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Andy Reid: Kareem Hunt 'tremendous' in NFL debut

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  • By Edward Lewis NFL.com
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Kareem Hunt fumbled on his first-ever NFL carry. He more than made up for the mistake on his ensuing 21 touches.

Despite losing the football on the Chiefs' first offensive snap of the 2017 season, coach Andy Reid stuck with his rookie running back and was rewarded tremendously in Kansas City's 42-27 win over the New England Patriots on Thursday night.

Hunt's 246 yards from scrimmage was the most ever by a player in their NFL debut. The Chiefs' third-round pick rushed for 148 yards on 17 carries and added 98 more yards through the air on five catches.

"We were going as Kareem was going," quarterback Alex Smith said of Hunt, who also scored three touchdowns. "He was really a big chunk of the offense tonight. For a young guy, we put a lot on him in all facets of the game tonight and he was able to handle it. So certainly hats off to him in both those areas, not just physically but I mean he was able to handle the game plan, so that was a credit to him."

Anquan Boldin had previously held the mark for most scrimmage yards by a rookie in their first NFL game, but Hunt's epic romp eclipsed Boldin's 2003 effort by 29.

The tailback, who earned the bulk of the running back snaps because of Spencer Ware's season-ending injury, was unstoppable. He had a 58-yard run. He had a 78-yard touchdown reception. He broke tackles and ran by Patriots defenders. At the end of the night, no New England player brought him down for a loss on any of his touches.

"Our rookie running back just did a tremendous job," coach Andy Reid said. "It started out just a little bit shaky but it was all heart. I mean he was trying hard, tried maybe a step too hard and the ball popped out, but I am proud of him for getting right back on it and doing a good job."

Hunt fumbled just one time in 855 attempts in his four-year career at Toledo, but he recovered it. While he wasn't able to hop on the ball he lost on his first NFL attempt, it's safe to say he recovered well enough to help lead the Chiefs to an upset in the league's opener.

"We're like the underdogs and a lot people didn't believe in us and we all wanted to hush the crowd and come out with a big win and shock people," Hunt said after the game. "Shock the world."

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