Detroit lost for the first time this season after coming up just short in a dogfight against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. Here are a few takeaways from a heartbreaker:
Not even injuries can stop this Lions defense
Detroit entered this game without their best defensive player in Darius Slay. They also lost starting safety Quandre Diggs fairly early on. Despite this, the Lions’ undermanned defense managed to hold what is possibly the greatest offense the NFL has seen in check all day.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who had thrown 14 touchdowns this season entering the game, was held without a touchdown pass for the first time in his career. The quarterback, who often throws no look passes just for fun, had trouble completing anything downfield against Detroit. The team executed their gameplan perfectly against the Chiefs, and they knew how to make sure Kansas City’s offense could never get in rhythm.
Matt Patricia planned for this game perfectly, and Detroit being without their ace corner did not seem to even matter.
The mess is intentional
This is the third straight Lions game that was an absolute mess. Turnovers and sloppy play have been a consistent story for Detroit this year, but it seems that the mess is intentional.
On paper, the Lions are a much worse team than their last three opponents—Kansas City, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Chargers—but that has not mattered. Detroit won the first two of those games and was a minute away from winning the third. Detroit has managed to limit the effects of their opponents talent advantage by playing good situational defense and making sure the game is as ugly as possible.
While the New England Patriots comparisons may be tired, this is truly what “The Patriot Way” is. New England does have a roster that you would expect to be so dominant, but their expert gameplanning and situational football has made them into the greatest dynasty the sport has ever seen. It looks like we are starting to see the beginning of those effects in the Motor City.
This team can compete
There are no moral victories in football, but this game comes close. If not for a weird gaff on a questionable fumble, the Lions may have won this game. If Detroit had Slay, or Danny Amendola, or Diggs and T.J. Hockenson for the entire game or even a fully healthy Matthew Stafford then who knows how this game may play out.
Detroit has beaten two Super Bowl contenders this year and taken a third to their limit. This is a good football team that should not just have playoffs of their mind, but maybe even the Super Bowl.