“I didn’t learn anything, I got verification on what I already knew, and this is a resilient team,” Campbell said. “It already was a resilient team and we added pieces to that resilient team, so we’re built to handle some stuff and we did that today against a very good opponent.”
With the Lions trailing 17-14 entering the fourth quarter, that resiliency was on display as they won their fourth consecutive road game that has been decided by one score, dating back to last season. Running back David Montgomery put the team ahead for good with an 8-yard rushing touchdown up the middle with 7:11 remaining to spoil the Chiefs’ championship celebration, with fans exiting early on the night Kansas City’s Super Bowl LVII championship banner was revealed.
“We expected to win this game. We came in here and we knew what we needed to do, and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy and we did that,” Campbell said. “Really what it means is that’s one [win]. That’s one. So, we’ve got to clean up our issues. It hurt us on some stuff today and be ready for Seattle in 10 days. That’s what it is.”
The Chiefs remained in this one until the final minute or so, but you can point to their final few possessions as confirmation of legitimate offensive concerns. Faced with a third-and-1 with more than six minutes left, Reid dialed up a direct snap to tight end Blake Bell, who then handed the ball to rookie Rashee Rice, only for Detroit to stuff it easily.
The Lions would proceed to turn the ball over on downs on their ensuing possession, but it didn’t matter, because in K.C.’s next try, Reid’s unit once again flopped. This time left tackle Donovan Smith’s holding penalty reversed a big gain, and Reid unsuccessfully opted to go for a fourth-and-20 from his own 35, even with two minutes and three timeouts left.
The entire sequence seemed to indicate that, unlike in years past, Mahomes and Reid did not, in fact, have a trick up their sleeve. And all the Lions needed to do was keeping pounding on the ground to lock it up.
Early fake punt sets the tone for the Lions. You just knew the Lions were prepared to throw the kitchen sink at the defending champs, and it didn’t take long for that. Faking a punt inside your own 20-yard line in the first quarter? No team even tried that in the entire 2022 NFL season, according to NFL Research. Head coach Dan Campbell wasn’t scared to pull the trigger from his own 17, though, and his boldness was rewarded. The Lions strung together an eight-minute, 14-play, 91-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead and stun Arrowhead Stadium into early silence. The Lions now have an identity: They are unafraid to take an early risk, and part of that faith might be rooted in an improved Lions defense. Going for it late on fourth down was an obvious call, even if it didn’t work. And once again, Campbell’s defense had his back, stopping Patrick Mahomes late. This Detroit team can now carry itself with a chip on its shoulder following its biggest victory in recent memory — and it’s only Week 1. This team suddenly is must-see TV until further notice.
The Chiefs’ All-Pro defensive tackle was on hand for the Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions, but not as an active player. Instead, he watched the game from a suite at Arrowhead Stadium.
Chris Jones is in the stands for the Chiefs' season opener pic.twitter.com/YMiBwtxDsT— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 8, 2023
“I have trust in [Toney],” Mahomes said. “He missed a lot of training camp, and obviously he wanted to play and fought [during] rehab hard so he could play and stuff’s not always going to go your way.
“Obviously he would’ve wanted to catch a few of those in the game, but I’ve trusted he’s going to be that guy that I go to in those crucial moments, and he’s going to make the catch and win us some games like he did last year. So we’re going to continue to work him in, get him more and more reps, and I’m sure that those drops will kind of disappear.”
The Chiefs began the night 5-of-7 on third down after ranking second in the league last season at a 48.7 percent clip.
In the second half, they went 0-of-7. They went as follows:
3rd-and-10 (13:38, 3rd): Two-yard Noah Gray reception.
3rd-and-6 (10:54, 3rd): Pick-six off Kadarius Toney’s hands.
3rd-and-4 (8:55, 3rd): Incomplete deep pass to Skyy Moore.
3rd-and-2 (2:18, 3rd): Drop on a crossing route by Toney.
3rd-and-2 (12:23, 4th): Short pass dropped by Jerick McKinnon.
3rd-and-1 (6:32, 4th): Jet sweep from Blake Bell to Rashee Rice, loss of three.
3rd-and-20 (2:14, 4th): Incompletion deep to Rice, thrown into coverage.
Around the NFL
Joe Burrow reached an agreement on a five-year, $275 million extension with the team that includes $219.01 million guaranteed, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.
The contract averages $55 million per year. The deal ends months of negotiations and rewards a player who has flipped Cincinnati’s fortunes.
On Wednesday, Burrow spoke to reporters for the first time since he strained his right calf in late July, and he reiterated his desire to spend his long-term future with the Bengals.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
With so many narratives centered on defensive tackle Chris Jones’ absence, most assumed that the team’s defense would struggle. But it held strong, holding the Detroit Lions’ strong running attack to 3.5 yards per a carry and limiting big plays.
But as far as MIKE linebacker Nick Bolton was concerned, the defense didn’t do enough.
“We lost the football game,” he told reporters after Kansas City’s 21-20 loss. “That’s how we measure everything in the league. Games are won by inches — and in a couple of situations, we got stretched. We didn’t execute good enough.”
Bolton took full responsibility for the defenses’ struggles with execution.
“We kind of pride ourselves on situational football,” he explained. “Things we do throughout the week [to] kind of get us ready... so it just comes down to guys being locked into those situations and just find a way to get off the field on defense.”
A tweet to make you think
I said on the GBCS that the Chiefs have the widest margin of error of all 32 teams.— Tom Childs (@tomchilds56) September 8, 2023
The issue is that one or two times a season, the errors pile up and we go way beyond that margin.