Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs’ first half observations: offense rolling but these teams don’t like each other

Raw video: Chiefs players, fans arrive in Jacksonville for season opener

Kansas City Chiefs' players and fans arrive in Jacksonville for the season opener against the Jaguars.
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Kansas City Chiefs' players and fans arrive in Jacksonville for the season opener against the Jaguars.

The Chiefs went to the locker room on an oppressively hot day with a 23-13 lead on the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday.

The Chiefs’ offense got off to the great start, and the Jaguars must play the rest of the game without starting quarterback Nick Foles.

Offensive fireworks

The Chiefs opened last season by winning the coin toss in their first nine games, and they scored on their first possession in eight of those games.

Sunday, they got off on the wrong side of the coin, calling tails. It came up heads. The Jaguars deferred and kicked, and two plays into season the Chiefs faced a third-and-2.

On the next snap, they were in the end zone. Patrick Mahomes had Tyreek Hill open in the flat, but he opted for Sammy Wakints in the middle. Watkins got a great block from Demarcus Robinson, put a move on Jalen Ramsey and outran the Jags’ defense to the end zone. Three plays into the season, Kansas City had scored.

On the next possession, Mahomes had to kick himself for not getting the Chiefs in the end zone. From the 9, he rolled left and had Kelce open in the end zone. But Mahomes appeared to not be looking at Kelce when he overthrew the target.

That was Mahomes’ only questionable moment. He and Watkins were locked in. Watkins found hismelf wide open on a 49-yard score and finished with half with 173 receiving yards. His previous career best was 168 in 2015 while playing for the Bills.

Kelce had three catches for 88 yards as Mahomes had a remarkably productive half: 16 of 20 for 313 yards, two TDs and no picks. A year ago, Jacksonville was the only game in which Mahomes didn’t throw a touchdown, and he was held to his lowest passer rating that day.

Tyreek Hill left in the first quarter with an injured shoulder and was ruled out out of the game in Jacksonville.

Bitter foes

The Chiefs and Jags don’t like each other.

There were chippy moments in last year’s game at Arrowhead Stadium, and plenty of pushing and shoving on Sunday, too.

After a second quarter play, a sack of Mahomes that turned into a fumble recovered by Eric Fisher, a fracas broke out in the end zone. Jags linebacker Myles Jack was tossed from the game, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was given to Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson.

No Foles

The Chiefs led 10-0 when Nick Foles tossed a rainbow touchown pass to DJ Chark Jr. over Kendall Fuller from 35 yards. But the play was costly. Just as he released the pass, Chris Jones hit Foles and injured the quarterback’s shoulder. Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP signed to replace Blake Bortles, was ruled out of the game.

His replacement was rookie Gardner Minshew, who operated Mike Leach’s attack at Washington State. Minshew got off to a good start, completing all nine of his first-half passes, including a 69-yard strike.

Safety Juan Thornhill was the only rookie to start for the Chiefs. Daniel Sorensen had been taking most of the first-team snaps in training camp and the preseason, but the speed of Thornhill, the second-round pick from Virginia, earned him the starting nod.

Other rookies who saw action in the first half: Mecole Hardman returned kickoffs and lined up at wide receiver, and Darwin Thompson made his NFL debut in the second quarter and caught a 2-yard pass.

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