Kansas City is expected by many to be a Super Bowl contender. Detroit knew they had a tough task Sunday with the undefeated Chiefs in town.
In a back-and-forth contest all day, Kansas City was able to march 79 yards in 13 plays, including a converted 4th and 8, to score the game's winning touchdown on a 1-yard run by Darrel Williams with 20 seconds to go.
Detroit (2-1-1) had an opportunity to win the game with two Hail Mary attempts to end it, but the first fell incomplete and the second was knocked away.
In a measuring-stick game of sorts for the Lions, they battled the Chiefs right to the end.
It was up to Detroit's defense from there and they just couldn't get a big stop when they needed one. The big play for Kansas City on their final drive was reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes picking up 15 yards on a quarterback scramble on 4th and 8 at the Kansas City 34-yard line.
Golladay caught two touchdowns for the Lions and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson added another. Kicker Matt Prater made field goals from 25, 48, and 53 yards.
In the end, it was a game separated by just a few key plays. Both teams had 29 first downs and Detroit had the edge in total yards 447-438.
Fumble-itis: Lions cornerback Jamal Agnew forced a fumble on the second half kickoff that was recovered by Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Detroit got down inside the Chiefs' 10-yard line on the subsequent drive, but Stafford fumbled it back to the Chiefs trying to scramble on 3rd and goal.
Detroit defensive end Trey Flowers forced a fumble on the next Chiefs possession which was recovered by defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson.
But, again, the Lions fumbled it back to Kansas City on a 1st and goal play from the 1-yard line as running back Kerryon Johnson fought to get into the end zone. Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland pickup up the ball and returned it 99 yards for a Kansas City touchdown to take a 20-13 lead.
The Lions got a 53-yard Prater field goal to pull within 20-16 on their next possession. Kansas City wide receiver Sammy Watkins fumbled on the Chiefs next drive and it was recovered by Lions cornerback Justin Coleman. Detroit turned that fumble into a 10-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Golladay.
It was five combined fumbles total in a span of about 10 minutes in the third quarter for both teams.
QB comparison: Stafford was 21-of-34 passing for 291 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and the one fumble. He rushed for 18 yards and finished with a passer rating of 118.6.
Mahomes completed 24 of his 42 passes for 315 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Kansas City had three rushing touchdowns in the game. It was the first time since Week 5 last year vs. Jacksonville Mahomes didn't throw a touchdown pass. He also added 54 rushing yards and finished with an 81.0 passer rating.
100-yard rusher: The Lions have struggled early this year to get traction with their run game. Detroit came into Sunday ranked 18th in rushing (98.7) and were averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.
Kansas City's defense entered the game as one of the worst in the NFL defending the run, and that proved to be the right recipe for the Lions run game to catch traction.
Johnson hit the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time this season and for the third time in his career. He finished with 125 yards on 26 attempts (4.8 average). Detroit rushed for 186 yards as a team on 35 attempts (5.3).
Injury report: Starting safety Quandre Diggs left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return.
Hockenson fell awkwardly on his head trying to hurdle a defender in the second half and was being evaluated with a concussion. He also did not return.
Next up: Bye week