FOXBOROUGH — On a night that was supposed to be a celebration, things turned sour in the second half for the Patriots, as the Chiefs turned a close one into a blowout, 42-27.
Tom Brady went 16-for-36 for 267 yards, Mike Gilislee ended up with 15 carries for 45 yards and three touchdowns, And before he left with a concussion in the second half, wide receiver Danny Amendola had six catches for 100 yards.
But it wasn’t enough to beat Kansas City, as the Patriots suffered their first loss in a home opener since 2012. Alex Smith (28-for-35, 368 yards, four TDs), Tyreek Hill (seven catches, 133 yards, one touchdown) and Kareem Hunt (96 yards receiving, 148 yards rushing) were brilliant in the win for Kansas City.
After the Super Bowl LI banner was raised and commissioner Roger Goodell was booed by the fans after he strolled on the field during pregame warmups, things started swimmingly for the Patriots, who jumped to a 17-7 lead on touchdowns from Gilislee and a field goal from Stephen Gostkowski.
But New England failed to slam the door shut on Kansas City at the end of the second. The Chiefs cut the lead to 17-14 before the half, and took their first lead with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter when Smith found Hill with a 75-yard strike to make it 21-17. On the play, it appeared there was a breakdown in communication between Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty that resulted in Hill finding some open space and reaching the end zone.
The two teams went back and forth down the stretch — shortly after linebacker Dont’a Hightower went down with the right knee injury, the Chiefs pushed out to a 28-27 lead early in the fourth quarter when Smith found Hunt for a 78-yard scoring strike. Kansas City wouldn’t trail the rest of the way, as the Chiefs added a pair of late touchdowns to end things.
Game updates from Price.
12:05 a.m.: Two-score game at this point in the night? It's all over. 42-27 with 4:00 left.
12:04 a.m.: NOW people are starting to leave. Tremendous speed by Hunt there to find the corner.
12:02 a.m.: Patriots and Brady swinging for the fences here with a pair of deep ball attempts. Both were off the mark.
11:56 p.m.: People still staying here. Give them credit. But the Patriots chances of losing their first home opener since 2012 are getting greater by the moment.
11:51 p.m.: Kansas City got in there. Gillette now getting really quiet. 35-27 with 5:14 left in regulation.
11:47 p.m.: Chiefs putting together another nice drive here -- the Patriots cannot afford to give up another score in this situation.
11:41 p.m.: From Dr. Jessica Flynn on Hightower:
When Dont'a Hightower had his right leg rolled up on in the third quarter, replay showed his right knee sustain a valgus injury (it was bent inward). This type of an injury stretches the medial collateral ligament (MCL). After a visit to the tent, Hightower has been seen riding the stationary bike and jogging on the sidelines with a wrap on the knee.
Worst case: MCL sprain and aggravation of a previous knee issue (note: his previous surgery was on the opposite knee)
Best case: mild MCL sprain and return to play tonight in a brace.
MCL sprains vary in degree. Return ranges from minutes to six weeks. It's a positive sign that Hightower has been jogging. However, it's important to note that he will likely be more sore tomorrow.
11:39 p.m.: Amendola is in the locker room -- concussion protocol. The Pats announce that he will not return.
11:38 p.m.: Good stick from McCourty there to prevent Kelce from reaching the sticks, and the Chiefs are going to punt it away. Chung back to receive the punt.
11:33 p.m.: Massive momentum swing here as the Patriots looked like they were moving, but couldn't convert on fourth down. Getting quiet in Foxborough.
11:26 p.m.: Woof--just like that, Kansas City takes the lead back. 78 yards from Smith to Hunt. The quarterback finds Marsh in coverage and ba-boom, 28-27 with 14:07 left.
11:22 p.m.: End of the third quarter, 27-21.
11:19 p.m.: Field goal is good. 27-21, Patriots. Feels like a missed opportunity there, but we shall see.
11:17 p.m.: This is the level of discipline we've seen from the Chiefs tonight. Thirteen penalties and we're still in the third.
Travis Kelce shoved a football right into a dude’s dick pic.twitter.com/sHYbB2xDcX
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 8, 2017
11:15 p.m.: BRANDIN COOKS. Man, what a play. That's what we've been waiting on since the trade. A 54-yarder to get the crowd on its feet.
11:14 p.m.: Third time's the charm on that punt, and the Patriots take over.
11:12 p.m.: Hightower is off the bike, but has a big wrap on his knee and he's walking gingerly on the sidelines.
11:10 p.m.: Nice push by the Patriots young pass rushers there, including Adam Butler and Flowers, the latter of whom got the sack. Feeling like momentum starting to turn a bit back toward New England.
11:08 p.m.: Pats announce that Hightower has a knee injury and his return is questionable.
11:05 p.m.: Hightower not on the field here at the start of the drive for the Patriots. He's riding a stationary bike at the end of the bench. Going to assume that's a good sign.
11:02 p.m.: Gillislee pushes it over from the one and the Patriots have the lead again. 24-21 with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
11:00 p.m.: Chiefs keep shooting themselves in the foot. Another penalty. For what it's worth, Amendola is back out there after being rocked on the previous possession.
10:54 p.m.: Now Hightower is down. Looks like his right knee or leg. He's headed to the medical tent on the sidelines. The mood has dampened considerably here. Meanwhile, Bill belichick, Josh McDaniels and Dante Scarnecchia were spending some time together on the sidelines.
10:50 p.m.: Man, Amendola got lit up there. Walks slowly to the sideline. He's moving around on the sideline. Slowly, but he's up and moving around.
10:48 p.m.: This is usually the point in the game where Brady says "(Bleep) it, where's Edelman?" Patriots need someone to step up and make a play in his absence here.
10:46 p.m.: From Bedard: Looked like Tampa 2 coverage and McCourty got caught giving too much attention to Travis Kelce on Tyreek Hill's 75-yard touchdown. Butler played same technique on other side of the field. That's just the Chiefs anticipating Tampa and having a beater drawn up for it. Tip of the cap to Andy Reid.
Looks like a Cover 2 bust on Devin McCourty. pic.twitter.com/GXRL5W5ovi
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 8, 2017
10:43 p.m. Wow. That was a lightning bolt from Smith to Hill. 75 yards, and the Chiefs have a lead. Looked like some sort of breakdown -- was Gilmore expecting help? Should he have gotten help? Hmmm. Anyway, it's 21-17 with 9:19 left in the third quarter.
10:41 p.m.: Nine penalties so far on the Chiefs. Holy moly.
10:39 p.m.: Getting a little ragged here. Pats punting the ball back to Kansas City.
10:38 p.m.: Thuney missed a block there on the completion to Amendola.
10:33 p.m.: Good stop there from the New England defense. Amendola back to return the punt.
10:29 p.m.: Back to live action, as the Chiefs take over at their own 25. Pats keep rotating along the interior -- they have Guy and Brown in there now.
10:16 p.m.: Some halftime stats: Smith is 16-for-19 for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while Kareem Hunt has seven carries for 47 yards and Tyreek Hill has four catches for 45 yards. For the Patriots, Brady is 9-for-17 for 131 yards, while Danny Amendola has four catches for 70 yards and Mike Gillislee has nine carries for 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
10:15 p.m.: That's it for the half. 17-14 Patriots.
10:14 p.m.: Smith is 16-for-19 for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
10:12 p.m.: Chiefs draw closer with a grind of a drive (12 plays, 92 yards) that results in an Alex Smith TD pass. 17-14 with 13 seconds left in the half. That's two drives that have gone for 90-plus yards tonight on the New England defense.
10:10 p.m.: The Patriots have had a group of Hightower, Butler, Flowers and Wise for most of this drive. Good pressure.
10:06 p.m.: Wise almost got to Smith there. Fantastic job fighting through the block.
9:59 p.m.: Chiefs have seven penalties already. Man oh man.
9:57 p.m.: Hightower out, Marsh in to start this series. Likely just a chance for Hightower to get a breather, but we shall see.
9:49 p.m.: Nice stand there for the New England defense -- Deatrich Wise got an excuse-me sack, the first of his professional career. That led to some odd coverage work on that punt by the Patriots. At first glance, the Chiefs might have missed a chance to pick up a first down.
9:46 p.m.: Pats have added some beef up front. Roberts and Guy have been inserted into the game. Roberts came off after one play, but Guy remains out there for Brown.
9:44 p.m.: Brady is 9-for-15 for 131 yards. Gillislee has nine carries for 42 yards and a touchdown.
9:42 p.m.: Feels like a tenuous time for this game. If Chiefs can score here, they're back in it. But if the Patriots can put at least one more score up before halftime and get a stop, it could start to get out of hand.
9:41 p.m.: Two-yard TD run from Gillislee. A nice, physical drive there for the Patriots, who pretty much stuck to the ground and pound and came away with the score. 17-7 with 7:27 left in the second.
— NFL (@NFL) September 8, 2017
9:38 p.m.: Buy game pass and watch Dwayne Allen block. A thing of beauty. Sincerely.
9:37 p.m.: Develin's missed block was the reason that end around got screwed up. Yeesh.
9:34 p.m.: Amendola is basically playing the role of Edelman tonight. He's not out there on every snap, but the routes and third-down pickups look awfully familiar.
9:30 p.m.: Two rookies out there on the line on that third down in Wise and Butler. Wise overran the quarterback, but flushed him out so Flowers could get the sack. Wonder if we'll see them shake it up again on the next defensive series.
9:29 p.m.: Nice back to back plays for McCourty. Excellent pass defense and a nice open field tackle.
9:26 p.m.: Or maybe not. 25-yard field goal from Gostkowski is good -- 10-7 with 14:56 left in the first half. Good buy not great drive there for New England.
9:23 p.m.: Tied at seven after one. Looks like Pats are going for it again on fourth down here. Brady 7-for-12 for 93 yards after one quarter. Alex Smith is 7-for-8 for 66 yards and a touchdown.
9:21 p.m.: Pats speed leads to a 12 men on the field call against Kansas City. New England isn't going no huddle, but its pushing the pace a bit.
9:19 p.m.: We're admittedly broad-brushing it here, but it looks like Amendola is doing a lot of stuff that Edelman usually does when he's out there. Slot, position, YAC, etc.
9:16 p.m.: From Bedard: Chiefs are playing all coverage in the early going, with not much pressure. Even though the Patriots are moving the ball, the Chiefs are covering decently well. Doubling Gronk in may circumstances. This is the type of defense than can give the Patriots some problems down the line if the Chiefs can stay close.
9:14 p.m.: Good drive there by the Chiefs -- 12 plays and a whopping 90 yards. The extra point makes it 7-7 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
9:13 p.m.: Dont'a Hightower has been on the edge for the entire series to this point.
9:10 p.m.: The Chiefs are on the move here with a nice mix of run and pass. Again, it's an awfully light nickel the Pats have out there, especially in the middle of the field. It's putting a lot of pressure on Brown and Branch up front.
9:07 p.m.: Travis Kelce with the direct snap? OK then. The Patriots are offering a very light front seven -- if I'm Kansas City, I keep running the ball if New England keeps showing that look.
9:03 p.m.: Pats couldn't pick up that first down, and the ball goes back to the Chiefs. New England went behind some big guys on that right side, but couldn't make it happen. A surprise there.
9:00 p.m.: The play was reversed, but because of an offsides call, the Pats will still be in decent shape.
8:59 p.m.: 20 yards from Brady to Gronkowski. This one will get reviewed. Looked like Gronkowski was a little banged up at the end of the play -- came down hard on the right shoulder or the wrist. For what it's worth, he's standing up on the sidelines now.
8:57 p.m.: From Bedard: Chiefs are playing all coverage in the early going, with not much pressure. Even though the Patriots are moving the ball, the Chiefs are covering decently well. Doubling Gronk in may circumstances. This is the type of defense than can give the Patriots some problems down the line if the Chiefs can stay close.
8:53 p.m.: On Kansas City's first play from scrimmage, the Chiefs fumble the football. yeesh. Jordan Richards forced the fumble and Devin McCourty scooped it up.
8:48 p.m.: Touchdown Patriots. Mike Gillislee powers it in from two yards out and the Patriots are on the board. Clean, efficient drive (other than the offsetting penalties) for the Patriots. It's 7-0 with 12:08 left in the first quarter.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 8, 2017
8:42 p.m.: Brady, Gronkowski, Allen, Cannon, Solder, Mason, Thuney, Burkhead, Andrews, Hogan and Cooks are the starters on offense.
8:41 p.m.: Dion Lewis back for the kickoff for the Patriots. Time for the foosball.
Almost game time!!! pic.twitter.com/VZ6XNncav8
— K. Feezy (@feezy_k) September 8, 2017
8:20 p.m.: This was from USA Today from earlier tonight.
8:14 p.m.: Looks like the kickoff ceremony is about to begin.
8:07 p.m.: True to his word on "Do Your Job 2," Ernie Adams is standing near midfield and has a laser-like focus on the Chiefs. I always kind of noticed it before, but now that it was mentioned, I've paid particular attention to him. His eye never leaves the other side of the field.
7:52 p.m.: Kevin Faulk, Ty Law and Willie McGinest are all on the field during warmups.
7:48 p.m.: Goodell and his entourage have left the field.
7:46 p.m. Brady ran onto the field with his usual musical accompaniment. He jogged the length of the field and came within about 10 yards or so of Goodell. It didn't look like the commissioner acknowledged his presence.
7:43 p.m.: Roger Goodell walked into the field of play and has been hanging around the corner near the players' exit. He was greeted with a loud round of boos. You can see he's surrounded by a series of the clown nose shirts.
7:13 p.m. The following players were ruled inactive 90 minutes before the game:
Vincent Valentine: The defensive lineman has been dealing with a knee injury all week, and was ruled doubtful on Friday. No surprise. However, it’ll mean more work for the Malcom Brown/Alan Branch combo up front.
Harvey Langi: The rookie linebacker was listed as limited on Friday’s injury report with a concussion. He was likely going to serve as a depth addition in Thursday’s game anyway.
Matthew Slater: The special teams ace has been up-and-down as of late with a hamstring issue that kept him off the field for much of the summer.
Nate Ebner: A double-downer for New England’s special teams, as Ebner (who has had a shoulder issue) and Slater are two core members of the Patriots’s special teams unit.
Cole Croston: The young offensive lineman is a healthy scratch who was pushed down the depth chart because of the ascension of Ted Karras to the active roster.
Cam Fleming: The Stanford product has been struggling with an ankle injury all week, and so LaAdrian Waddle gets the call as the swing tackle against the Chiefs.
Jacob Hollister: The tight end is another healthy scratch — he will likely take more than a few inactive over the course of the season because he’s the third tight end behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen.