The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans, 34-20, at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night to kick off the 2020 NFL season in style.
After falling behind by a touchdown early, the Chiefs amassed 31 unanswered points to celebrate the unveiling of the newly placed Super Bowl LIV banner with a victory.
Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 24-of-32 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns, tallying his 19th career game with three or more scoring strikes in just 37 career outings.
Rookie tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire also had a big night, rushing for 138 yards and a score, while wide receiver Sammy Watkins led all pass-catchers with seven grabs for 82 yards.
The two teams traded touchdowns on back-to-back possessions midway through the first half, as Texans’ tailback David Johnson broke free for a 19-yard touchdown run before Mahomes found tight end Travis Kelce on a 6-yard scoring strike to even the score.
Kansas City’s scoring drive included a fourth-down conversion at its own 34-yard line followed by four-straight plays that covered double-digit yardage, setting up Mahomes’ 6-yard toss to Kelce on third down a few snaps later.
The Chiefs were then back in the end zone a series later, punctuating an impressive 16-play, 91-yard drive with a 2-yard pass from Mahomes to Watkins. It marked Kansas City’s longest drive in terms of plays in five years.
Houston missed a field goal attempt on its ensuing possession, and with just over 20 seconds left on the clock in the first half, Kansas City quickly moved down the field and added a 29-yard field goal to carry a 10-point lead into halftime.
Edwards-Helaire added to the Chiefs’ advantage after the break, as he broke free for a 27-yard touchdown on Kansas City’s opening possession of the second half. The run put the rookie first-round draft pick over the 100-yard mark for the night and put an exclamation point on a truly special debut.
Defensively, meanwhile, the Chiefs paired their scoring frenzy with a dominant effort that held Houston scoreless following their early touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter, allowing Kansas City to build its lead without looking back.
Rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was right in the middle of that defensive performance with an interception early in the fourth quarter. Safety Tyrann Mathieu pressured Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson and hit him as he threw, forcing a bad pass and providing Sneed with an opportunity at his first career pick.
Mahomes found wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 3-yard touchdown a few short minutes later, cashing in on the takeaway and effectively putting the game away. Houston found the end zone twice in the game’s closing minutes, but the Chiefs’ lead ultimately proved to be too much to overcome.
The victory marked Kanas City’s 10th consecutive win dating back to last season and their sixth-straight win to begin a season, which is the second-longest streak in franchise history.
The Chiefs will look to stay in the win column next week as they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers.