Tom Greene | September 30th, 2019
Ah yes, it was a duel of top-tier QBs in Detroit this afternoon. Matthew Stafford took on Patrick Mahomes in a battle that Lions fans won’t forget, but may want to. A day that looked promising early, and even late, turned for the worse as Darrel Williams crossed the goal line to seal the deal for the Chiefs.
Of course, fans will remember the TD by Kenny Golladay that wasn’t, because of the official’s ruling. They’ll remember the Bashaud Breeland 100-yard fumble return for a score. They’ll also remember the lateral from Travis Kelce to LeSean McCoy in the second half. But, for Lions fans, there are three things to remember from this game besides those plays. They go as follows.
1. The Lions can run the ball
This was a great positive of the day, as the running game has struggled early this season. Kerryon Johnson found his game for the first time in 2019, rushing for 125 yards. J.D. McKissic also contributed 30 yards on four carries. In total, the Lions rushed for 186, and 5.6 yards per carry, which shows the run game is finding its footing.
Of course, with the high-scoring offense the Chiefs have presents a susceptible defense, especially in the run game. The Lions exposed that today with their first 100-yard game of the season, which is now becoming more apparent ever since Reggie Bush left. If the Lions can continue to find their footing on the ground, this could lead to a rushing threat for the league to prepare for. Next up-
2. The Lions can pass the ball
With Stafford under center, even with the scrutiny, he’s faced with the fans, he continues to be the gun-slinging QB that he was at Georgia. He may have fallen nine yards short of the 300-yard DraftKings bonus, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t trying.
Stafford threw for 291 yards with three scores to nine different receivers. The leader, believe it or not, was Marvin Jones with 77 yards. Golladay, to no surprise, was next up with 67 yards and two scores (which fans believe should’ve been three). Danny Amendola‘s replacement, Marvin Hall, chipped in 47 yards of his own. T.J. Hockenson provided the third score through the air with 27 yards.
The susceptible Chiefs defense allowed the Lions to not only run the ball effectively but pass the ball as well. With these two points, the Lions were able to hang around and give Mahomes his lone scoreless outing of the season. It may still be a loss on the record for the Lions, but this brings us to the third point to remember-
3. The Lions can hang with the big boys
We’ve seen this season that the Detroit Lions aren’t necessarily the “Same Ole’ Lions” like fans continue to call them. At this point in the year, the Lions have faced three playoff teams from 2018. Despite a loss today, they hold a winning record against them at 2-1. It remains to be seen how last year’s playoff teams will fare this year, and whether or not they will return to the playoffs. But, one thing is for sure, nobody can take away what happened last season… even if the Saints want to take the call away from Nickell Robey-Coleman.
In the Week 2 review, I had mentioned how simply hanging around can lead to big things. While it didn’t lead to a victory over the mighty Chiefs, it does lead to promise. Despite what fans felt was an awful performance by officiating, the Lions held tough. They had been known for letting little things such as that affect their performance. This year, coach Matt Patricia has them playing differently.
The defense was without corners Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs. Playing Mahomes would’ve gotten you the three point DraftKings bonus, but no Chief receiver eclipsed the 100-yard DraftKings bonus. No receiver found the end zone, either. In a world of DFS mania, the Lions found a way to avoid major bonuses that drove fantasy owners nuts.
This game was a shootout, and the Lions proved they can match with teams that put up points in bunches. While it still was a loss, the Lions can hang their hat on playing hard, and hanging tough.
The bye week is next. With the injuries at secondary, Patricia and the Lions most likely feel that the bye came at the right time. The Lions can rest for a week with a winning record, 2-1-1.
After a week of rest comes a showdown with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Monday night. NFL fans know that if you’re the road team at Lambeau at night, it’s very unlikely you come out of there with a victory. And, with a loss to Philly on Thursday night, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will want to bring back the winning ways at night to Titletown. The Lions’ secondary will need the rest, as Davante Adams tore up the Eagles secondary, and will certainly want to take that into division play.
The opener in the division will be tough, and the Lions will hopefully be well-rested and prepared for a tough Monday Night Test.
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