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Tim Crone: Chiefs were truly impressive in season opener

The Examiner
Tim Crone

The Chiefs did not let the Kingdom down in their opener against the Houston Texans. 

It was amazing to see the defending Super Bowl champions play at that level. The offense looked dominant and the defense looked very solid just as they did at the end of last season. 

You can see how well teams are coached by the play of their special teams particularly at the beginning of a season. All three phases of the game were in sync. The team had only one penalty, and that was for five yards. 

Andy Reid and his staff took full advantage of having retained so many players from last year’s Super Bowl roster. Patrick Mahomes was in total control of the game from start to finish. If DeMarcus Robinson had caught the TD pass on the first drive of the game would have been a blowout early. By the way, Mahomes threw that ball in a 2-foot window on a dime. 

The combination of Reid and Mahomes along with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was poetry in motion. The offense did not need to throw the ball deep downfield. They were able to move the ball by running and throwing quick reads to their stable of receivers and backs. 

Look out NFL – Mahomes found the single-covered receiver on every passing play. Houston tried to take away Tyreek Hill and on third down tried to cover Travis Kelce. Mahomes found Sammy Watkins all night in single coverage. 

The offensive line looked much better in the run game than last year. Guard Kelechi Osemele was an outstanding pickup. The highlight of talk following the game was rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who had 138 yards rushing. Chiefs fans have not seen anything yet. Edwards-Helaire did not catch one ball out of the backfield, and that is one of the main reasons the Chiefs took him in the first round of the draft. How are you going to be able to cover him out of the backfield with all the great wide receivers and the best pass catching tight end in football? It is not going to happen.

The defense played like a group that can only get stronger as the year goes along. The defensive line is filled with depth and hunger. It was obvious in the opener that Chris Jones is a pure beast. The defense seems to be the weakest at the linebacker position. Time and injuries will determine how that position group will play this year. The secondary was particularly good in this game. Tyrann Mathieu did it all. He is an excellent leader and is great in coverage, fills the alleys on the run quickly and can bring pressure with the blitz. His running mate Juan Thornhill is back from injury and could be a great one. 

The biggest surprise was the play of cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. This kid can flat play the pass and run. The Texans tried to attack the rookie all night long. He responded play after play. The Texans do not have one of the best receiver crews in the NFL but the young rookie from Louisiana Tech is a player.

The special teams coached by Dave Toub looked excellent. The new punter Tommy Townsend was a big question mark coming into the season, but under Coach Toub he will learn the art of punting from one of the great masters of the game.

I give Brett Veach and his staff credit for putting together an outstanding opening game roster with quality depth at all positions with the exception maybe of linebacker. However, the rookie Willie Gay out of Mississippi State may be a surprise before the years is over. 

With all the problems the Kansas City Chiefs organization had to work through during these trying pandemic times, the team was ready to play on day one. However, this is the toughest schedule the Chiefs have had since Andy Reid took over the helm for the Chiefs organization. The experienced roster and quality can make the team a contender during the 2020 season. Football season is a long hard road, anything can happen, but Kansas City sure enjoyed the opener.

• The quote of the week comes from NFL head coach Bum Phillips: “Lots of people know how to be successful, but very few people know how to handle success.”   

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.