Even in Chiefs loss, the Lions prove they are for real

Detroit Lions

Despite losing a heartbreaker at home to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Detroit Lions proved that they are for real and will contend in the NFC this year.

After four weeks of the 2019 NFL season, the Detroit Lions have finally succumbed to defeat. Many outside of the Motor City thought this was coming earlier than it did, but the Lions fell at home on the last second to the Kansas City Chiefs on a failed Matthew Stafford Hail Mary attempt, 34-30.

But even in defeat, the Lions proved to everyone that they are a team to be taken seriously this season. Detroit falls to 2-1-1 on the year, but in every ball game this year, Matt Patricia’s Lions have shown tremendous mental toughness and a willingness to compete. In Patricia’s second year in Motown, it’s pretty clear that he’s got it working out alright.

On Sunday at home in Week 4, few even thought that the Lions would have a chance against Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Kansas City offense. This was the electric Mahomes’ first professional game in a dome. We were all expecting an all-out aerial assault of epic proportions from the Chiefs to tame the Lions in a laugher. That didn’t even come close to happening.

The Lions hung tough with the Chiefs and quite frankly played well enough to win it. Keep in mind that this was a game that was expected to be a certain loss for the Lions. For them to even have a shot at beating the Kansas City at the end is a testament to how well this team has played in the first quarter of the season.

Detroit was able to dictate terms at stretches thanks to an excellent day on the ground from running back Kerryon Johnson. Kansas City struggled to contain the former Auburn standout all afternoon, as he had 26 carries for 125 yards, as well as two catches out of the backfield for 32 yards. Detroit has long had its issues running the ball and Johnson has finally solved that problem.

Stafford was under a ton of pressure in this ball game. Despite being sacked four times, he completed 21-of-34 passes for 291 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Stafford outplayed Mahomes, who didn’t throw a touchdown in his first game indoors professionally. This should have very well been Stafford’s first signature win of his decade-plus career out of Georgia.

Even though the Lions came up one play short, there are plenty of positive takeaways through the first quarter of Detroit’s season. They look to be dominant in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The receiving corps is both talented and versatile. And Stafford even has a running game he can finally rely on to open up an effective play-action game.

Thus far, Detroit has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the early season. The question remains how they will stack up in a deep NFC North. However, the Lions could be in the mix to contend for a Wild Card spot this year. They’ll need to beat the Green Bay Packers, but there is even a pathway for them to win the division for the first time since Barry Sanders’ prime.

Overall, this was the best defeat suffered by any team in the early window on Sunday. Morale victories have been seen as victories in Motown before, but probably shouldn’t be the case. Detroit is now a real football team under Patricia. It isn’t pretty, but the Lions now have an identity that can and will continue to result in winning football.

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