In the 2023 NFL season opener on Thursday night, the Detroit Lions came from behind to defeat Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs 21-20. They were tied at 14-14 in the third quarter, but two field goals by Harrison Butker gave the Chiefs a 20-14 lead in the fourth.
However, a touchdown by David Montgomery and an extra point by Riley Patterson propelled the Lions to victory with seven minutes remaining. This victory marked the Lions’ first win against the Chiefs since 2011.
The Lions’ next game will be against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. The Chiefs will face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the same day.
The Lions had yet to emerge victorious in any season-opening game since 2017. In many prior years, their season seemed to conclude before it commenced.
With their recent win, the Lions managed to hand Chiefs’ star quarterback Patrick Mahomes his first-ever season-opening loss. The loss ended Mahomes’ career-opening streak of 5-0.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff also garnered attention for his performance throughout the match. Goff completed 22 of 35 passes for 253 yards. He also contributed to the NFC North hopefuls’ early-season aspirations.
In the first quarter, Detroit displayed promise when Goff connected with Amon-Ra St. Brown for a nine-yard touchdown pass. But Mahomes found rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice and tight end Blake Bell for touchdowns to take the lead in the second quarter.
The Lions also forced Mahomes to throw his first interception in those matches despite throwing 20 touchdown passes. In the second half, the Lions’ defense made a strong showing. Rookie safety Brian Branch intercepted a perfectly thrown ball that had deflected off Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney’s hands. Branch returned it for a 50-yard touchdown, leveling the score at 14-14.
Following two Kansas City drives culminating in field goals, Detroit took the lead as Montgomery powered through from eight yards out. In his debut game as a Lion, Montgomery showcased an impressive performance, tallying 21 carries for 74 yards and the decisive touchdown.
The Chiefs are a three-time Super Bowl winner. After a prolonged drought since their first Super Bowl victory in 1969, they secured their second Super Bowl championship in 2019.
Last February, the Chiefs continued their success by securing their second Super Bowl victory in four years, rallying from a 27-21 deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Phoenix.
However, the Chiefs were missing two of their star players during the recent season opener. Tight end Travis Kelce was absent due to a bone bruise in his right knee from hyperextension during practice this week. The Chiefs were also without their defensive lineman, Chris Jones, who is currently in a holdout situation.
Without those two, the fight on Thursday night became challenging. Notably, the Chiefs had not experienced a loss at Arrowhead Stadium since October last year when they faced the Buffalo Bills.
Mahomes, who earned MVP honors in both the previous Super Bowl and the regular season, completed 21 of 39 pass attempts. He accumulated 226 passing yards, which was heavily limited by the efforts of Detroit. He threw two touchdowns in the second quarter and had one interception. He also had 45 rushing yards.
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