NFL Week 1 Game Recap: Detroit Lions 21, Kansas City Chiefs 20

2RREJD7 Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) acknowledges the Lions fans as time runs out in their win over the Kansas City Chiefs in an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

The Detroit Lions traveled to Arrowhead Stadium and shocked the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, giving football fans the first big surprise of the 2023 season.

Offensive spotlight: Travis Kelce didn’t play in this game, and as a result, Mahomes was forced to spread the ball around to 11 different pass-catchers, completing  21-of-39 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 45 yards with his legs on six rushes, but he couldn’t win the game alone. Mahomes’ receivers combined for five drops, including three from Kadarius Toney.

Jared Goff connected with Amon-Ra St. Brown for the game's first touchdown, but it took until halfway through the fourth quarter for the offense to get back on the board. Goff led a 75-yard touchdown drive on the back of 51 Josh Reynolds receiving yards and a David Montgomery rushing touchdown to give the Lions a fourth-quarter lead. And that ended up being enough, as the Chiefs’ offense couldn’t get back on track.

Defensive spotlight: Chiefs’ second-year cornerback and 2022 first-round pick Trent McDuffie took over the primary slot role late last year and into the playoffs, which continued tonight. He made a significant impact in that role, forcing a fumble as the Lions were entering the red zone in the second quarter. He also recorded eight tackles — and three defensive stops — grading above 75.0 on first review. 

Rookie spotlight: Lions second-round rookie defensive back Brian Branch manned the slot in his NFL debut and made a significant impact by returning an interception for a touchdown. Branch was targeted three times in coverage and allowed only one reception for 3 yards, allowing an NFL passer rating of 2.8 on throws into his coverage. He added three tackles and two defensive stops. 

The Lions' other rookies all played part-time roles, including Jahmyr Gibbs, who looked electric with the ball in his hands, averaging 6.0 yards per carry on seven attempts while adding two receptions for 18 yards. Tight end Sam LaPorta played 75% of the team’s pass snaps and totaled five receptions on five targets for 39 yards. First-round rookie linebacker Jack Campbell played less than half of the team’s defensive snaps but had a nice pass breakup in coverage against Kadarius Toney.

Box Score

Passing
Detroit Lions
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int Sacks Rtg
Jared Goff 14.0 22 / 35 253 7.2 1 0 1 94.1
Kansas City Chiefs
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int Sacks Rtg
Patrick Mahomes 20.5 21 / 39 226 5.8 2 1 0 77.5
Rushing
Detroit Lions
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long Fum Lost
Jared Goff 14.0 5 -1 -0.2 0 2 0
David Montgomery 13.4 21 74 3.5 1 8 0
Jahmyr Gibbs 8.0 7 42 6.0 0 18 0
Jalen Reeves-Maybin 0.3 1 3 3.0 0 3 0
Kansas City Chiefs
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long Fum Lost
Patrick Mahomes 20.5 6 45 7.5 0 16 0
Rashee Rice 11.6 1 -3 -3.0 0 -3 0
Isiah Pacheco 9.4 8 23 2.9 0 7 0
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 3.9 6 22 3.7 0 5 0
Kadarius Toney 1.0 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1 0
Skyy Moore 0.4 1 4 4.0 0 4 0
Receiving
Detroit Lions
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT YPR TD
Amon-Ra St. Brown 19.1 9 6 71 7.9 11.8 1
Josh Reynolds 12.0 7 4 80 11.4 20.0 0
Sam LaPorta 8.9 5 5 39 7.8 7.8 0
Jahmyr Gibbs 8.0 2 2 18 9.0 9.0 0
Brock Wright 3.7 2 2 17 8.5 8.5 0
Kalif Raymond 3.0 1 1 20 20.0 20.0 0
Marvin Jones Jr. 1.8 6 2 8 1.3 4.0 0
Kansas City Chiefs
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT YPR TD
Rashee Rice 11.6 5 3 29 5.8 9.7 1
Isiah Pacheco 9.4 4 4 31 7.8 7.8 0
Blake Bell 9.2 3 2 12 4.0 6.0 1
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 6.8 2 2 48 24.0 24.0 0
Justin Watson 6.5 4 2 45 11.2 22.5 0
Noah Gray 6.1 5 3 31 6.2 10.3 0
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 3.9 1 1 7 7.0 7.0 0
Jerick McKinnon 2.0 2 1 10 5.0 10.0 0
Richie James 1.6 2 1 6 3.0 6.0 0
Justyn Ross 1.6 1 1 6 6.0 6.0 0
Kadarius Toney 1.0 5 1 1 0.2 1.0 0
Skyy Moore 0.4 3 0 0 0.0 0.0 0
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