It didn't get off to the best of starts, but the Kansas City Chiefs' first game of the season ended in a favorable outcome. After quite a bit of drama, the team came back and defeated the Cleveland Browns by a final score of 33-29.
Heading into the halftime break, things looked bleak for the Chiefs. They were down 22-10 and initially couldn't stop the Browns' offense. Momentum slowly began to shift in the second half, though, once the team's offense found its footing and the Browns' own attack lost its bite. In the fourth quarter, one big play and a special teams mishap completely tipped things in favor of the Chiefs. It was a thrilling win for a team that has shown time and time again that no lead is safe.
Here are four takeaways from this afternoon's game.
1. Tyreek Hill is still a cheat code
The fastest player in the NFL earned his keep — and then some — in the Chiefs' season opener. Aside from his ridiculous 75-yard reception on a deep ball from Patrick Mahomes, Hill was all over the place. His route tree was put on full display, he adjusted to passes and was sure-handed throughout the entirety of the game. In a contest in which he was the only Chiefs wide receiver to stand out in a major way, Hill stuffed the stat sheet. 11 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown is one heck of a way to begin 2021.
2. Patrick Mahomes is, too
Let's just get this out of the way: Patrick Mahomes was far from perfect against the Browns. His pocket presence was inconsistent and he left some opportunities on the field. With that said, he was pretty darn good. The superstar quarterback completed 27 of his 36 passes for 337 yards and a trio of touchdowns. He extended plays and even when he didn't look totally comfortable, he kept his composure and got the job done at a very high level. Mahomes looked like... Mahomes.
3. Orlando Brown has some work to do
Per Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus, Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. tied his career high with five pressures allowed. He had prior experience facing Browns star pass-rusher Myles Garrett and had succeeded at a decent rate in the past, but that wasn't the case on Sunday. It's going to take time for Brown to get used to the Chiefs' system and what they need him to do, but Week 1 didn't see him put forth an inspiring performance. His progress will be worth watching moving forward.
4. The Chiefs need to get healthy on defense
Somewhat unexpectedly, the Chiefs were without safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark against the Browns. Mathieu was recently cleared from COVID-19 protocols, and Clark had been dealing with a hamstring injury. Nonetheless, the Chiefs' defense looked rough in the first half. Defensive lineman Chris Jones was able to step up and generate some pressure on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, though, recording a pair of sacks. Cornerback Mike Hughes also came down with the game-clinching interception. With that said, the process is more important than the result. Kansas City lacked football IQ and production for a huge chunk of Sunday's game, and both Mathieu and Clark will look to bring that when they return to the field.