(News4usonline) – The 2023 NFL season started off in dramatic fashion with perfect weather and a stadium packed full of die-hard football fans. The Thursday night matchup featuring the Detroit Lions going toe-to-toe with reigning Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs was a fantastic kick-off to the season.
The underdog Lions upset the Chiefs in a close 21-20 battle at the GEHA field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. This is a great start for the Lions since they haven’t won an opening game since 2017. In the process, Detroit also broke the Chiefs eight-game win streak for opening games.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn’t play well. As a team, the Chiefs didn’t play well. It could have been because Kansas City was missing defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce. Jones, who recently came to terms with the Chiefs, missed the opening game because he was a contract holdout.
Also missing in action was Kelce, Mahomes’ favorite target. Kelce was forced to sit out the game because of a knee injury he sustained in practice leading up to the matchup against Detroit. Those excuses notwithstanding, Detroit outplayed Kansas City, outgaining the Chiefs in total yards and made big plays when it mattered most.
The Lions’ special teams started off the game big with a fake punt. After that risky move to get a first down, the Lions drove down the field with quarterback Jared Goff finding Josh Reynolds for a big gain. Detroit then capped off the drive with a short pass from Goff to Amon-Ra Saint Brown, who took it in for a touchdown.
To start off the second quarter, Mahomes and the Chiefs responded with a touchdown drive of their own. From a clean pocket, Mahomes found Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a positive gain. On the next play after his pocket collapsed, Mahomes uses his fancy footwork to scramble all the way to the 9-yard line.
That set up Mahomes’ next pass to Rashee Rice for a touchdown. Detroit tried to answer. Goff connected with St. Brown for a reception. But the Chiefs forced a turnover on the drive when Trent Duffie hit Josh Reynolds who fumbled the ball. Kansas City’s Brian Cook recovered the football for the Chiefs.
Riding this wave of momentum, Mahomes completed passes to Rice, Scantling, Justin Watson, and then Blake Bell for a touchdown at the end of a half to give the Chiefs the lead at 14-7. Kansas City’s joy didn’t last too long.
To start the second half, Mahomes threw a pass to Kadarius Toney, but the ball slipped through his hands and was intercepted by Detroit defensive back Brian Branch, who ran it back untouched for a touchdown, tying the game at 14-14.
Just like that, the momentum had swung in Detroit’s favor. Kansas City would eventually get two field goals to take a 20-14 advantage. Things got very exciting in the fourth quarter. Penalties and Detroit’s defense dictated the final period. The Lions’ offense got into a groove as well, especially the offensive line.
It was Detroit’s offensive line that cleared the way for David Montgomery to push his way into the end zone and give the Lions the go-ahead score. The scoreboard read: Lions 21, Chiefs, 20, with a little more than seven minutes left in the game.
Kansas City’s attempt to regain the lead came up short due to the absence of Kelce. The numerous dropped balls by the Chiefs’ wide receiving corps didn’t help. The Lions, however, are over the moon to start the season with a big win on the road in front of a hostile environment.