingdom that he is the starter for now, and we have to just sit back and be patient.
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Remember the noise around Patrick Mahomes through the preseason? Smith put up almost the same stats in one game. For reference, Mahomes completed 34 of 54 passses for 390 yards and four touchdowns through the entirety of the preseason. Smith last night completed 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Like it or not, Smith is the starter for a while longer.
I’ll be more comfortable with the wait for Mahomes if Smith keeps this up. He threw several deep passes on target that went for big-time yardage. The deep bomb to Tyreek Hill in the second quarter was a work of football art. I could not believe my eyes watching Smith last night. He started with the same old stuff, overthinking the reads and not acting fast enough—underthrowing or not throwing the ball fast enough. Then he flipped a switch and became a whole new man out there. This was a treat to watch!
The whole defensive unit
The red and gold defense stepped up big and strong last night. Defenses win championships has never looked more true. If the defensive lineup had played even 1% worse, this game would have opened wide for Tom Brady and the Patriots. The linebacking corps was on fire tonight. Some like Dee Ford were slow warmers, but when they hit the gas, nothing stopped them. Terrance Mitchell turned his atrocious start into a set of smart plays and shut downs.
While I have the linebackers in the spotlight, check out this piece done by one of our own here on the linebackers. It gives a much deeper insight into this crucial piece of the puzzle and how they had a hand in dethroning the Pats.
Once it got going, the defense laid Brady out three times. Two sacks claimed by Justin Houston, and a third taken by Allen Bailey. A triumphant return to form for both of these men. Patriots’ running back Mike Gillislee was also shut down after he started off hot thanks to the defense getting it into gear.
Star safety Eric Berry went down late in the game with an achilles injury. Chiefs fans can only hope that it’s not a muscular tear and that our cancer conquering hero will return next week. The other injury to take note of was Tyreek Hill. It was confirmed that he left the game with cramps in his leg. Nothing serious thankfully, but still scary in the moment. I would get cramps too if I ran all over a team like he did!
The ugly spots
Not everything is pretty to look at and this carries into football. The absolutely childish taunting penalty by Travis Kelce was a showing of immaturity and poor sportsmanship. Kelce has got to grow up and get past that stuff if he is going to become the next Tony Gonzalez.
The penalties were also ugly. Good gracious the Chiefs were penalizing themselves for stupid things left and right. All of those mess ups could have been prevented. Granted, it was the season opener, it was against the Pats, and it was a primetime game. That does not fully excuse the Chiefs for making such awful mistakes. If this isn’t taken care of fast, this season will end in yellow flags and losses.
The special teams unit also was abysmal last night. Dropped kicks and punts, stupid penalties, a failed trick play, and the refusal to run straight ahead plagued them. De’Anthony Thomas must learn to run straight ahead on his returns, only in Madden does it work to reverse the field like he tried to pull off.
All in all, this was a nail biting, spine shivering, adrenaline pumping game. I consider it a real treat to have been able to witness it. The Chiefs went from hot to cold and back again. Here’s to 10 days of rest and a thriller just like this one at Arrowhead when they take on Andy Reid’s old team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Thanks for reading Addicts, happy Red Friday and Go Chiefs!