Reigning champion Chiefs trounce Texans in NFL opener

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Posted at 10:21 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 23:21:49-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes did Patrick Mahomes things, but rookie running back Cylde Edwards-Helaire stole the spotlight on a night the Chiefs unveiled a new championship banner and players made a powerful pregame statement.

The NFL season got underway Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, where the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs trounced the Houston Texans 34-20.

The Chiefs honored last season’s championship, the first in 50 years for the franchise, before the game.

Speaking on the field in front of an oversized replica Lombardi Trophy, CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt said the team’s Super Bowl LIV trophy belonged to “all of Chiefs Kingdom” before unveiling a “Super Bowl Champions” banner in the south end zone that also honors the Super Bowl IV winners.

After spotting Houston an early lead, the Chiefs rattled off 31 straight points, including three touchdown passes from Mahomes, for the franchise’ 10th straight win, including last season’s playoffs.

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Edwards-Helaire, who inherited the Chiefs’ feature running back role with Damien Williams opted out of the 2020 season, rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in his pro debut — an effort made more impressive considering all preseason games were canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texans led 7-0 courtesy of David Johnson’s 19-yard touchdown scamper after the first quarter, but the Chiefs scored 17 unanswered in the second period for a double-digit halftime lead.

The victory was somewhat reminiscent of Kansas City’s 51-31 win in last season’s AFC DIvisional game. Houston led 24-0 in that contest before getting shredded during the final three quarters.

Mahomes, who finished 24 of 32 for 211 yards, threw touchdowns to Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins in the second quarter, which ended with Harrison Butker’s 29-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

Edwards-Helaire capped a 75-yard drive to open the third quarter with his first career touchdown, a 27-yard burst that showcased his elit open-field skills.

After rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed intercepted Watson, who floated a pass into no man’s land under pressure from Tyrann Mathieu, Mahomes connected with Tyreek Hill on a 3-yard dart for his third touchdown and a 31-7 lead with 11:25 remaining.

It was academic from there for the Chiefs, who now have 10 days off before a visit to the Los Angeles Chargers and palatial SoFi Stadium, despite a couple late Houston touchdowns.

Watson ran and threw for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

During pregame festivities, the Chiefs’ players locked arms and stood together in the end zone during Alicia Keys’ rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

The video, which includes a message about the nation’s history of racism, will be played in every NFL stadium to open the season.

The Texans opted to remain in the locker room for the video as well as the national anthem, but both teams linked armed at midfield before the coin toss for "a moment of silence dedicated to the ongoing fight for equality in our country."

As players hugged and Mahomes linked arms with Watson, there was a smattering of boos from the roughly 17,000 fans allowed at Arrowhead, which was limited to 22% capacity by health department regulations.

Official attendance was 15,895.