LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire makes NFL debut with Super Bowl Champions in season opener
BATON ROUGE - Former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire made his NFL debut Thursday night defending Super Bowl Champions in the first game of the NFL season.
The Kansas City Chiefs took on the Houston Texans in Kansas City, Missouri Sept. 10 with a 7:20 p.m. kickoff.
The first-round NFL draft pick and former LSU Tiger is expected to help lead and defend the Chiefs to victory in Arrowhead Stadium.
Independent reporter Dov Kleiman posted a video of Helaire's first NFL carry, stating the rookie would be a "tough tackle" this season.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, NFL players and coaches have spent the last six weeks together to adjust to the "new normal" in training camp, ESPN reports.
Their annual camp visits were canceled as well as the entire NFL preseason for safety reasons.
"We're still dealing with the unknown," executive director of the NFL Referees Association Scott Green said. "We don't know yet how it's going to go. We really didn't have a dry run. There was no training camp, there was no preseason. We just haven't had an opportunity for our people to actually test it all out."
The NFL's new safety protocols have shifted the typical schedule and routine for teams, even eliminating some traditions.
As for fans in the stands, guidelines vary from state to state and team to team. Some teams have announced they will proceed with limited capacities, while other teams will progress without fans.
The Chiefs said they planned on having about 16,000 fans in Arrowhead Stadium for the Sept. 10 opener, limiting attendance to 22% of stadium capacity. Last season, the team's stadium attendance totaled to 72,936 tickets, meaning this year, it's cut to 16,046.
Other coronavirus-related changes include requiring officials to wear face coverings while on the field and requiring referees to use handheld, electronic whistles.
Head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid, wore a full visor face covering for the opener.
Andy Reid with the full visor over his face for tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/yEzJSqsARD— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 11, 2020
A new interpretation of illegal conduct is also in place, which could cause an elevated number of flags. ESPN officiating analyst John Parry explained the rule.
"The rule basically says that you cannot contact a receiver beyond five yards unless you're protecting yourself from the impeding contact that the receiver creates," Parry said. "So if a receiver is running free and not going into a defender, and the receiver is beyond five yards, the defender cannot step toward that receiver and touch or contact the receiver. In years past, we were taught that we wanted to see force. We want to see a redirection of the route based on the force. This year, as it has been presented, it's contact. If you touch or contact the receiver beyond five yards as it stands today, they want that to be called."
Texans running back David Johnson was the first to score, sprinting down the sideline for 19 yards.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce worked together to tie the score in the endzone.
Mahomes assisted Sammy Watkins in a second touchdown in the second quarter, putting the Chiefs in the lead at 14-7.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored his first NFL touchdown in the third quarter, bringing the score to 24-7.
Edwards-Helaire became the first player with 100+ rush yards and a rush touchdown in an NFL debut since Saquon Barkley in Week 1, 2018 against the Jaguars, NFL reports.
After his 27-yard TD run, Clyde Edwards-Helaire became the first player with 100+ rush yards and a rush TD in an NFL debut since Saquon Barkley in Week 1, 2018 vs the Jaguars— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) September 11, 2020
Mahomes worked with wide receiver Tyreek Hill with a pass to the end zone, leading with 31-7 in the fourth quarter.
With minutes left, Texans tight end Jordan Akins scored, but the two-point attempt was no good. 31-13 Kansas City.
The Texans scored once more with just 2:38 on the clock, Watson jogging through the end zone.
The Kansas City Chiefs win 34-20.
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