A win is a win. For the Kansas City Chiefs, that’s all that matters following their matchup with the Detroit Lions. However, there is much to clean up and take away from this victory. Kansas City had a slow start, similar to the Oakland game. This time, the sluggish funk remained. There were a few smartly handled plays that benefitted the Chiefs more than the Lions. Also a grinding, never say die attitude by the offense led to a game winning touchdown in the last minute. Now, let’s relive this wild game with our recap of Chiefs versus Lions.
Out of Sync
Early on, the Chiefs high flying offense looked off. This was the opposite of what we saw last week against Baltimore. Patrick Mahomes was just a hair off when trying to connect on deep throws. The Chiefs offensive line also looked caught off guard multiple times, by the Lions relentless pass rush. Despite being depleted by injuries defensively, Detroit fought hard and made things difficult for Kansas City.
Wheeling and Dealing
Opposite of Mahomes, Matthew Stafford was dealing early and often. It was very evident the Lions wanted to pick on Charvarius Ward. After a slow start, Ward’s status took a worse turn on Sunday. You have to wonder if his role diminishes greatly, with Morris Claiborne coming off a four game suspension.
Besides Stafford taking chances and shots downfield, the Lions also did a nice job of controlling the clock. Their gameplan was very balanced all day long. For example, Detroit finished the game with 34 pass attempts to 35 rushing attempts. If it wasn’t for stalls in the red zone, the Lions may have possibly walked away with 40 plus points and the victory. Detroit was successful on just 50 percent of red zone trips. Both of their fumbles were lost down there, including one where Bashaud Breeland returned it 100 yards for a Chiefs touchdown.
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The Lions running game gashed the Chiefs throughout the day. On 35 carries, Detroit accumulated 186 rushing yards. That’s good enough for 5.3 yards per tote. To boot, Kansas City has now allowed 125 rushing yards or more in three consecutive weeks. Kerryon Johnson was able to enjoy his best game of the season. Missed tackles, along with the pace in which the Lions were moving the ball killed the Chiefs. Furthermore, Johnson and the Lions were keying in on cutback runs. With the Chiefs linebackers getting sucked in to one side, the gap was to easy to run through on the other side.
Quickly, let’s look back at those fumbles. In that wild third quarter, there was a fumble lost by Mecole Hardman on the kickoff to open the half. Both teams combined to fumble on four of the next five drives. The Chiefs fumbles were just a case of not protecting the ball very well. The Lions were almost daring them to initiate contact when the ball was hand. Once a defender was close enough, the Lions were persistent in punching the ball out. They must have watched a Peanut Tillman video this week. The Lions fumbles benefitted the Chiefs defense more than the KC offense. As we mentioned, both of the fumbles by Detroit occurred in the red zone.
Any Way Possible
Even though their day started slow, the Chiefs offense was able to grind out positive plays when it mattered at the end. On the game winning drive, Mahomes used his legs to convert on 4th and 8 and move the Chiefs to midfield. His scrambling allowed for receivers to get open in the middle of the field. Travis Kelce was a problem for the Lions, and he was able to make defenders miss during a catch on this drive. Once again, the running game was just fine without Damien Williams. LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams both worked together well, similar to the Ravens win.
However, the biggest play of the game has to be the completion from Mahomes to Byron Pringle. It was a 2nd and 10 play with 39 seconds left. Mahomes anticipation, combined with Pringle’s ability to take a lick and hold on to the ball was massively important. That is especially true, considering the plenty of fumbles we saw in this game. Pringle deserves a lot of credit for that catch, which moved the Chiefs down to the Lions three yard line. Darrel Williams was able to punch in the game winning score.
Exhale and Escape
It wasn’t the most pretty game for the Chiefs. Not all games are going to be perfect. But, the fact the offense still scored 27 points somehow without Mahomes throwing a touchdown was impressive. And the important thing was they walked out victorious. The Lions look to be for real in the tough, thick NFC. They could challenge for a possible playoff spot throughout the season.
The Chiefs will head back home to Arrowhead Stadium, where they will play four of the next five games from. This week, they will play under the lights on Sunday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have fought hard with Jacoby Brissett leading the team. They’ll look to spoil Kansas City’s plans on Sunday night.
That will conclude our recap of Chiefs versus Lions. For now, be sure to stay tuned to Full Press Coverage for more great sports and NFL content.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.