Eagles

Kareem Hunt, Alex Smith help Chiefs stun champion Patriots in NFL opener

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Kareem Hunt, Alex Smith help Chiefs stun champion Patriots in NFL opener

BOX SCORE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Winning at New England when the Patriots are coming off an historic Super Bowl victory is worth getting a little wild over.

That's not the Kansas City Chiefs' style. Not even when a rookie is setting records.

Kareem Hunt, after fumbling on his first NFL carry, scored three times and set an NFL mark in a 42-27 stunner Thursday night to open the NFL season. Hunt's 246 yards in his pro debut were a record since the 1970 merger.

"We're going to enjoy the heck out of it," coach Andy Reid said after a superb second half carried his team. "It's one of 16 and something to build on."

Judging by how they won, it certainly is. There were big plays all over the field. The Chiefs, not the Patriots, were making them. Particularly Hunt.

"It started out just a little bit shaky, but it was all heart," Reid said of the third-round draft pick. "He was trying too hard."

Alex Smith threw two long touchdown passes and became the first quarterback with 300-plus yards, four TDs and no interceptions against coach Bill Belichick. The 42 points were the most the Patriots have allowed in Belichick's 17-plus seasons.

Coming off their sensational Super Bowl rally to a fifth Lombardi Trophy, the Patriots faded badly in the second half. A raucous sold-out crowd of 65,878 celebrated the unveiling of yet another championship banner, and there was plenty of talk about Tom Brady leading them to a 19-0 record.

After Week 1, though, they are winless.

"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."

It was the first time the Patriots lost at Gillette Stadium when leading at halftime, a span of 82 games. They were no match for the Chiefs in the last two periods.

Tyreek Hill scored on a 75-yarder and Hunt put the Chiefs in front with a 78-yarder to punctuate Kansas City's charge after trailing 17-14 at halftime. Hunt also had a 58-yard scamper and finished with 148 yards rushing and 98 receiving. Hill had 133 yards through the air, and Smith went 28 for 35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions.

"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, from Toledo. "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.'

Brady, the 13th quarterback to start an NFL game at age 40, didn't look too spry. He struggled mightily in the second half and didn't throw for a touchdown, finishing 16 for 36 for 267 yards.

"Just a very poor effort and we'll have to do a lot better," Brady said. "Didn't make a lot of plays tonight, actually."

Patriots newcomer Mike Gillislee scored on three short runs, becoming the first player since Terrell Owens of Philadelphia in 2004 to score three touchdowns in his debut with a new team.

And Kansas City aided the Patriots' cause with 15 penalties for 139 yards. Yet, in the end, the Chiefs looked like world-beaters.

At the beginning, it seemed like an extension of February's Super Bowl. Riled up, Brady and the Patriots tore through the opposing defense as if it belonged to, well, the Falcons, scoring in nine plays, with Gillislee surging in from the 2.

One play later, they were at it again as Hunt fumbled. The Patriots took over at the Kansas City 32 and appeared to go up 14-0 on Rob Gronkowski's diving catch. Then a replay review overturned the score, with NFL headquarters -- which now makes final decisions on such reviews -- determining the ball hit the ground as Gronk came down in the end zone.

Gillislee was stopped on fourth-and-inches at the KC 10 and the Chiefs, looking very much like the host team, marched 90 yards in 12 plays. Hunt made up for his early gaffe by gaining 25 yards on the tying drive, which Smith capped with a sharp 8-yard pass to Demetrius Harris.

The teams traded long touchdown drives, New England going 82 yards to Gillislee's second TD, the Chiefs covering 92 yards at the end of the half before Hunt ran in with a 3-yard swing pass.

Stephen Gostkowski's 25-yard field goal was the margin for New England's halftime edge.

But the crowd's fervor was silenced with Hill's long touchdown on which prized free agent addition cornerback Stephon Gilmore was torched. Hunt sped down the middle behind linebacker Kyle Van Noy and DE/LB Cassius Marsh to put Kansas City in front for good.

Short yardage
New England failed twice in the first quarter on short-yardage runs, by Gillislee and Super Bowl hero James White, and again in the fourth period, by Gillislee. If anyone proclaimed the Patriots were missing RB LeGarrette Blount, who scored 18 TDs last season and was a beast in such situations, well, Gillislee, who came from Buffalo as a restricted free agent, ran in for a pair of 2-yard touchdowns and a 1-yarder.

Roger, Roger
Not only did the crowd revel in the video highlights from the Super Bowl, the fans booed vigorously when Commissioner Roger Goodell was shown talking on the sideline Chiefs owner Clark Hunt during warmups. A website distributed thousands of towels featuring Goodell's face adorned with a clown nose, and many fans also had T-shirts with the caricature. Goodell watched the game from a suite, but not with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Injuries
Kansas City's star safety Eric Berry was carted off with 4:56 remaining with an Achilles tendon injury that Reid feared was a tear that would sideline Berry for the season.

The Patriots lost perhaps their best defensive player, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, in the third quarter with a knee injury. His absence showed on Hunt's long TD reception. ... WR Danny Amendola left in the fourth quarter with a head injury. He's projected as New England's slot receiver with Julian Edelman out for the season.

Up next
Chiefs: Host Philadelphia on Sept. 17.

Patriots: Visit New Orleans on Sept. 17.

Eagles' Super Bowl odds dip after Carson Wentz injury

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USA Today Images

Eagles' Super Bowl odds dip after Carson Wentz injury

Carson Wentz's injury is obviously a blow to the Eagles, but the oddsmakers out in Vegas still like them ... just not as much as the Vikings.

The Birds, who began last week as 6/1 favorites in the NFC, now sit at 9/1 according to Bovada after the costly division-clinching win over the Rams in LA on Sunday that cost Wentz his season with a torn left ACL.

While not a huge hit, the dip in odds still dropped the Eagles from the favorites perch in the NFC. Now Minnesota is the conference favorite at 8/1. The Vikings, who lost to Carolina on Sunday, were 17/2 at the beginning of last week.

So, if we read into the odds, the Wentz injury, according to oddsmakers, helps the Vikings more than it hurts the Eagles. Super Bowl 52, of course, will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings.

The Rams (12/1 to 16/1) and Saints (10/1 to 14/1) also saw drops this week after losses. The Packers saw the biggest jump in the NFC, going from 33-1 to 18-1 after an OT win and Cleveland and with Aaron Rodgers return on the horizon.

Heading into next week's game at the Giants, the Eagles sit as the top seed in the NFC with the Vikings, Rams and Saints following in order.

Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

Doug Pederson took to the lectern at the NovaCare Complex early Monday afternoon to deliver the horrible, yet inevitable, news the entire city hoped would never come. 

Carson Wentz did indeed tear his left ACL. 

His magical 2017 season is over. 

From the time Wentz walked off the field with a knee injury late in the third quarter on Sunday afternoon, some fans immediately gave into the gloom, while others tried to hold out hope. 

In the end, everyone is disappointed. 

"I hate it for Carson Wentz," Pederson said. "I hate it for the season that he's been having. But at the same time, it's been the next-man-up mentality and that's how we approach it." 

Pederson claimed he believes his team can overcome this monumental loss. He believes in Nick Foles, who will now take over as the team's starting quarterback. 

But for a team that has already suffered huge losses this season, this one hurts the most. Wentz had been playing at an MVP level in his second NFL season and just broke the Eagles' record for touchdown passes in a season. 

That record 33rd touchdown pass came four plays after Wentz tore his left ACL on a play where he dove into the end zone for a touchdown that was called back. Wentz finished the drive even with the significant injury and his toughness left his teammates in awe (see story).

Pederson said that while watching the film of that diving play, it appeared Wentz actually suffered the torn ACL before the dive — it looked like a non-contact injury. 

The FOX game broadcast shows how limited Wentz's mobility was for those next four plays. After he threw the touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, Wentz didn't even celebrate with his teammates as he typically would; he simply walked off the field. 

Pederson found out the bad news on Monday morning but said a surgery date was not yet discussed, although players often have to wait for swelling to subside before going under the knife. Pederson said the report he was given said there was damage only to the ACL, no other ligaments. 

The head coach declined to give any type of timetable for Wentz's return. But if Wentz heals at the normal rate of an NFL athlete, there's a good chance he'll miss some time during spring workouts next offseason and possibly even training camp. 

Foles will become the Eagles' starting quarterback, while third-stringer Nate Sudfeld will be promoted to backup. Pederson expects Wentz — who greeted his teammates in the locker room after Sunday's win — will still be around the team as much as he can. 

"A lot like Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters and these guys," Pederson said. "He can be around and be in the meeting room. He can watch the tape. Even as much as being there on game day and being another set of eyes for the quarterbacks and Nick. And having his input, having him around the guys too would be a big boost. And obviously, an opportunity for him now to put the coaching hat on and to help Nick."