FOXBOROUGH, Mass., Sporting Alert — Rookie Kareem Hunt and Alex Smith combined for seven touchdowns and the Kansas City Chiefs stunned defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots 42-27 in the NFL season opener on Thursday night.
Smith went 28-of-35 on completed passes for 368 yards with four touchdowns and became the first quarterback with 300-plus yards, four TDs and no interceptions against coach Bill Belichick.
Hunt recovered from fumbling the ball on his first carry of his NFL career to score three times and set an NFL record.
“To start on your first carry like that and have it go like that, it would be hard to overcome for a lot of guys,” Smith said of Hunt. “I thought it was awesome coach coming right back to him.
“There was a good chunk there where we were going as Kareem was going. He was really a big chunk of the offense tonight.
“For a young guy, we put a lot on him, in all facets of the offense tonight, and he was able to handle it.’
Hunt, a rookie from Toledo, carried the ball 17 times for 148 yards and a touchdown and achieved all five of his targets for 98 yards and two added scores.
With his totaled 246 yards from scrimmage, the 22-year-old tallied the most by any player making his NFL debut since the merger in 1970.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: https://youtu.be/6hYFmW18oNA
Tyreek Hill caught seven of his eight targets for 133 yards, including a scoring reception on a 75-yarder for Kansas City, which trailed 17-14 at halftime but scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the favored Patriots.
It was the first time New England, which entered the game with a 75-percent chance to win, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, lost at Gillette Stadium when leading at halftime from the 82 games during that span.
“We’re going to enjoy the heck out of it,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “It’s one of 16 and something to build on.”
Commenting on the opening play of Hunt, Kansas City’s third-round draft pick, Reid added: “It started out just a little bit shaky, but it was all heart. He was trying too hard.”
Tom Brady, meanwhile, completed just 16 of his 36 pass attempts for 267 yards and finished the game without a touchdown pass and no interceptions.
The 40-year-old started brightly after leading a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive on the game’s opening possession.
However, Brady looked indolent for the rest of the night and struggled to keep away from a furious Chiefs pass rush.
Patriots new pickup Mike Gillislee led the way for the defending Super Bowl champions with three short runs and became the first player since Terrell Owens of Philadelphia in 2004 to score three touchdowns in his debut with a new club.
“I just think we need to have more urgency and go out there and perform a lot better,” Brady said.
“It’s a winning attitude, a championship attitude you have to bring every day. We had it handed to us on our own field.”
Wide receiver Danny Amendola, who suffered a head injury and left in the fourth quarter, took six catches for 100 yards in the defeat for New England.
NEXT TIME OUT
Kansas City Chiefs will host Philadelphia on Sept. 17.
New England Patriots leave home to visit New Orleans on Sept. 17 as well.
2nd and Goal at KC 2
(9:49 – 1st) Mike Gillislee 2 Yard Rush S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Cardona, Holder-R.Allen.
Patriots 7, Chiefs 0
3rd and Goal at NE 7
(3:03 – 1st) Demetrius Harris Pass From Alex Smith for 7 Yrds C.Santos extra point is GOOD
Patriots 7, Chiefs 7
4th and 1 at KC 8
(14:56 – 2nd) S.Gostkowski 25 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Cardona, Holder-R.Allen
Patriots 10, Chiefs 7
1st and Goal at KC 2
(7:27 – 2nd) N.Solder reported in as eligible. M.Gillislee left guard for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN. S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Cardona, Holder-R.Allen
Patriots 17, Chiefs 7
2nd and Goal at NE 3
(0:13 – 2nd) Kareem Hunt Pass From Alex Smith for 3 Yrds C.Santos extra point is GOOD
Patriots 17, Chiefs 14
1st and 10 at KC 25
(9:19 – 3rd) Tyreek Hill Pass From Alex Smith for 75 Yrds C.Santos extra point is GOOD
Patriots 17, Chiefs 21
2nd and Goal at KC 1
(5:01 – 3rd) Mike Gillislee 1 Yard Rush S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD
Patriots 24, Chiefs 21
4th and Goal at KC 14
(0:12 – 3rd) S.Gostkowski 31 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Cardona, Holder-R.Allen
Patriots 27, Chiefs 21
1st and 10 at KC 22
(14:07 – 4th) Kareem Hunt Pass From Alex Smith for 78 Yrds C.Santos extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Winchester, Holder-D.Colquitt.
Patriots 27, Chiefs 28
1st and Goal at NE 4
(5:14 – 4th) (Shotgun) K.Hunt right end for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN. C.Santos extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Winchester, Holder-D.Colquitt
Patriots 27, Chiefs 35
1st and 10 at NE 21
(4:00 – 4th) C.West right guard for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN. C.Santos extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Winchester, Holder-D.Colquitt
Patriots 27, Chiefs 42