You can forget about those wild predictions of the New England Patriots going 19-0 this season.
The defending Superbowl champs reveled in opening ceremonies before their home crowd last night, who got another look at the Vince Lombardi trophy earned with the greatest comeback in Superbowl history, and let the much-loathed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell know how popular he is in New England with a chorus of boos and words you never heard in the bible rained down on him the moment he stepped onto the field, took a 17-14 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs into halftime, and then got torn to shreds by the Chiefs the rest of the way in a 42-27 loss.
Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt fumbled on his first ever NFL carry, but bounced right back to score three touchdowns and gain a record setting 246 yards in his pro debut. Alex Smith torched the Patriots defense with four touchdowns and not a single pick, the first time a quarterback has ever achieved such a feat against a Bill Belichick-led team. He connected with Tyreek Hill for a 75-yard TD and Hunt grabbed another for a 78-yard score. It was also the first time the Patriots ever lost a game at Gillette Stadium when leading at half time.
Newly acquired Patriots running back Mike Gillislie did have a strong game if you're looking for a silver lining, scoring on three short touchdown runs, but Tom Brady was not much of a factor in this one, connecting on 16 for 36 pass attempts for a total of 267 yards and no touchdowns.
This is not the first time the Pats have been pummeled by the Chiefs, who handed them a lopsided defeat in 2014, albeit in Kansas City rather than on the Pats' home turf, and Brady and company responded with a string of seven victories in a row and ended up winning the Superbowl in a thriller over the Seattle Seahawks, that year.
Whether the team can rebound in similar fashion this year remains to be seen. One factor that could make such a comeback more difficult: the loss of linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who left in the 3rd quarter with a knee injury last night. It is probably no coincidence that the Chiefs put the game away after Hightower went out, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter. But if any coach and team can learn from this kind of loss, it's Belichick and the Patriots. Many are the occasions they have been written off and nearly each time it has been proven that rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated.
To Major League Baseball, and while the Boston Red Sox were idle last night, perhaps trading in their Apple watches for a good old fashioned Timex, the NY Yankees were busy scoring a 9-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Yanks went home run happy with Aaron Judge, Chase Headley, Starlin Castro and Todd Frazier all going yard at Camden Yards, and the Yankees also honored one of their franchise greats, Gene Michael, who died Thursday of a heart attack at the age of 79.
Michael played for the Yankees, coached the team, and was general manager at various points in his storied career, and the Yankees wore black arm bands to acknowledge his passing. Sonny Gray got the win for New York, giving up just up one run, unearned, and six hits in five and two thirds innings of work. The victory moves the Yankees back to within three and a half games of the Red Sox for first place in the American League east and increases their lead over Baltimore for the wild card to four. Up next for the Yankees is a series against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, with Masahiro Tanaka getting the start tonight. The Red Sox continue their home stand at Fenway tonight against a team that's given them fits this year, the Tampa Bay Rays. Drew Pomeranz takes the hill for Boston.
It's not a luxury teams like to have, being out of playoff contention, but that status does allow for a look at some rookies and whether they might be part of a team's future plans, and perhaps Brandon Nimmo has a future with the NY Mets. The rookie outfielder homered twice in the Mets 7-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds and Juan Lagares added a solo shot, making a winner of Matt Harvey.
The Toronto Blue Jays were idle last night.
The Vermont Lake Monsters closed out their regular season schedule yesterday by splitting a double header with the Lowell Spinners, and now have their sights set on the playoffs.
In the post-season for just the fourth time in team history, the Monsters, who won the Stedler division, will open the post-season tomorrow against either the Mahoning Valley Scrappers or the Staten Island Yankees.
The women's draw at the U.S. Open tennis tournament has been nothing short of sensational this year, and last night's semi-final match between Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens contributed. Stephens won the first set, didn't win a single game in the second, and was two points away from elimination in the third before battling back to defeat the veteran Williams 7-5 in the final set. She'll face fellow American Madison Keys in the final after Keys had an easier time beating Coco Vandewegh in straight sets. It'll be the first all-American women's final at the Open since 2002.
The men are still in the semi-final rounds, with Juan Martin del Potro facing Rafael Nadal, and Kevin Anderson set to play Pablo Carreno Busta.
In college Field Hockey, Saint Michael's College fell to Saint Anselm College 3-1. Arianna Boscia scored the lone goal for the Purple Knights, who are 1-2 on the season.