The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon, 40-26, to kick off the regular season.
The Chiefs jumped out to a an early 10-point lead within the first nine minutes of the game, and despite an admirable performance by Jaguars’ backup quarterback Gardner Minshew in the stead of Nick Foles – who suffered a shoulder injury in the first quarter – Kansas City never relinquished its advantage.
Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 25-of-33 passes for 378 yards and three scores in the game, finding wide receiver Sammy Watkins for a pair of long touchdowns in the first half. Watkins first score – which took place on the Chiefs’ third play from scrimmage – went for 68 yards before his second touchdown grab covered 49 yards down the sideline.
It was all part of a career-game for Watkins, who tallied 198 receiving yards and three scores on the afternoon. Watkins did the bulk of that damage in the first half, racking up 178 yards through the air while becoming just the fifth player to amass 175+ receiving yards in the first 30 minutes of a game since 2010.
The Jaguars found the end zone in between Watkins’ two scores, but Harrison Butker went on to add three field goals for Kansas City to maintain the Chiefs’ advantage heading into halftime.
The scoring slowed down in the second half, but Kansas City still managed to extend its lead as tailback Damien Williams burst ahead for a 1-yard score late in the third quarter. It marked Williams’ 11th touchdown in his last seven games dating back to last season and pushed the Chiefs’ scoring total to at least 26 points for the 19th-consecutive contest, matching an NFL record.
Williams’ touchdown was set up by Kansas City’s first takeaway of the season, as linebacker Damien Wilson punched the ball free from Jaguars’ tailback Leonard Fournette and cornerback Bashaud Breeland scooped it up.
It was part of a solid overall showing for the Chiefs’ new-look defense, which held Jacksonville to just 13 points until midway through the fourth quarter. Defensive end Frank Clark was part of that effort in his first game with Kansas City, picking off Minshew late in the game. It was the second interception of Clark’s career.
Offensively, Watkins notched his third touchdown of the afternoon late in the contest to effectively put the game out of reach. The veteran receiver finished with the fifth-most receiving yards in a single game in franchise history while becoming just the second player to tally 195+ yards and 3+ touchdowns since 2014.
Mahomes – the man getting Watkins the ball throughout - finished the contest with the second-most passing yards (378) and the second-highest passer rating (143.2) of his young career.
Kansas City will look to stay in the win column next week when they travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders.