KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Just about the only thing that looked familiar about the NFL's long-awaited return Thursday night was the sight of Patrick Mahomes effortlessly leading the Kansas City Chiefs up and down the field.
The Super Bowl MVP threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran through the rain for 138 yards and another score, and the Chiefs began defense of their first championship in 50 years by beating the Houston Texans 34-20 on Thursday night before a socially distanced crowd of about 17,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill each caught TD passes for the Chiefs. They have won 10 straight dating to last season. That run includes a come-from-behind 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs.
“I'm proud of our players but I'm also proud of our fans. They came out there. They were loud,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who claimed he didn't notice some booing from fans during a pregame moment of unity involving both teams.
“Obviously, our players, both sides of the ball and special teams , I thought they were solid,” Reid continued. “For the first game there were some good things that were done, some great individual performances.”
The Texans' Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, but he also was under relentless pressure and was intercepted once. David Johnson provided the biggest bright spot for Houston, running for 77 yards and a score.
“There's a lot to fix,” Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. “It's only one game. We have to improve pretty quickly. But it's only one game . We have to get back to work pretty soon and fix these things.”
The world has changed dramatically in the seven months since the Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Miami.