The Detroit Lions didn’t manage to beat one of the NFL’s best teams in the Kansas City Chiefs, but they did the second best thing by putting a major scare into the opposition which is likely to open some eyes around the league.
Though the Lions roared off to a quick start, the Chiefs eventually caught up, powered by their usual combination of a powerful offense and an opportunistic defense. Interestingly enough, the Lions had nearly this same identical combination on the game, turning a contest which was billed as a potential blowout in the making into one of the most exciting games of the afternoon. With back and forth action most of the day and plenty of touchdowns, there was something for everyone.
As a result, the Lions’ grades for this contest are in, and reflect the look of a team that could be a serious threat to make some noise in 2019.
Detroit had one of their best rushing games in recent memory, as Kerryon Johnson collected 125 yards on his own, easily cracking the 100 yard barrier. As a team, the Lions rushed for 186 yards on the day, which is a gaudy total considering their checkered history on the ground. Matthew Stafford looked confident through the air despite playing through pain, and the combination of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones were once again lethal. Detroit’s tight ends also had an impact on the game, accounting for a touchdown and numerous nice plays.
All told, it was a solid day for Darrell Bevell with balance and play calling. The Lions had an impressive afternoon, and went blow for blow with arguably the NFL’s most potent offense. If there were any problems, a pair of fumbles and protection breakdowns up front doomed the team periodically, but in the end, the Lions still had a shot to win mostly because of the exploits of the offense.
It’s easy to see this team is beginning to understand Bevell’s system and how to run it to perfection.
It’s hard for any team to stop the Kansas City offense cold, and truthfully, the only way to beat such a team is to survive a shootout. With that said, the Lions still had an impressive afternoon on defense. In spite of playing without Darius Slay and losing Quandre Diggs fairly early, the team hung in the game and used combinations of multiple looks to confuse Patrick Mahomes. They limited big plays as best they could and came up with timely takeaways.
Detroit wilted on a key 4th down late in the game which represented one of the biggest mistakes in the game considering the team’s lack of a spy on Mahomes, and came up a few plays short. This performance was still nothing to be ashamed of.
Detroit had a nice day kicking the ball, with Matt Prater striking for a 53 yard field goal and remaining consistent with his other kicks and extra points. Detroit also forced a turnover on a kickoff return, with Jamal Agnew playing the role of specialty teams hero again with a nice forced fumble. Though the group did not account for a big return, it was still a solid afternoon. All told, it was another decent day for the Detroit group, as they continue to try and clean things up after a tough start to the season. So far, so good as the last few weeks have gone.
Give Matt Patricia credit for nearly replicating the game plan the New England Patriots had against the Chiefs in the AFC title game last season. The Detroit defensive game plan was a masterpiece and held a powerful quarterback without a passing touchdown. On the offensive side of the ball, Darrell Bevell put together a solid game plan which managed to have balance between the ground and air, a rarity in Detroit. As a whole, the Lions did nice work as a staff to prepare their team. Thus far, it has been a season full of solid game plans for the staff, and the near upset of Kansas City might prove to be their biggest coup.