Normally for Monday’s Question of the Day, I would write a few paragraphs about the game, talk about how they played, then propose the question of “How do you feel about” whatever outcome befell the Detroit Lions.
This week, I’m going to make this section short and sweet, because I have a lot to talk about.
The Lions went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the NFL. That is an achievement on its own. This is a Lions team that tied the Cardinals and won close affairs over the Eagles and Chargers. Challenging an offense like Kansas City’s is worth getting excited about, even in a loss, right?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you feel better, worse, or the same after the Lions’ loss to the Chiefs?
My answer: I am going to talk about this game from two perspectives. We’ll start with the pure football perspective.
This was a great game for the Detroit Lions, and I feel great about their performance, even in defeat. I would argue that this was their most complete game of the entire season. The offense was clicking like my keyboard is as I write this. Matthew Stafford had one of his best games in years. He had two beautifully placed touchdown throws to Kenny Golladay, and a third touchdown that was overturned — it was still a perfect placement, though. He was hitting dimes across the field. It was a masterpiece.
Meanwhile, Kerryon Johnson exploded for 125 yards on the ground. The run blocking was finally starting to show some positives after weeks of no traction. Even J.D. McKissic was a factor in the offense. The Lions offense did suffer a significant blow, however, when T.J. Hockenson left the game after falling on his head on a hurdle attempt. He was knocked out, arms going stiff as he fell to the turf. It is a scary moment for the young tight end.
On paper, the defense giving up over 300 yards passing to a team is not ideal, but given the ridiculous numbers that this Chiefs offense have put up, it was an admirable performance. The Lions were without star cornerback Darius Slay, and safety Quandre Diggs left the game early. Justin Coleman had a gem of a game in coverage, and was one of multiple Lions players to force a fumble. The Lions were punching out balls all game long. The linebackers, Jarrad Davis especially, continue to be a concern, but the secondary and defensive line have shown enough improvement to give me confidence in this unit going forward.
However, I feel much worse as a fan because, frankly, I am tired of being on the wrong end of game-changing calls. No, the referees do not have a vendetta against the Lions, but for years, we have lost close football games because of some incredibly weak rulings. This game’s incident occurred when the Chiefs ‘recovered’ a Kerryon Johnson fumble and returned it for a 99-yard touchdown. This would end up being the difference between a Lions win and a Lions loss.
Let’s watch the play:
The fumble itself is questionable, but I can understand the ruling. Johnson clearly lost the football, but it is not clear if he was down prior to it.
My problem is the return, and it is something that never should have occurred. There was essentially a rugby scrum for the football, which usually results in a whistle. A Chiefs defensive lineman falls onto the ball, then, like in rugby, shuffles it backwards to his player. 99 times out of 100, that play is called dead before a return can happen. Even when that play is not ruled dead, the officials usually make it clear that play is continuing.
Look at it from another angle: a referee essentially stops Golladay from pursuing. I don’t believe that the referees thought it was live — they just went along with it because they did not know. Maybe I’m crazy, but it looks like one of the referees in the end zone is raising his arms to signal an end to the play. What do you think?
You can argue it is heads-up football by Kansas City, but realistically, this play should have ended in the pile.
I actually agree with the no-touchdown call against Golladay earlier in the game, but it is still incredibly frustrating to see close, winnable games be so greatly affected by questionable officiating. There will always be questionable pass interference, questionable holding, and questionable catches in NFL games, but controversial plays like this fumble make me feel frustrated as a Lions fan. No matter what we do, something will go wrong. This isn’t a “Same old Lions” moment either — the team balled out today.
But hey, at least the Lions played well. Here comes the bye week. We will have a lot to think about.
How do you feel about the Lions after their loss vs. the Chiefs?
This poll is closed
A lot better
A little better
A little worse
A lot worse