Let us not undersell this: The Kansas City Chiefs’ 34-twenty victory Thursday night time above the Houston Texans is a single of the biggest achievements in NFL background.
Just as its personal executives (improbably) predicted in March, the league opened its 2020 season on time — even with some lovers at Arrowhead Stadium — amid the worst international pandemic in 100 several years. The sport was competitive, at minimum for a fifty percent, and the high-quality of participate in was greater than any one could have anticipated adhering to the cancellation of the preseason and a modified training camp format.
If I were grading the NFL for its efforts to return, including the coronavirus protocols that protected all 32 teams from outbreaks this summer months, I would have to give it an A+. But if I were grading the relaxation of the night, including some sticky social justice moments, I would say …
Acknowledge it. You went into your fantasy draft imagining you were the only a single who was on Edwards-Helaire, a multitalented functioning back again whom the Chiefs created their initial-spherical draft choose.
The only shock Thursday night time was that the Chiefs used him generally as a runner and targeted him only two times in the passing sport. At the rear of some solid blocking from new guard Kelechi Osemele, Edwards-Helaire ran for 138 yards and a landing. This is a statistic you likely didn’t know existed: He reached 100 hurrying yards in his initial sport more rapidly than any rookie in the earlier thirteen seasons. Edwards-Helaire crossed that threshold in 34 minutes of sport time, in accordance to ESPN Stats & Data investigation, the swiftest in a debut considering the fact that Matt Forte in 2008.
Punting at midfield: D
It was always going to be a challenging street for the Texans in this sport. But here’s some no cost suggestions: When enjoying in opposition to Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, you greater not squander any belongings.
Texans coach Invoice O’Brien opted to punt twice from near midfield throughout the competitive part of this sport, as soon as on fourth-and-four and as soon as on fourth-and-9. I comprehend neither situation is easy to transform, but the hazard will take on extra relevance when you comprehend what the Chiefs are probable to do when you give the ball back again to them. On the initial occasion, Kansas City released a 91-lawn landing drive. On the 2nd, it ran just about five minutes off the clock in the third quarter. Go for it.
Dolphins upstage the pregame: A
NFL players’ push for social justice wasn’t overshadowed by an precise sport. Two several hours ahead of kickoff, gamers and coaches from the Miami Dolphins unveiled a searing movie that upbraided the NFL for launching a “publicity parade” with no, in their perspective, getting sufficient motion. The Dolphins mentioned they would retreat to the locker area throughout pregame performances this season of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Carry Every single Voice And Sing” somewhat than get pulled into a debate about kneeling or standing. More than everything, the movie created obvious there remains a vast hole between the league and lots of gamers on this issue.
The NFL, frankly, aided make the Dolphins’ point by asserting a branding marketing campaign known as “It Requires All of Us.” The league mentioned the slogan “leverages the scale and ability of the league to unite the region throughout a crucial time in our nation.” More motion, less terms.
Booing unity: F
Before kickoff, the Chiefs and Texans stood together on the area for a instant of unity. Unbelievably, an audible part of the fifteen,895 lovers at Arrowhead Stadium felt compelled to boo.
Could they really have objected to the most modest of social demonstrations? Experienced it just been far too lengthy considering the fact that they could boo another person? Did they have a issue with opponents locking arms for a instant? It was a depressing, dreadful seem.
Referee Clete Blakeman’s officiating crew: B+
Of course, Blakeman’s crew got two landing calls erroneous in the initial fifty percent. The two were known as back again in replay. But total, the crew retained the sport going with crisp choices and a minimal of flags.
Generate or sign up for a league right now >>
Cheat Sheet Central >>
Recall, the initial time the referees collected together this 12 months was Thursday afternoon on the way to the stadium. The NFL canceled referees’ typical visits to training camp, as effectively as the preseason, and reconfigured crews based on geography to decrease flights. They wore masks all over the sport, and, if you seemed carefully, you could see many working with new electronic whistles. Specified those instances, it could have been a great deal, a great deal worse.
COVID-19 protocols: B
Evidence of the pandemic was everywhere, from coaches and officials wearing masks to the initial seven rows of the stands tarped off to guarantee social distancing. But some protocols may well have some leeway.
The NFL, for occasion, prohibits opposing teams from acquiring postgame interactions inside of 6 toes of a single another. That has efficiently ended the observe of swapping jerseys ahead of heading to the locker area. But it seems that brief handshakes are permitted the NBC postgame feed showed various gamers shaking palms and hugging.
Andy Reid’s facial area protect: C
The NFL’s COVID-19 protocols involve all coaches to put on a facial area masking. Most have worn traditional masks in training camps, as did O’Brien throughout Thursday night’s sport.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid? He selected a plastic protect that was a meme even ahead of kickoff. The plastic got, shall we say, a little fogged up with Reid’s respiration. You needed to arrive at by way of the tv screen and hand the weak dude a pair of windshield wipers. We’ll see if Reid tends to make the required sartorial changes for Week 2.