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KANSAS CITY Tremaine Edmunds Color Rush Jersey , Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes had a quiet first start for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mahomes’ first appearance as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback lasted nine plays and netted 29 yards Thursday during a 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans in the preseason opener for both teams.
Now, the challenge for Mahomes, who finished 5 of 7 for 33 yards on his two drives, is to use the game to get ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at the Los Angeles Chargers.
“We’ve got to just keep perfecting our craft, keep perfecting the plays and hopefully move the ball and score a few more touchdowns,” he said, calling the preseason “a little bit of a tease.”
Mahomes, who took over the starting job when Alex Smith was traded to Washington during the offseason, was sacked once and didn’t throw a touchdown or interception in a solid, if unspectacular, performance.
“Just scoring a touchdown or a field goal would probably have made it a lot better,” Mahomes said. “We moved the ball a little bit; we made some plays. But at the same time, you want to kind of get the drive going a little bit more.”
Eventually, Chiefs fans will get to see Mahomes’ full ability on display. He didn’t complete a pass longer than 14 yards and never targeted Sammy Watkins — who signed a three-year, $48 million deal in the offseason — on Thursday.
“Being the quarterback that I am, I like to take shots downfield,” Mahomes said. “I just didn’t get the opportunity to do it tonight.”
The announced crowd of 58,465 also witnessed the return of Houston’s second-year franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who was selected two picks after Mahomes at No. 12 overall in the 2017 draft.
Watson won the Texans’ starting job last season, but missed the second half of the season with a torn ACL. He played only one series and threw only one pass — a 4-yard completion to wide receiver Bruce Ellington — while handing off four times to running back Lamar Miller.
“I thought it was important for him to go through the whole warmup process and preparation for the game and get out there and operate the offense,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.
That was good enough for Watson, who relished the return.
“It was a good time to get the juices flowing a little bit, to hear the fans and just walk on the field,” Watson said.
Brandon Weeden took over for Houston after the game’s opening drive and led back-to-back touchdown drives — including a 12-play Youth Tremaine Edmunds Jersey , 68-yard drive during his first series that was capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Jordan Akins.
Weeden hooked up with Akins for a 14-yard touchdown on the next drive and finished 9 of 11 for 97 yards with two touchdowns after starting out with two incompletions.
Mahomes’ backup, Chad Henne, was responsible for the lone Chiefs touchdown — a 24-yard pass over the top to Demarcus Robinson late in the second quarter.
“I want to come out and show the coaches I can make plays, so it was pretty good,” Robinson said. “We had a double move called, so I gave him a little hesitation about 5 yards off the line and it was a great ball.”
Robinson finished with three catches for a game-high 48 yards, while Henne finished 8 of 14 for 91 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Several notable players were absent for both teams.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry (Achilles’ heel) didn’t dress for the game. Backup Eric Murray got the start instead alongside rookie safety Armani Watts, who replaced injured starter Daniel Sorenson (knee).
“When they came and told me (I was starting), I was just ready,” said Watts, a rookie fourth-round pick from Texas A&M. “That’s what you’ve got to be as the next man up.”
Kansas City also was without both starting inside linebackers — Anthony Hitchens, a free-agent acquisition from the Cowboys, and Reggie Ragland.
Houston had its share of absences as well — including linebacker Whitney Mercilus (soft tissue injury), who didn’t make the trip.
Linebackers Benardrick McKinney and Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end J.J. Watt, safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Johnathan Joseph also didn’t play along with starting wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.
There were no protests from players on either team — though a few Chiefs, in particular, stood well off the sideline near the benches — during the national anthem. It didn’t appear that any players went to the locker room for the anthem.
Texans LB Kennan Gilchrist did not return after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet blow late in the fourth quarter.
Coach Andy Reid said the Chiefs had three injuries — C Jimmy Murray (left knee), RB Kerwynn Williams (head), and G Ethan Cooper (left shoulder).
The Chiefs (0-1) return to action Friday, Aug. 17, at the Atlanta Falcons.
The Texans (1-0) host the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, Aug. 18.
MILWAUKEE — Ryan Braun is expected to be back in Milwaukee and available Thursday night when the Brewers open a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
Braun left the team Thursday morning for Los Angeles, where he received a cryotherapy injection in his right thumb — a procedure he has undergone four times since first receiving treatment on the thumb following the 2014 season.
“It started bugging him the last couple of days so he flew out (Thursday) morning) http://www.broncosauthorizedshops.com/authentic-courtland-sutton-jersey ,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s something that he expects from time to time. When it starts (bothering him), we try to get in front of it and knock it out right away.”
Braun was expected to miss Milwaukee’s game Wednesday night at Pittsburgh, but Mother Nature made the point moot as rain forced cancellation of the finale of a three-game series with the Pirates.
As a result, the Brewers will take the field Thursday virtually tied with the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central with the Cardinals lingering 4 1/2 games behind.
St. Louis will try to cut into that deficit behind right-hander Carlos Martinez (3-3, 2.73 ERA), who has struggled since returning from the disabled list back on June 5.
In three starts since then, Martinez is 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA. He struck out 15 while walking 18 in 12 2/3 innings — failing to get past the fifth in any of those outings — while opponents have batted .306 against him with a .908 OPS.
“He’s got to do something different, I know,” manager Mike Matheny admitted. “(Pitching coach Mike) Maddux has talked to him about getting locked in. It just looks different. We need him to be like he can be.”
Martinez was off to a strong start before the injury. He bounced back from a rough season-opening outing against the New York Mets to post a 0.99 ERA over his next seven starts. He still had a 1.77 ERA after the Minnesota Twins tagged him for four runs over five innings in a 7-1 loss on May 8 but was placed on the disabled list the next day with a strained forearm.
“Right when he got hurt, he was as good as anybody in the league,” said Matheny. “We’ve just got to get him back there, that’s all.
Martinez has faced Milwaukee twice this season, dominating the Brewers in each appearance. He held them to a run over six innings in a 5-3 victory on April 10 in St. Louis and fell two outs short of a complete game shutout on April 4 at Miller Park, where he is 4-4 with a 2.36 ERA in 16 career appearances, including 10 starts.
Overall, he’s 6-4 with a 1.95 ERA in his career against Milwaukee and has held the Brewers to two runs or fewer in 10 of his last 14 starts against the Brewers.
Because of the rainout in Pittsburgh, left-hander Brent Suter (7-4, 4.30) will get an extra day of rest and start for Milwaukee on Thursday, with Junior Guerra, Chase Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin rounding out the series.
Suter is 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season, and 1-2 with a 4.10 ERA in eight career appearances (four starts) against the Cardinals..