There are rare moral victories in the NFL, and the Detroit Lions just got one of them.
The Kansas City Chiefs came into Ford Field today with an undefeated 3-0 record, an MVP Quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, and almost lost to a previously hopeless team.
On paper, the Lions had done pretty well, starting the season 2-0-1. Still, nobody going into today thought that they could compete with the elite teams of the NFL.
Despite losing a heartbreaking 34-30 game to the Chiefs, the Lions look poised to make a playoff run.
Considering the circumstances, yes, the Lions shut down Patrick Mahomes. That's not to say that Mahomes played a bad game, but it wasn't the MVP gun-slinger that we're used to seeing. He finished the game with 315 passing yds. but didn't have a touchdown all game.
Before the game, star Corner Back, Darius Slay, was listed as inactive. To make matters worse, starting Safety, Quandre Diggs, left the game as well. Those are two massive holes in the defensive secondary, that any MVP caliber Quarterback would salivate at. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, Matt Patricia and Defensive Coordinator, Paul Pasqualoni, had a solid defensive scheme. They not only limited Mahomes, but forced 3 fumbles.
“we knew they were going to double ‘Kelc’ (Travis Kelce) a lot. We knew they were going to play some man-coverage. They just did a good job of it. I felt that we moved the ball well, kind of down the field between the 20s, and we just couldn’t execute in the red zone. At the same time, the turnovers – they kill drives. So for us, it’s going to be about going back now, finding a way to execute better in the red zone and finding a way to secure the ball and not give the ball back to the other team.”
The problem with double covering Travis Kelce, is Mahomes had ample opportunities to tuck the ball and run in crucial situations. Mahomes isn't just an MVP QB because he has a cannon for an arm, it's also because his decision making is superb.
He finished with zero interceptions on the day because he always knows when to throw the ball away or scramble for a few yards. The latter resulting in 15 and a crucial first down when face with 4th and 8 right before the 2 minute warning. That drive went on to be the nail in the coffin, resulting in the Chief's 4th win of the season.
The Lions played well all around, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the crazy things that happened in this game...
I hate that I had to use that as a header, but I don't know how else to describe what had just happened.
First, a touchdown catch was reversed to start the second half, and was immediately followed by Matthew Stafford fumbling the ball away. It was probably the only mistake that Stafford made all game, but looking at the final score, that one really hurts.
“I was trying to do too much, probably. I probably should have just thrown it away a little bit earlier. I was trying to buy a little bit of time. They only rushed three on the play., (No.) 91 (Chiefs defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi) was kind of spying. They had us covered up initially. I tried to buy a little bit of time and just lost the ball moving too much.”
Sure that fumble was bad, but nowhere near as bad as what happened next.
After getting the ball back, the Lions were knocking on the door again, this time at the 1 yd line. Kerryon Johnson was stuffed for no gain, and all of a sudden I saw Chiefs Corner, Bashaud Breeland running towards the opposite end zone.
Touchdown Kansas City.
The play was reviewed by the officials and the ruling on the field stood. Senior Vice President of Officiating, Al Riveron said of the ruling:
“The officials ruled on the field that they did not see the ball carrier down. They did not see a body part other than the hand or foot down. The ball comes loose and then the ball was picked up by Kansas City, No. 21. He was not touched after he possessed the football. There was no whistle on the play, and he runs it back for a touchdown.”
Despite ball security issues, the Lions won the turnover battle in the end. Matthew Stafford threw for 291 yds. and 3 touchdowns, and Kenny Golladay had a breakout performance with 2 touchdown catches.
The Lions even got their run game working, with Kerryon Johnson picking up 125 rushing yds. on the day!
The once suspect offensive line seems to be clicking on both the run game and pass protection.
I know that today may be disappointing for you Detroit faithful, but things are looking very good for this Lions team. Matt Patricia started the season on hot seat, and now has a questionable roster poised to make noise in an extremely difficult NFC North Division.
Matthew Stafford isn't feeling sorry for himself or the team, and he's ready to go out and compete.
“I don’t think we need to prove anything to anybody. We love the way we practice, the way we work, the way we come out and play. We’re a good football team. We lost to another good football team today. There were a bunch of great plays in this game and a couple of bad plays by each team made in this game. That’s the way it goes in the NFL. It came down to the last 15 seconds. They were undefeated coming into this game, so were we. Somebody was going to have to lose. Obviously, you want to win them all at home. It was a good opportunity to beat a good team and we were darn close.”
Don't sleep on the Lions this season, they might just keep surprising us.
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