"We're here to win" - that's the statement made to the rest of the league by the Detroit Lions in the 21-20 victory against the champs.
Coming into Arrowhead, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Chiefs would walk this, KC being 8-1 on opening day in the last 9, the Lions with only 1 win in September in the last 2 seasons, and have not beaten a Super Bowl champion since 2017. To go into their house, in spite of Chris Jones and Travis Kelce missing, and get the W takes some real stones.
Stones no more so than Head Coach Dan Campbell had on display with an early 4th down and 2 conversion from the Detroit 17-yard line, Jalen Reeves-Maybin burrowing over for 3 yards to get a new set of downs.
That conversion set the way for the Lions' opening score of the game, on the back of Goff getting back-to-back first downs, finished off with an excellent 9-yard TD for Amon-Ra St Brown, brilliantly broken down by Dan Orlovsky:
The Chiefs hit back immediately through rookie Rashee Rice, following several Mahomesian scrambles for 1st downs. Still, the Lions got straight back to work, progressing down the field without incident until an errant Ragnow snap hit a crossing Brock Wright which Goff, fortunately, fell on to only lose 10, only for Marvin Jones Jr. to cough the ball up after a tackle by Trent McDuffie inside the red zone.
That would have seemed to be the momentum shifter in this game, and although the Chiefs went 3 and out, so did the Lions after a sack by former Michigan man Mike Danna and the Chiefs then did take their first lead of the day, a sidearm sling to Blake Bell for a 4 yard TD and 14-7 Chiefs at the half.
From then on, the Lions dominated.
Brian Branch started it off, getting his first pick 6 of his young career after a Toney tipped pass for a 50-yard return. Tie game.
Then the defense tightened up when it mattered most. Firstly, in spite of a defensive pass interference call on Cameron Sutton to put the Chiefs in scoring range, they had some crucial drops in the red zone and had to settle for 3. 17-14 Chiefs.
Then, Noah Grey broke a Kerby Joseph tackle for a big gain to get in scoring range, but Derrick Barnes got a crucial TFL and James Houston got his hands on Mahomes' ankles to hold KC to 3. 20-14 Chiefs.
The Lions then professionally went down the field with great plays by Josh Reynolds twice for 18 and 33 respectively, before Montgomery punched it in with 2 runs from 14 yards out. It was finished off with some great blocking, in particular by Sam LaPorta and Penei Sewell. 21-20 Lions.
The Chiefs had time for 2 last drives. The first ended in a 3 and out after, on 3rd & 1, the Lions ran up TE Bell under centre, who gave it to WR Rashee Rice on a jet sweep - it was read magnificently by Josh Paschal for tackle for loss, forcing them out of 4 down range.
The final KC drive ended with a holding call (finally) on Donovan Smith against Charles Harris (and there were significant numbers of non-calls on him and Jawaan Taylor all day). The Chiefs had to go for it on 4th & 25 but to no avail.
The Lions managed to have Montgomery rush 3 times for 11 yards to kill KC's timeouts, get the first down, and end the game.
And you can't say it wasn't deserved. Our offense was methodical and incisive, stymied only by one fumble. And our defense made some huge plays when it mattered most.
Just look what it means to our General Manager, Brad Holmes:
Player of the game: Josh Reynolds. He's had a quiet offseason, but he was incredible on that final scoring drive, we don't win that without him. Honourable mention too to Brian Branch with the incredible pick 6 to turn things around.
The Lions come home next week to face the Seahawks, who went to the playoffs last year after matching records with the Lions but having the tiebreaker. The Seahawks have had the Lions number in recent years, but can the Lions carry the momentum of this victory into a 2-0 start?
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