The Detroit Lions gave it their all. They even took a lead into the final minute of the game. But when they needed one last defensive stand, they just couldn’t get it. The Chiefs proved just too much for Detroit, and toppled them 34-30 in wild game.
Here’s how it happened.
The Lions offense took the field first, and immediately picked up a big chunk of yards on a 33-yard pass to Kenny Golladay.
.@kgxix‼️ That's what we like to see #KCvsDET | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/S5xrnR7vOF— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 29, 2019
The Lions would challenge and lose on a poor spot from the officials on an 8-yard run from Kerryon Johnson, but they would convert on third down anyways. A 19-yard pass to Marvin Jones Jr. put them in a goal-to-go situation, but the Lions couldn’t convert on a third-and-goal from the 3. 3-0 Lions.
The Chiefs offense looked... well, like the Chiefs offense to start the game. However, as Kansas City moved into the red zone, the Lions defense stiffened up, forcing Patrick Mahomes into three straight incomplete passes. The Chiefs fell victim to the Lions’ field goal voodoo magic and missed a 36-yard field goal, keeping the Lions up early.
The Lions offense got right back to work with a couple more big plays. First, Kerryon Johnson picked up 9 and an additional 15 after a Chiefs defender took him down by the facemask. Then Stafford found Jones for a huge 33-yard gain. Facing a key early third-and-4, Stafford from T.J. Hockenson in the back of the endzone for a 5-yard score. Lions 10-0.
Stafford connects to @TheeHOCK8 for the #KCvsDET | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/cjt8UvCZ3V— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 29, 2019
The Lions defense nearly got off the field early on the Chiefs’ next possession, but Mahomes got outside the pocket and ran for 25-yards to pick up an easy third-and-6. A 31-yard pass to Sammy Watkins later, and the Chiefs found themselves in the red zone for a second straight possession, but not before the first quarter ended 10-0 Lions.
The Lions defense would again prevent from breaking, as Lions cornerback Justin Coleman made one hell of a pass breakup, punching the ball out of Watkins’ hands, preventing a touchdown and saving the Lions four point. 10-3 Lions.
Justin Coleman with a last second effort pic.twitter.com/s0ETUcNkbH— DailySportsDosage (@OfficalDSD) September 29, 2019
The Detroit Lions couldn’t keep their offensive momentum going, however. After one first down pickup from Golladay, Matthew Stafford was sacked on a third-and-7, giving the ball back to the Chiefs’ dangerous offense.
But the Lions defense would get a stand of their own, holding the Chiefs to a rare three-and-out. Unfortunately for Detroit, the offense couldn’t get out of its own way with a holding penalty and a three-and-out of their own.
This time, the Chiefs would finally take advantage. Bolstered by a bit 39-yard run by LeSean McCoy, Kansas City quickly found their way into the red zone for the third time, and this time they punched it in (after three tries) with McCoy from inside the 1-yard line. 10-10 tie.
With just over four minutes remaining in the first half the Lions were looking to score one more time and take a lead into the locker room. Hockenson picked up 13 on a screen pass putting Detroit well into Chiefs territory. The Lions found themselves in a fourth-and-1 situation from the Chiefs’ 25-yard line, but Frank Ragnow double clutched the snap, drawing a 5-yard penalty, and the Lions settled for a field goal—and even worse, gave the ball back to Kansas City with just over a minute left. 13-10 Lions.
And the Chiefs quickly responded, indeed. 19-yard pass to Watkins. 30-yard pass to Darrel Williams, and the Chiefs were in field goal position. KC kicker Harrison Butker knocked it through to tie it back up before the half. 13-13.
The Chiefs were set to get the ball first, but Matthew Stafford would be the first quarterback to touch the ball in the second half. Jamal Agnew punched out the ball on the Chiefs opening kickoff return and the Lions got a chance to pull ahead early in the third.
The Lions looked to establish dominance in the trenches with three straight runs from Kerryon Johnson: 5 yards, 11 yards, 13 yards, and suddenly it was first-and-goal.
Then the wackiness happened. Kenny Golladay appeared to have pulled in a 5-yard touchdown, but replay showed he just barely lost control before landing. On the ensuing play, Stafford fumbled the ball away to the Chiefs
We'll take that. #KCvsDET | : FOX pic.twitter.com/IHqSdLU7JN— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 29, 2019
Suddenly, instead of a seven-point lead, the Lions found themselves in a situation in which the Chiefs could take their first lead of the day.
But then FUMBLEMANIA ran loose. Darrel Williams fumbled, recovered by A’Shawn Robinson. Then the Lions looked like they were going to score again, with Kerryon Johnson taking the ball first-and-goal from the 1. Then whatever the hell this is happened:
#Chiefs take it ALLLLL the way back for a 99-yard fumble return!#KCvsDET— PFF (@PFF) September 29, 2019
With the controversy out of the way, the Lions offense got back to work, quickly working their way into Chiefs territory. However, the Lions offense stalled in KC territory, and they had to settle for a 53-yard field goal. 20-16 Chiefs.
Stopped me if you’ve heard this before, but the next possession went for a... wait for it... FUMBLE! The fifth of the quarter.
The Lions finally took advantage, working their way deep into Chiefs territory. Hockenson set them up first-and-goal, but took a vicious collision with the turf after failing to hurdle a Chiefs defender.
The Lions would end up capping off the drive with a laser from Stafford to Golladay. 23-20 Lions.
.@kgxix coming up BIG with the TD! #KCvsDET | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/DBHDwaC2pA— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 29, 2019
The Lions took a lead going into the fourth quarter, but it didn’t last too long. Bolstered by an incredibly savvy mid-lateral play from Travis Kelce, the Chiefs worked their way into a goal-to-go situation, and Williams punched it in from a yard. 27-23 Chiefs. Here’s the Kelce play:
Travis Kelce caught it and pitched it to Shady! #KCvsDET #ChiefsKingdom @tkelce @cutondime25— NFL (@NFL) September 29, 2019
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app
Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/lm0vvtP8ei pic.twitter.com/lPhASpXYIN
The Lions offense was able to work their way to midfield, but no further. The Chiefs had the ball with the opportunity to take a convincing two-score lead late in the game.
But the Lions defense stood tall. A big tackle for loss by Devon Kennard got Kansas City in a third-and-long, and Detroit’s defense held. Giving the Lions offense 6:42 to play with, starting at their own 21-yard line.
Detroit’s running game was on fire, with Johnson easily surpassing 100 yards on the day. The Lions found themselves in first-and-goal from the 9. Then some more ref controversy happened. Kenny Golladay pulled in a toe-tapping touchdown, and replays first appeared to have his foot clearly step out of bounds. But then it appeared his toe may have tapped in before the rest of the foot came down out of bounds. The refs did not overturn the called touchdown and the Lions had a lead against with 2:26 remaining. 30-27 Lions.
Could the Lions get one more defensive stop to seal the game?
The Lions got the opportunity early, forcing the Chiefs into a fourth-and-8. But Mahomes scrambled for 15 yards keeping the Chiefs’ dreams alive. From there, the Chiefs just chipped away yard after yard, and the Lions defense finally broke with a 1-yard run from Williams with only 20 seconds left. 34-30 Chiefs
The Lions had one last opportunity for a miracle play, but it never happened.
You have to admire the Lions effort. They went toe-to-toe with a Chiefs team while missing some key players on both sides of the ball. But they made one too many mistakes and they’ll head into the bye 2-1-1.
They always say the most important game of the season is the next one. This week, that could be especially true for the Detroit Lions. While the Kansas City Chiefs are not an in-conference team and Sunday’s game won’t hold many tiebreaker implications, it will serve as an early-season litmus test for the undefeated Lions.
Last week, Detroit passed its first major test: a road game against a 2018 playoff team. Even the week before, the Lions rose to the occasion, defeating up a good, but beat-up, Chargers team. Now they’ll face their biggest test to date.
The Chiefs are a behemoth. No one in the NFL questions their validity. They are one of the NFL’s elite and everyone knows it. The only thing that has truly stopped the Chiefs is one of their own lining up offsides in a critical moment. If not for that, we’d be prefacing all of our previews with titles like “defending NFL champions” or “Super Bowl-winning.”
This Lions team is good, but we still don’t know how good they are. Sunday’s game won’t be the end-all, be-all for Detroit, but it will provide a valuable data point when trying to figure out the true identity of this 2019 team.
Here’s how to watch:
How to watch Lions-Chiefs
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field — Detroit, MI
Week 4 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Online streaming: Yahoo Sports app, FOX Sports Go
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Chiefs by 7