Kareem Hunt Sets NFL Record with 246 Yards from Scrimmage in Debut

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2017

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt lost a fumble on his first career carry in Thursday's season opener against the New England Patriots

And then he became the best playmaker on the field.

Hunt finished with 148 rushing yards, 98 receiving yards and three total touchdowns—two of which came through the air. Graham Barfield of Fantasy Guru noted Hunt's 246 yards from scrimmage set an all-time NFL record for a rookie debut in Week 1.

The Toledo product made a number of explosive plays in Thursday's 42-27 victory, none of which were more important than his 78-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter with his team trailing by six. The ensuing extra point gave the Chiefs the lead for good, and he created some critical breathing room for his defense with a rushing touchdown later in the fourth.

Hunt answered any questions about how involved he would be in the offense Thursday with 17 carries—quarterback Alex Smith was the only other Chief with more than two—and five catches on five targets.

He established himself as a playmaker out of the backfield on passing downs with Toledo when he caught 41 passes for 403 yards last year and showed no signs of stopping at the NFL level.

ESPN Stats & Info noted Hunt joined some impressive company with his showing Thursday:

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Hunt's performance was even more noteworthy considering it came on the road against the defending champions, who just so happened to finish third in the entire NFL in rushing yards allowed per game last season.

Kansas City's next three matchups come against rushing defenses that were more vulnerable in 2016 in the Philadelphia Eagles (15th), Los Angeles Chargers (10th) and Washington (24th). If Hunt plays like he did against the Patriots in those games, he will be the early runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year.