With the offseason and preseason finally out of the way, the Chiefs came out of the gates hot, they cruised to a 44-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The offense, defense, and special teams were all top-notch as the Chiefs try to climb an uphill battle in the AFC.
It is true the Cardinals were ravaged with injuries, but the Cheifs were still playing impressive football, and here are a few players who were the most impressive.
Patrick Mahomes threw for 360 yards and five touchdowns without an interception, it’s an impressive start to the season, and a great way to quiet the doubters about his play without Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs scored six total touchdowns total in their win against the Cardinals during the season opener. Patrick Mahomes, even while handling constant pressure the entire game, threw great passes to the new receivers in the offense, he hit eight total different pass catchers in the win. He promised a “receiver-by-committee approach” offense and he kept his word.
A nine-yard touchdown reception by Travis Kelce, a three-yard touchdown reception by Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a four-yard touchdown reception by Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a one-yard touchdown reception by Jody Fortson, and a one-yard touchdown reception by Mecole Hardman.
“All offseason everyone has asked us questions of what this team would look like and we’ve always believed that we were going to go out there and put on a show,” Mahomes said postgame, “and I thought guys did that. So to go out there and win against a really good football team and to win decisively, it’s a good start.”
Clyde Edwards Helaire (and Isiah Pacheco…)
The run game in Kansas City was a concern for most last season, Clyde Edwards Helaire was not healthy and when he was, he wasn’t as good as his rookie season. He immediately came in prepared for battle on Sunday and looked every part of the running back the Chiefs have wanted over the past two seasons. Now with two touchdowns under his belt, and finishing with a 42-yard rushing performance, he looked great, even though his rushing yards weren’t the best, it’s hard to argue he made an impact.
The entire group of running backs was effective throughout the Chiefs’ 44-21 victory contributing on the ground and in the passing game, especially rookie Isiah Pacheco. Pacheco was the team’s leading rusher with 61 yards and his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter. Even though it came in garbage time, it was impressive to see the young kid get some reps with the first team and execute.
Well, Nick Bolton clearly showed he is becoming one of the leaders of this defense after only a year in the NFL. Bolton was a steadying presence in the second level of the defense, taking on blockers and getting to the ball carrier more often than not. He led the team with ten tackles on Sunday and even had a couple of pass deflections, which is impressive for a linebacker many thought would struggle in the passing game.
Bolton is a captain for a reason, he is one of the smartest players on defense, he consistently makes the right plays in the right situations. Most of the coaching staff felt comfortable enough with Bolton to let him wear the green dot on his helmet, a sign of respect as he is the one calling the defense for Coach Spagnuolo. Watch Bolton continue to make an impact this season and see what he and the other inside backer, Willie Gay, can bring to this defense.
Special mention: Harrison Butker and Justin Reid
Even though I’m cheating here, how do you not mention Harrison Butker and Justin Ried for their special team performances?
Butker kicked a 54-yard field goal with only a single step after he had hurt his ankle, and Justin Reid was 1 of 2 on extra points while showing off his big leg with kickoffs getting into the end zone. Justin Reid was not afraid to show his extra skillset in the middle of the game without preparation.
“I didn’t keep the ball. I wasn’t worried about that,” Reid said during the postgame press conference. “At this point, I’ve always wanted to let people know that I really can kick. It’s out there now and I’m sure that everyone’s seen it so it’s going to be up there forever.”
The younger Chiefs players made quite an impact in their season opener. However, Kansas City will face another AFC West contender, the Los Angeles Chargers led by Justin Herbert for a very special edition of Thursday Night Football this week, the first NFL game streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Let’s see if these performances continue into Week Two.