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Kansas City at New England

Brady exits in first quarter with injury, Pats fend off Chiefs in opener

CBSSports.com wire reports

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady screamed. The fans went quiet.

AFC wide open with Pats' Brady banged up
by Mike Freeman
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The seemingly indestructible star of the New England Patriots lay on the ground, clutching his left knee. The NFL's reigning MVP and three-time Super Bowl champion was done for the day -- at least.

"He was in a lot of pain. When you hear a scream, you know that," Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard said after hitting Brady on the left leg midway through the first quarter.

Untested Matt Cassel took over, and played well as the Patriots beat the Chiefs 17-10 in Sunday's opener. But they needed a last minute defensive stand to do it.

There was no word on the extent of Brady's injury -- "I am not sure what we are dealing with," coach Bill Belichick said -- or how long he would be out. But his 128-game starting streak, third-longest in NFL history, is in jeopardy.

"It kind of looked bad," Randy Moss said. "I know the show must go on and, hopefully, Matt Cassel is ready to step in."

He was Sunday. That came as somewhat of a surprise after he failed to produce a touchdown in 17 exhibition series, leading many to wonder if he would even make the team on which he backed up Brady the past three seasons.

"He did a good job coming in and, obviously, made some big plays for us," tackle Matt Light said. "That guy's had a lot of criticism cast down on him and I felt like he stepped up and played like a professional."

Still, the Patriots plummeted from an exclamation point of an unbeaten 2007 regular season to a huge question mark in 2008. They lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants 17-14 then went 0-4 in the exhibition season while Brady had a right foot injury and missed all four games.

But for the first time in 57 games, Brady wasn't listed on the Patriots' injury report for Sunday's game. He completed seven of 11 passes for 76 yards.

Cassel, who had thrown just 39 passes in his first three seasons, went 13-for-18 for 152 yards and one touchdown.

"This is something I've been preparing for (for) a long time. It's not something that we expected to come up on opening day," he said. "Since I've been here and been around Tom, he's always popped back up."

Not this time. And Kansas City also had its own quarterback woes.

Damon Huard, playing after Brodie Croyle left with a bruised shoulder late in the third quarter, completed a 68-yard pass to Devard Darling, who cornerback Deltha O'Neal ran down and tackled at the Patriots 5 with 53 seconds left.

"It was a gut check. Go get him," said O'Neal, a two-time Pro Bowler who signed early last week. "That's what my whole mentality was."

The Chiefs moved no further with two incompletions, a run for no gain by Larry Johnson and a poorly aimed pass toward Dwayne Bowe.

"Matt played well," Huard said. "At the end of the day, it's how quarterbacks are measured."

But, Chiefs cornerback Patrick Surtain said, "Brady is Brady. There's only one of him."

Last season, Brady set an NFL record with 50 touchdown passes, but it ended in disappointment with the Super Bowl loss.

They stayed calm without him Sunday.

"Worry about the consequences later," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "Whoever's in there, do your job."

With the game scoreless, Brady was hurt when Pollard hit him low as he heaved a 28-yard completion to Moss. But Moss fumbled the ball away.

Cassel was impressive on his first possession, starting at his 2. With a third down at the 1, he threw a 51-yard completion to Moss.

"We had them deep into their territory," defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey said, "but they made a good play."

Eight plays later, Cassel and Moss hooked up for a 10-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

It was Moss' 126th touchdown, tying Jim Brown for eighth most overall, and 125th on a reception, tying him for fourth in NFL history.

The Chiefs cut the lead to 7-3 on a 40-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 17 seconds left in the half.

Cassel led another impressive drive, covering 80 yards in which he completed all four passes. Sammy Morris ended it with a 5-yard scoring run for a 14-3 lead.

The injury marred the Patriots season opener for the second consecutive year.

They won 38-14 at the Jets in last year's first game, then were punished by the NFL after an employee was caught filming the Jets' defensive signals. Belichick was fined $500,000; the team was fined $250,000, and the Patriots also lost a first-round draft choice.

"For Week 1, you never know what to expect," Light said, "and this was one of those weeks."


  • A new banner hung from under the third deck marking their 16-0 regular-season record last year.
  • Croyle, 0-7 as a starter, went 11-for-19 for 88 yards.
  • The Patriots improved their NFL best regular-season winning streak to 20 games.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady hurts his left knee on a hit from safety Bernard Pollard.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady hurts his left knee on a hit from safety Bernard Pollard. (US Presswire)


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Sun. Sept. 7Final
KC - Pass: D. Huard (8-12, 118), Rush: L. Johnson (22-74)
NE - Pass: M. Cassel (13-18, 152), Rec: R. Moss (6-116)
Scoring Summary
TDRandy Moss, 10 Yd pass from Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good), 11:45. Drive: 10 plays, 98 yards in 4:51.
FGNick Novak 40 Yd, 0:17. Drive: 13 plays, 51 yards in 5:43.
TDSammy Morris, 5 Yd run (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good), 3:01. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards in 6:14.
TDDwayne Bowe, 13 Yd pass from Damon Huard (Nick Novak kick is good), 13:06. Drive: 10 plays, 63 yards in 4:55.
FGStephen Gostkowski 37 Yd, 2:26. Drive: 10 plays, 34 yards in 4:55.
Players of the Game

R. Moss
Rec 6
Yds 116
Avg 19.3
TD 1

D. Bowe
Rec 5
Yds 49
Avg 9.8
TD 1
Kansas City
D. Huard8/1211811
B. Croyle11/198800
L. Johnson2274022
J. Charles528011
D. Darling168068
T. Gonzalez655020
D. Bowe549113
L. Johnson112012
J. Webb21006
J. Charles2604
M. Cox2604
New England
M. Cassel13/1815210
T. Brady7/117600
S. Morris1053122
L. Maroney1051017
M. Cassel41309
L. Jordan2605
H. Evans2303
R. Moss6116151
W. Welker651013
S. Morris534011
D. Thomas224018
K. Washington1303
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
DEN 41 Final
OAK 14
MIN 19 Final
GB 24
CHI 29 Final
IND 13
ARI 23 Final
SF 13
CAR 26 Final
SD 24
DAL 28 Final
CLE 10
JAC 10 Final
TEN 17
HOU 17 Final
PIT 38
STL 3 Final
PHI 38
TB 20 Final
NO 24
NYJ 20 Final
MIA 14
SEA 10 Final
BUF 34
CIN 10 Final
BAL 17
DET 21 Final
ATL 34
WAS 7 Final
NYG 16