Jared Goff Monday Night Football
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) is pressured by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Foyesade Oluokun (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Lions Take Down the Chiefs at Arrowhead 21-20

In the first National Football League game of the 2023 season, the Detroit Lions escaped with a 21-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Lions trailed in the fourth quarter, but a touchdown by running back David Montgomery helped propel the team ahead. Additionally, two major defensive stops by Detroit proved to be key in the win against the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Lions Strike First but Kansas City Answers

Both teams opened with failed drives. Though on the Lions’ second drive, they would put together a 14-play 91-yard touchdown drive. That drive included a fake punt at Detroit’s own 17-yard line.

During that drive, the Lions accrued five first downs and took over eight minutes in possession. On third down in the red zone, Lions quarterback Jared Goff connected with wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown for a nine-yard touchdown, putting Detroit ahead 7-0.

But the lead did not last long.

The Chiefs put together a 13-play drive to tie the game at seven. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes converted three third downs on the drive, including a one-yard touchdown to Rashee Rice on 3rd-and-goal.

The Lions started their next drive well, as they got into the red zone after some key passes by Goff. On third down, Goff completed a pass to Marvin Jones. Though, he fumbled and Kansas City got the ball back. Luckily for Detroit, Kansas City didn’t get any points out of it.

The Chiefs got the ball back just before the two-minute warning. They went 82 yards down the field in 88 seconds to score a touchdown and take the lead. Mahomes completed a 34-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 3rd-and-long, and the Chiefs would score two plays later. Kansas City went into halftime up 14-7.

Lions Defense Steps up in Second Half

The Lions struggled in parts of the first half and went a quick three-and-out on their first drive of the second half. The Detroit defense got two stops in the first half but struggled when it mattered. The Chiefs converted five of their seven chances on third down in the first half.

The Lions defense faced a third down at the Chiefs’ 46-yard line. Mahomes dropped back and passed to wide receiver Kadarius Toney on a crossing route. The ball flew off the hands of Toney and into the hands of Lions safety Brian Branch. He took the ball 50 yards the other way for a pick-six to tie the game up at 14.

In Kansas City’s next three drives, they got into the red zone twice, but the Lions defense stopped a 3rd-and-short in both instances. Harrison Butker made field goals on those two drives to put the Chiefs up six points with just over 12 minutes left in regulation.

The Lions got the ball back and faced a 3rd-and-long almost immediately. Goff swung the ball in between three defenders to wideout Josh Reynolds for 18 yards, who had a game-high 80 receiving yards. Goff found Reynolds again on a curl for 33 yards that put the Lions in the red zone. Two plays later, Montgomery scored from eight yards out to give the Lions the lead.

The Lions defense got a huge stop on a 3rd-and-one, which forced the Chiefs to punt the ball back. The Lions got the ball in Kansas City territory but faced a fourth down at the Chiefs 45-yard line. Lions head coach Dan Campbell opted to go for it but it failed.

The Chiefs got the ball in a favorable position only down one point. On first down, Mahomes threw the ball deep to Toney, but he dropped it once again. Kansas City thought they put themselves in field goal range with their second-down play, but it got chalked off with a holding penalty. Detroit forced three more incompletions to turn the Chiefs over on downs.

The Lions got the ball at the two-minute mark and faced a third down just outside of the red zone. Montgomery got the two yards needed for the first down and Detroit was now in victory formation. After three quarterback kneels, the Lions officially pulled off the opening night upset.

Aftermath and Heading Into Week 2

The Lions did not play their greatest game, as Goff mentioned, but they found a way to scrape out a victory. The defense showed improvements throughout the game, not allowing a third down conversion in the second half against the Chiefs. The Lions will take on the Seahawks Sept. 17 in Week 2.

The Chiefs had a decent first half on offense, making some big plays to set up the touchdowns. However, they struggled to find their groove in the second half, whether it was with dropped passes or poor execution. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that the team will have to fix the number of dropped passes in this game. They will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in their Week 2 matchup.


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