After each defense blunted the opposing offense’s opening drive, Kansas City had appeared to hold Detroit to another three-and-out — but after converting a fourth-and-2 from their own 17-yard line with a fake punt, the Lions drove the the length of the field to take a 7-0 lead with just under three minutes left in the first quarter.
The Chiefs evened the score with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that featured two critical scrambles by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice. The Lions drove back down into the red zone, where cornerback Trent McDuffie forced a fumble by Detroit’s Marvin Jones, which safety Bryan Cook recovered at Kansas City’s 7-yard line with just over five minutes remaining in the half. But three plays later, the Chiefs punted the ball back — only to force another three-and-out when Mike Danna sacked Lions quarterback Jared Goff.
Taking over at their own 18 with 2:02 left in the half, the Chiefs got to the 46-yard line before a holding call put them into a third-and-17 with just over a minute remaining. But then Mahomes found wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson on back-to-back plays that gained a total of 60 yards, setting up 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Blake Bell that gave Kansas City a 14-7 lead that it took into halftime.
The teams exchanged punts to start the third quarter, giving the Chiefs the ball at their own 42. But on the third play of the drive, Mahomes’ pass to wideout Kadarius Toney bounced of his hands into those of Lions’ cornerback Brian Branch, who turned it into a 50-yard pick-6 to tie the score at 14 with 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After the teams traded punts again, the Chiefs began at their own 10-yard line. A 41-yard pass interference penalty called on Lions’ cornerback Cameron Sutton moved Kansas City deep into Detroit territory. Toney dropped a third-and-2 pass that would have given the team a first down in the red zone, so the Chiefs had to settle for a 35-yard Harrison Butker field goal to take a 17-14 lead with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.
After the defense forced another punt, Kansas City got the ball on their own 32-yard line. Tight end Noah Gray broke a tackle to create a 24-yard gain that put his team into Detroit territory as the third quarter expired. With pass rushers holding on to his ankles, Mahomes almost completed a third-and-2 throw that would have kept the drive going, so Butker had to extend the lead to 20-14 by means of a 39-yard field goal with 12 minutes left.
Kansas City’s defense was amped on the next possession as L’Jarius Sneed narrowly missed a sack that would have forced a three-and-out — but Goff completed an 18-yard pass for a first down to keep the drive alive. Then a 33-yard pass to Josh Reynolds put Detroit in the red zone. Two plays later, David Montgomery scored on an 8-yard run to give the Lions a 21-20 lead with seven minutes remaining.
The Chiefs went three-and-out after a another variation of a Blake Bell sneak play— this one a handoff to Rashee Rice — was blown up by an alert Lions’ defense. Then Kansas City’s defense forced Detroit into a fourth-and-2 that failed — and could do no better when it got the ball back. Two penalties forced the Chiefs into a failed fourth-and-25 that gave the Lions the ball at Kansas City’s 30-yard line. One first down later, the Lions collected their 21-20 win.