The Chiefs had to win to keep pace with the New England Patriots at the top of the AFC and they did that. Somehow, someway, they did that. The win also keeps the Chiefs two games ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders in the AFC West.
The win also gives the Chiefs a possible preview of what they could face against the New England Patriots later in the season. Detroit head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator for the Patriots before taking the Lions job. However, the Chiefs had a lot of success scoring against the Patriots when Patricia was the defensive coordinator.
If the Chiefs had lost this game it wouldn’t have been the worst thing since it was against an NFC team and wouldn’t likely play into any playoff tiebreakers. But the win just gives Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the team experience and confidence when the offense struggles in the passing game.
Patrick Mahomes gained more experience in this game. He learned how to handle a game when the offense isn’t clicking in the passing game. Even though it was a tough day passing, Mahomes still threw for 315 yards. That’s incredible. Now, his completion percentage (57%) wasn’t particularly good and definitely not what we are used to seeing, but he found a way to win the game. Mahomes made some great decisions on when to run for the first down including a critical play on the game-winning drive.
Non-Mahomes Player of the Game:
Travis Kelce gets my Non-Mahomes Player of the Game award. Kelce was targeted eight times and caught seven of them. He made what might have been the play of the game when he caught a pass from Mahomes, and before he was tackled, he pitched the ball back to LeSean McCoy who advanced the ball another 23 yards down to the Detroit 13 yard line.
Take your pick! Was there one turning point? Was it the game-winning touchdown? Was it Chris Jones’ sack of Matthew Stafford to force Detroit to punt when the Chiefs were struggling early? Was it the Chris Jones fumble recovery on the play immediately after the Lions thought they had a touchdown but was overturned by replay because Kenny Golladay was ruled out of bounds?
I’m going with the Chiefs defense’s forced fumble at the goal line that was picked up by Bashaud Breeland and returned for a touchdown. The defense made a huge stand to prevent the touchdown and then Breeland was heads-up to pick up the loose ball and run it for a touchdown when the Lions had given up on the play.
Chris Jones was too much for Detroit’s offensive line. Jones had more pressure on the quarterback than I can remember in any game this season. He finished with just three tackles but caused a lot more trouble than that if you ask the Lions.
LeSean McCoy ran for 56 yards on 11 carries. He definitely looks like the lead running back right now. When Damien Williams returns he will get some rest but right now he’s the guy the Chiefs go to when they need a few yards on the ground.
Bashaud Breeland didn’t give up on a Lions fumble by the goal line. He made some other nice plays on defense but this was clearly the biggest on the day.
Travis Kelce caught a pass from Mahomes and before he could be tackled he flipped the ball back to LeSean McCoy for 23 additional yards on the play. It was a terrific heads-up play by Kelce.
We shouldn’t have to give this one out but DC Steve Spagnuolo called for pressure on Matthew Stafford at key points in the game, something his predecessor never would have done.
Tyrann Mathieu sacked Matthew Stafford with just under ten minutes left in the game to force Detroit to punt with the Chiefs up 27-23.
Room for Improvement:
The Chiefs offensive line had trouble keeping pressure off of Patrick Mahomes even when only three Lions were rushing. Mahomes did not have a lot of time to throw in the first half.
Sammy Watkins had a ball punched out on a potential touchdown reception. He then had the ball punched out after a catch when he got up off the ground to attempt to get a first down. Sammy did not seem like himself in this game.
On their last possession of the first half, Patrick Mahomes completed a pass to Darrel Williams who took the ball to the Lions’ 26 yard line that put the Chiefs in field goal range. The Chiefs did not use their final timeout and wasted a lot of time with a poorly executed incomplete pass. The Chiefs had to settle for a field goal without ever getting a chance at the end zone.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo dialed up a blitz by Tyrann Mathieu with the Lions in fourth and long. Mathieu timed his blitz perfectly and got to Matthew Stafford before he had time to do anything with the ball. The sack was a 14-yard loss for Detroit and gave the ball back to the Chiefs after a punt.
The Chiefs return home to Arrowhead Stadium to host the Indianapolis Colts (2-2) next Sunday night. The Colts are coming off of a 31-24 loss at home to the Oakland Raiders.