Former Alabama running back Damien Harris rushed for 100 yards in his first NFL start on Monday night, but the milestone didn’t keep the New England Patriots from losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 26-10.
A second-round draft choice in 2019, Harris played only five offensive snaps as a rookie, and he spent the first three games of the 2020 season on injured reserve after having surgery for a finger injury in the first week of September.
On Monday afternoon, the Patriots moved Harris to the active roster while putting running back Sony Michel on injured reserve with a quad injury. With Michel out, Harris got the starting assignment over James White and Rex Burkhead.
Harris gained exactly 100 yards on 17 carries, the most rushing attempts for a New England player this season.
Harris had a 41-yard run to the Kansas City 25-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. New England capitalized on the big gain by scoring its only touchdown to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 13-10 with 13:45 to play.
Six other players from Alabama high schools and colleges were at Monday night’s game:
· Byron Cowart (Auburn) started at defensive tackle for the Patriots. Cowart made two tackles.
· Patriots offensive tackle Korey Cunningham (Montevallo High School) was in uniform but did not play.
· Tyreek Hill (West Alabama) started at wide receiver for the Chiefs. Hill caught four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. Hill’s score was more like a run than a pass as he took a forward pitch in the backfield from quarterback Patrick Mahomes and swept 6 yards to the end zone as Kansas City took a 13-3 lead with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. Hill became the first Chiefs player with a TD reception in each of the first four games of a season since fullback Curtis McClinton in 1966. (McClinton didn’t catch another touchdown pass in the rest of that season.)
· Patriots linebacker Anfernee Jennings (Dadeville, Alabama) made one tackle.
· Jonathan Jones (Auburn) started at defensive back for the Patriots. Jones made five tackles.
· Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) completed 5-of-13 passes for 60 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in his first action of the season. With former Auburn All-American Cam Newton sidelined by COVID-19, New England started Brian Hoyer at quarterback. Stidham entered the game on the Patriots’ final possession of the third quarter with Kansas City leading 13-3. Stidham connected with wide receiver N’Keal Harry from 4 yards out for his first NFL touchdown pass with 13:45 to play. But on New England’s next possession, a Stidham pass went through the hands of wide receiver Julian Edelman, and Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu returned the interception 25 yards for a touchdown.
The game was supposed to be played on Sunday afternoon, but positive coronavirus tests by Newton and Kansas City practice-squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu caused the NFL to postpone it. After a weekend of negative tests from the two teams, the Patriots flew to Kansas City on Monday for the game.
The Chiefs became the first NFL team to start four consecutive seasons with 4-0 records by winning on Monday night. Kansas City hosts the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
New England dropped to 2-2 and hosts the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.