FOXBOROUGH — All the talk this summer was about how fast the Patriots had gotten with their offseason acquisitions.
Thursday night in their season opener they found out the Chiefs have some serious speed, too.
Kansas City spoiled New England’s banner night at Gillette Stadium by blitzing the home team with several big plays en route to a 42-27 victory that few outside the 816 area code saw coming.
The Chiefs scored on three 90-yard drives and two other drives of 76 and 75 yards. Kansas City had just one drive of 90-plus yards all of last season.
The big play was a big problem as Alex Smith fired touchdown passes of 75 and 78 yards to Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, respectively, in the second half.
Hunt was a one-man wrecking ball. He rushed 17 times for 148 yards (with a long of 58 yards) and caught 5 passes for 98 yards. His 239 yards from scrimmage are the most by any player in his NFL debut since the 1970 merger.
Smith was brilliant at the Kansas City controls, completing 28 of 35 tosses for 368 yards, 4 TDs, and a 148.6 passer rating. He is only the second player with a 300-plus-yard, 4-TD passing performance against a Bill Belichick defense, joining Drew Brees, who did it in 2009.
“It’s always disappointing when you lose,’’ said safety Devin McCourty. “We knew they were a good football team — we just got to play better.’’
Asked how the team puts this disappointment in the rearview mirror, McCourty was blunt.
“A lot of hard work,’’ he said. “We’ve got to get a lot better if we want to win any football games this year.”
Tom Brady to Brandin Cooks, 54-yard gain
Smith and the Chiefs wiped out deficits of 17-14 (Hill badly beat Stephon Gilmore with no safety help) and 27-21 (Hunt beat everybody down the seam) to break the Patriots’ will.
Hunt and Charcandrick West added late fourth-quarter touchdowns against a New England defense that didn’t look right all night and only got worse when Dont’a Hightower left in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola left in the fourth quarter with a head injury after absorbing several big hits.
It was the most yards given up by a Belichick defense (537) and tied for the most points.
Not long after Flo Rida welcomed everybody to Robert Kraft’s house, it looked like the Patriots were going to run the Chiefs right out the front door.
Eventually it was the Chiefs who made themselves right at home.
New England drove 73 yards on nine plays on its initial possession as Tom Brady showed off some of his new weapons — and some of his older ones, too.
Mike Gillislee answered the question as to who will be taking LeGarrette Blount’s short-yardage carries by capping the 2:52 drive with a 2-yard plunge for the 7-0 lead. Brady hit Brandin Cooks for 19 yards and Amendola for 16 on the series.
The Patriots got the ball back two plays later when safety Jordan Richards, installed as a linebacker to help combat Kansas City’s speed, forced a fumble on Hunt’s first career carry, giving New England the ball at the Chiefs’ 32.
It appeared the Patriots had doubled their lead when Brady hit a diving Rob Gronkowski with a laser in the end zone that was originally called a TD. It was reversed (correctly) and the drive stalled when Gillislee was stopped short on a fourth-down run.
There was a brief scare for the Patriots when Gronkowski walked slowly to the sideline after his end zone catch. He talked to trainer Jim Whalen but he came right back in the game and seemed no worse for the wear.
The Chiefs offense, buoyed by the defense’s stand, responded with a 12-play, 90-yard drive that was capped by Smith’s 7-yard toss to Demetrius Harris.
The Patriots regained the lead on Stephen Gostkowski’s 25-yard field goal with 14:56 left in the second when they eschewed going for it on another fourth and 1.
The hosts pushed the lead to 17-7 when Gillislee again plunged over from the 2-yard line to finish an 11-play, 82-yard trek. The big plays were Brady connections of 22 to Amendola and 16 to Gronkowski.
After trading punts, the Chiefs put together their second impressive scoring march of the night. This 12-play, 92-yarder ended with Smith’s 3-yard pass to Hunt as Kansas City chopped their deficit to 17-14 at the half.