Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs live blog: Score updates, highlights from NFL kickoff game

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Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs live blog: Score updates, highlights from NFL kickoff game

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SportsPulse: The games are finally here. And we are here to help you place the smartest bets for kickoff weekend. Lorenzo Reyes provides his locks for Week 1 in the NFL.

USA TODAY

For the first time since Super Bowl LIV, NFL players will take the field Thursday night to face someone other than their own teammates.

With preseason games canceled and training camps shortened amid the coronavirus pandemic, teams have slowly worked their way back into form for the season. But now, with the league having returned just five positive player tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 11, the NFL is prepared to make its full return.

The Kansas City Chiefs will kick things off by defending their first Super Bowl title in 50 years when they host the Houston Texans, whom they defeated 51-31 in the divisional round of last season’s playoffs after rallying from down 24-0 in the first half. Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson became the league’s two highest-paid players with massive extensions this offseason, and the duo will be looking to add more signature performances to the burgeoning rivalry.

USA TODAY Sports will be covering the game from before kickoff through the final whistle and beyond. Reporter/columnist Mike Jones is on the scene in Kansas City, and NFL editor Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz will be adding additional notes and analysis as well. Check back often for all the latest.

First quarter

TEXANS 7, CHIEFS 0 —  David Johnson – yes, that David Johnson – dices up the Chiefs defense on a 19-yard TD run, the first score of the NFL season. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly is clearly carving out a significant role for Johnson, giving him four touches (three carries, one reception) on the first two drives. It’s too early to call Johnson a winner in the DeAndre Hopkins trade, but it’s clear he landed in an offense that trusts him to revive his career.

THERE’S your first score of the NFL season!

David Johnson dices through the defense to put the Texans up early!

(Via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/a1yJJA42qY

— USA TODAY NFL (@usatodaynfl) September 11, 2020

Texans 0, Chiefs 0 — Looked for a second there as Patrick Mahomes was picking up right where he left off in Super Bowl LIV, as a 36-yard strike to Demarcus Robinson was poised to be the first score of the season – until officials ruled it an incompletion. Impressive sack by promising Texans pass rusher Jacob Martin against Chiefs standout right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to force third-and-long and the eventual punt.

The first series of the NFL season is a three-and-out by the Texans. OK, we’ll get to the fireworks eventually … we think.

Pregame

The Texans returned to the locker room for both the national anthem and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” while Chiefs DE Alex Okafor was the only Kansas City player to kneel during the anthem. 

One figure who’s clearly taking coronavirus prevention seriously: Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

Pretty sure Andy Reid got his mask for this game from a local high school welding class #Chiefskingdom#Texanspic.twitter.com/SG9kjbLpGy

— John Breech (@johnbreech) September 11, 2020

It should quickly become clear how different this game will be from a typical outing. Arrowhead Stadium will only have approximately 14,000 fans on hand, NBC reported prior to the game.

Chiefs player to watch: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. After incumbent starter Damien Williams opted out of the season, the 5-7, 207-pound first-round pick is trending toward being the Chiefs’ primary option out of the backfield, GM Brett Veach said. He might share carries with Darrel Williams tonight, but Edwards-Helaire should also figure prominently in the passing game, as he caught 55 passes last year for LSU.

Texans player to watch: WR Brandin Cooks. Sliding into the passing game along with Randall Cobb after DeAndre Hopkins was traded, Cooks is active despite being hampered by a quad injury. How effective can he be in helping Houston keep pace with Kansas City?

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ NFL coverage on Twitter @usatodaynfl.

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