Kansas City Chiefs

INTERCONFERENCE: Hunt scores two touchdowns as Chiefs hold on to beat Eagles, 27-20


INTERCONFERENCE: Hunt scores two touchdowns as Chiefs hold on to beat Eagles, 27-20

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt reached the end zone twice, Travis Kelce took a shovel pass 15 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and Kansas City held on to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 on Sunday.

Kelce's touchdown catch with 6:25 left and Hunt's second TD scamper appeared to have put the game away.

But Carson Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for an answering score with 14 seconds left, and Trey Burton jumped on the onside kick a few seconds later to give the Eagles one last throw to the end zone.

Wentz unloaded from just inside the 50-yard line, but his pass fell incomplete as time expired.

Kelce finished with 103 yards through the air, highlighted by his somersaulting score. Hunt had 81 yards on the ground, building on a record-setting debut in which he piled up 246 yards from scrimmage in a season-opening victory in New England .

Alex Smith had 251 yards passing for the Chiefs (2-0). Cairo Santos was 2 for 2 on field goals.

Wentz finished with 333 yards and two touchdowns passing, despite facing relentless pressure all afternoon. The spunky quarterback also led the Eagles (1-1) with 55 yards rushing.

It was 13-all in the fourth quarter and Philadelphia had the ball when Wentz threw a pass that bounced off the Chiefs' Justin Houston and into the arms of Chris Jones. The pick gave Kansas City the ball deep in Eagles territory, and Kelce hurdled into the end zone five plays later.

It was sweet atonement for the talented but troublemaking tight end, who earlier in the half got an earful from coach Andy Reid when he picked up a 15-yard penalty for taunting.

The Chiefs' defense, missing star safety Eric Berry to a season-ending injury, kept the Eagles in check most of the game - and for good reason. They're coached by Doug Pederson , who spent several years as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City and took the same system with him to Philadelphia.


Gronkowski on DBs getting physical in coverage: 'You don't really see it called ever'


Gronkowski on DBs getting physical in coverage: 'You don't really see it called ever'

FOXBORO -- The reality is no one wants to hear it. No one feels bad for the 6-foot-7, 265-pound Thor-looking tight end who is sometimes pestered by defensive backs eight inches shorter and 70 pounds lighter. 

But the reality is Rob Gronkowski has a point. 

Against the Chiefs in the season-opener last week, Gronkowski was covered primarily by safety Eric Berry but there were others as well. All were physical, fighting Gronkowski's strength with their scrappiness. 

At times that scrap included a bump or a grab of the arm down the field. And it wasn't exclusive to Gronkowski. The Chiefs did it to Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan at times as well. It seemed like they took a can't-throw-a-flag-on-every-play approach. 


The officials did call pass interference and defensive holding. Cooks, who measures in at 5-foot-10, 189 pounds, drew three flags on his own.

But for the most part, it worked. Gronkowski was limited to two catches for 33 yards, and despite the occasional plea, he got no calls.

Asked on Thursday if he felt like Kansas City's defensive backs got handsy in coverage, he said "sometimes." He's used to it, he explained, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

"If I was one of those DBs, and you've seen film over the last few years, I would definitely be doing that if I was a DB -- 100 percent," he said. "You don't really see it called ever, so I've just got to play with it. Play how the game is called. If I was a DB, I'd do that, too."

The response for Gronkowski might be to fight fire with fire. But he knows if he pushes off, the chances of him being flagged are probably greater than the other way around. 

It's physics. If someone Gronkowski's size bumps a smaller player, the smaller player is more likely to flail like a car dealership inflatable man as he falls to the ground. 

So what's the answer? Gronkowski said he does his best to play his game without concerning himself too much about picking up flags for push-offs.

"I feel like whenever I think about that -- 'I can't be physical because of the referee, I might get a penalty' -- I actually feel myself off my game," he said. "So I feel like I should just play my game and just [not] worry about what the refs call, and be physical.

"I don't like thinking, 'I can't be physical on this play.' You just don't feel right. I'm just going to stick to my game and just do what I got to do, and do it better."

The Saints don't have a three-time First-Team All-Pro safety like Berry, but safety Kenny Vaccaro might be their best bet to try to neutralize Gronkowski for a second straight week.

"He's strong, tough, good tackler . . . physical player," Bill Belichick said of Vaccaro earlier this week. 

How Gronkowski responds to that physicality in New Orleans will be worth monitoring.


Brady: 'It’s up to us to go do something' vs. Saints


Brady: 'It’s up to us to go do something' vs. Saints

FOXBORO – Two days after the Patriots watershed loss to the Chiefs back in 2014, Tom Brady toiled through a Wednesday press conference that was marked by furrowed brows and questions that began, “How concerned are you . . . "

Moments after he was done at the podium, he beat the media back into the team’s locker room. I’d already slipped out ahead of the pack to try and catch him for a brief side chat. 

Brady saw me, smiled and kept moving. “Rough crowd out there today,” I asked. Brady smiled and said, “Yeah, talk to me next month.”

The quarterback knew that the bludgeoning at Arrowhead was a short-lived thing. Tighten up the protection, ratchet up the urgency, grow a pair and things would be fine. No such thing as a finished product in October. 

He was right. 

There’s a little less to go on after this latest loss to the Chiefs. This one wasn’t as unsightly as the one in 2014 but there are also more moving parts on both sides of the football than there were back then. Further, Brady didn’t sound the alarm in 2014 that there was something lacking in the team’s overall competitiveness. 

Wednesday, I asked Brady if a team can easily change its stripes when it comes to things like effort, commitment and urgency.

“What you are in September is different than what you’re going to be as the season goes on,” Brady began. “You’re trying to see where your deficiencies are and you’re trying to make improvements. Obviously, what we did the other night is not good enough by any means, in any particular phase of the game, at any position. When you get outscored by 21 points or outgained by 200 yards in the fourth quarter, there’s a lot of things that need adjusting . . . 

"[New Orleans] isn’t going to make it easy on us,” Brady added. “We have to go earn it, just like the last team. There’s not a bunch of easy plays out there. There’s no magic play you can call. You’ve just got to make no excuse and go make the play. We’re all going to be challenged with that opportunity.”

It seemed, as Brady continued, that he would really like to see people competing at about “hair on fire” level at all times. And he continued to intimate that’s not what he’s seeing.

“I think [will] is important and you bring it every day,” he said. “There’s urgency in practice and the coaches put a lot of pressure on us. Veteran players and leaders put a lot of pressure on you because you’re trying to perform at a very high level. When you get beat the way we got beat I think that sat with everyone for a very long time. We’re going to have to go do something about it. I mean no one else can do it for us. We’re the only guys in the locker room. No one else is putting on the uniform. It’s only us. It’s up to us to go do something about it so that’s what we have to be able to do.”