Thursday Night Rewind: Lions Play Like SB Champs

By Ron Johnson

“If the Detroit Lions are going to win this game, they will need to play this game like it’s their Super Bowl and like they have nothing to lose.” —“Captain” Ron Johnson

At the end of the 2021 season, the Detroit Lions were again the laughingstock of the NFL. Then at the end of last season, they showed some serious promise and were one game away from clinching a playoff berth, their first since 2016. Prior to yesterday’s game, almost everyone was picking the Chiefs to not only defend their home turf but also defend their newly won Super Bowl.

Only a handful of people expected the Lions to win this game, but almost everyone predicted that this game would be close with the absence of Chiefs TE Travis Kelce who was out with a bone bruise on his knee.

What they did not expect was the Detroit Lions to play like THEY had just won the Super Bowl.

New Look Lions

But they did play like that. If there was ever a time for the Lions to show up, step up and run up, it was last night. It was at the stadium formally known as Arrowhead. It was in the presence of a massive Sea of Red. It was at the time when arguably the most unbelievable quarterback in the NFL was on the field.

And the ironic twist is that the most unbelievable quarterback on the field last night…was NOT Patrick Mahomes.

In the ultimate game of back and forth, the Lions took advantage of the absence of Kelce both on offense and defense. They followed the gameplan of hoping Patrick Mahomes made a mistake. They played like a team possessed from going for it on fake punts to shutting down all those elusive offensive weapons of the Chiefs. They played like a team that had something to prove. And with Dan Campbell looking on, the Detroit Lions did what no one expected them to do…

…they played like THEY were the defending Super Bowl Champions.

Now no one can undercut what the Lions had done in their last two games. When their season ended last year, they defeated the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay to finish with a winning season. That game was also the last one that Aaron Rodgers would play in Lambeau Field as the quarterback of the Packers.

On the Collision Course last month, it was mentioned that the Lions could be that dark horse that causes problems for Minnesota in the NFC North and could possibly win the division and play in the postseason as well. Last night, these same Lions (or an upgraded breed perhaps) stepped into Chiefs Kingdom and silenced Mahomes and the defending champs. 

If you’re with me so far, the Lions have defeated TWO future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in their last two games.

We all remember Jared Goff, right? He’s the guy who shouldered much of the blame for the Rams’ defeat to the Patriots in his only Super Bowl. Then he was making inappropriate comments about the future Mrs. Sean McVay (which I think made it easier to trade him to Detroit for Stafford). Goff played like an MVP last night as he went 22 of 35 for 253 yards and a touchdown versus Mahomes’ 21 of 39 for 226 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception (which we will get to momentarily).

Again, this is Jared Goff proving that not only was he not a liability last night, but he also did his part in foreclosing the free real estate of Mahomes.

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Former Chicago Bear David Montgomery showed that he’s still got it as he got 74 yards on 21 carries and the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. In other words, the Lions did not sweat trailing at any time in this game. In fact, they looked like they played better. In between Goff’s lone touchdown pass and Montgomery’s game-winning run, there was a trip to McDonald’s for Brian Branch.

As Mahomes and the Chiefs were looking to get back on the same page, it was rookie cornerback Brian Branch, who stepped in for Cameron Sutton, that got our first Chiseled Adonis reference going as he took a Mahomes pass that was deflected 49 yards back to the house to even things up in the third quarter.

Lions

As for the Chiefs, it is clear that the loss of Kelce hurt them in bunches last night. They looked like a team that had not played together at all last night. Granted, we got at least one free real estate moment from Mahomes as he found rookie wideout Rashee Rice in the second, but this was not supposed to be like this if you are a Chiefs fan. 

But it was nothing compared to the backlash that Kadarius Toney is getting now and possibly will the entire season.

Both Toney and Skyy Moore had a night to forget as they practically dropped everything that came close to them. Toney had three drops credited to him last night, but the most demoralizing and humiliating drop he had was one that hit him in stride from Mahomes on a third-and-6 in the third quarter. This was the play that led to Brian Branch going to McDonald’s. After the Sea of Red turned into a Sea of Boos towards him after yet another drop, Toney thought he could slink into a whole until next week…but OMFG was he wrong!

Fans who know these things happen kept mum on the off night of Toney, but those fans with nothing better to do than sit in their mom’s basements ‘Couch Coaching’ unloaded on Toney from the end of the game all the way to when the inevitable happened. Friday morning, and after his Twitter/X Account was flooded with fans taking shots at him, Toney chose to delete his account rather than hear more of the same old ish.

According to sources, his Instagram Account is still up and running, though if you were expecting to take your saltiness to IG, good luck. The account has been comment restricted.

Now while everyone is trying to go after Toney for his three drops, I would love for those individuals to understand something: His three is not even the most in a single game. In fact, back during the 2015 season, Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans has and still holds the record for most drops in a single game with six. Another stat is that the Chicago Bears have the most drops as a team with 10 back in 2016.

Wes Welker dropped a key pass in Super Bowl XLVI when he and Tom Brady were still Patriots. Steve Johnson dropped a wide-open touchdown pass that led to the Bills’ comeback against the Steelers falling short in overtime. Even the defense has had moments to forget. Asante Samuel dropped the game-sealing interception in the Super Bowl that led to Eli Manning connecting with David Tyree to hand the GOAT one of his Super Bowl losses.

Bottom line is this: People are going to be more aggravated about the Chiefs losing than they are about being happy that the Lions won this game. Last night, the Lions played harder, ran harder and fought harder. It was said last night that they had to play an almost flawless football game if they had any chance to win. They did just that…

…and since they capitalized on the absence of Mahomes’ favorite target as well as the lack of execution from those dangerous offensive weapons on top of running their gameplan, the Detroit Lions are 1-0 after beating the reigning, defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs 21-20 on a humid Thursday night in Kansas City.

No matter how you write it or say it, the Lions got the Super Bowl kneecaps of KC last night.

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