The NFL is back!
Two hundred and twenty-one days after Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the defending Super Bowl champions kicked off their title defence with a decisive 34-20 win over the Houston Texans on Thursday night.
Mahomes threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns.
Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 138 yards and a score in his NFL debut.
Kansas City covered the 9.5-point spread.
Meanwhile, the season opener provided some late drama for anyone who had placed a wager on the total.
As of Thursday morning, the Over/Under was set at 54.5. By late afternoon, that number was bet down to 53 at some spots.
So, when the Chiefs settled for a field goal with 30 seconds left to make it 34-20 after they failed to punch the ball in on three attempts from the Houston two-yard line, it pushed the total to 54 – either a narrow victory or an absolutely awful beat for those who had money on it.
Here is the Morning Coffee for Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.
#ChiefsKingdom Celebrates A Win
Good start! Lot to improved! #RunItBack— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) September 11, 2020
Kansas City scored 31 straight points en route to another double-digit win over Houston.
Mahomes improved to 8-0 in his career in September games. He’s thrown 26 touchdowns and zero interceptions in those eight wins.
🗣 CLYDEEEEEE pic.twitter.com/OcuwQsftJ4— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 11, 2020
The biggest story of the night was the performance of rookie running back Edwards-Helaire.
After all of the off-season hype, CEH exceeded expectations for Chiefs fans and fantasy owners in his highly anticipated debut.
The 2020 first-round pick averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 25 touches. His 138 rushing yards are the most by any Kansas City running back in the Mahomes era.
CEH played 67 per cent of the team’s snaps on offence – an indication that he will in fact be the workhorse back in the league’s most explosive attack.
That’s welcome news for fantasy managers who traded up to get him in their fake football league drafts.
The Fresh Prince of Helaire.... pic.twitter.com/8YI0X8oAtM— Jacob Hester (@JacobHester18) September 11, 2020
Meanwhile, the Kansas City defence held Deshaun Watson and the Texans offence to just seven points through the first three quarters before giving up a pair of late touchdowns after their lead had ballooned to 24 points.
It was an impressive opener all-around for a Chiefs team that is the consensus favourite to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
It didn’t take long for anybody backing the Texans at +9.5 to realize they had made the wrong decision.
Running back David Johnson got Houston on the board with a 19-yard touchdown run with 4:54 left in the first quarter – the first score of the 2020 NFL season.
On the ensuing drive, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid opted to go for it on fourth and one from the Kansas City 34 – a decision that sparked an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at seven.
On the very next possession, the Texans moved the ball to the 50-yard line before facing a fourth and four at midfield. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien elected to punt.
Mahomes promptly led the Chiefs on a 16-play, 91-yard touchdown drive to take a 14-7 lead.
After getting the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 2:22 left in the half, Watson marched the Texans all the way to the Chiefs 33-yard line in under two minutes before they were faced with another fourth-down decision.
Again, O’Brien opted not to go for it. Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 51-yard field goal.
On the ensuing possession, Mahomes moved the ball 48 yards in 25 seconds and Kansas City kicked a field goal to take a 17-7 lead before the half.
Houston never got to within 10 points again after that.
Down 17 points with 4:56 left in the third quarter, the Texans faced another fourth-down decision near midfield. Rather than take a shot, O’Brien elected to punt again.
The decisions not to go for it, and the lack of big plays downfield, crushed Houston’s chances to keep this game close. It’s something that has hurt this team in the past and it certainly didn’t help them against the Chiefs.
Even former Texan DeAndre Hopkins weighed in after the game.
Grateful.— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) September 11, 2020
A Ruff Night For Houston Sports Fans
Thursday night was a rough one all around for Houston sports fans.
Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Rockets 110-100 to take a 3-1 series lead in their Western Semifinals.
Davis scored a game-high 29 points with 12 boards, as the Lakers outscored Houston 62-24 in the paint and outrebounded them 52-26.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Los Angeles became the first team in the play-by-play era with twice as many points in the paint and twice as many rebounds as their opponent in a playoff game.
Then this happened after the game:
The NBA playoffs continue on Friday night with Game 7 of the East Semifinals between the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.
You can catch that game across the TSN Network at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Stars Continue To Defy The Odds
Alex Radulov was the OT hero for the Dallas Stars in a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights as they took a 2-1 series lead.
The two teams stayed under the total of 5.5 goals for the third straight game – this after the over hit in six of the Stars’ seven games against the Colorado Avalanche in the previous round.
Dallas has been the betting underdog in in each of its last seven playoff wins, dating back to Game 7 of its first-round series against the Calgary Flames.
The TSN Edge is a destination for information and analysis relating to fantasy and sports betting. This is not a gambling website. This site is for informational and recreational purposes only and provides no opportunity to gamble for real money or money’s worth.