The wait is over!
Reigning Super Bowl champions Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs hosted Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions to kick off the 2023-24 NFL season Thursday (8:20 p.m. ET), and we’ve got you covered with all the action from start to finish.
The Chiefs — which lead our initial NFL power rankings list and are current favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII — were without All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones, who’s in the midst of a contract dispute and ongoing holdout. K.C. was also without All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce after he hyperextended his knee during the Chiefs’ final practice Tuesday.
On the other side, the Lions, led by Goff and first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs, who’s on a mission to reach 1,000-plus rushing yards this season, found the path to victory
Here are the top moments!
FINAL: Detroit Lions 21, Kansas City Chiefs 20
12:55, 1st: Making a play
Detroit went three-and-out to begin the game. Kansas City then moved the chains on third-and-2 of its opening possession when Mahomes’ pass was thrown just high enough for running back Jerick McKinnon to come down with the 10-yard reception. The Chiefs ended up punting.
9:22, 1st: FAKE PUNT ALERT
After the Lions appeared to go three-and-out once again, Jalen Reeves-Maybin converted a fake-punt-run on fourth-and-2 at the Lions’ own 17-yard line for the first down.
2:58, 1st: Lions strike first
Shortly after the successful fake-punt-run, Goff hit wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds for a pair of completions that combined for 34 yards. Two plays later, Gibbs pulled off a mean, 17-yard run. Later in the drive, Goff hit St. Brown for a 9-yard touchdown.
11:59, 2nd: There’s the open man!
Mahomes picked up a pair of first downs with his legs on the ensuing possession, including the 16-yard scamper shown below. Later faced with a third down on the Lions’ 1-yard line, Mahomes found rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point tied the game at seven apiece.
5:27, 2nd: Loose ball!
Trying to move the chains on third down, Goff completed a screen pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., but Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie knocked the ball out and safety Bryan Cook recovered the fumble.
1:07, 2nd: An absolute dart
Mahomes hit wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the middle of the field — despite a minimal window — for a 34-yard completion, as shown below. The Chiefs quarterback then hit a wide-open Justin Watson for 26 yards.
0:37, 2nd: Chiefs finish the drive
On the very next play, Mahomes hit tight end Blake Bell for the 4-yard touchdown. Kansas City led 14-7 at halftime.
11:03, 3rd: PICK-SIX
Kansas City and Detroit each punted on their first possessions of the second half. Then the Lions made a play.
On third-and-6 of Kansas City’s next drive, Mahomes threw a pass for Kadarius Toney, but the wide receiver bobbled the pass and defensive back Brian Branch corralled the ball in the air, running it back 50 yards for the touchdown.
2:14, 3rd: Pulling ahead
On fourth-and-2, the Chiefs broke the stalemate at 14-14 with a 35-yard field goal off the foot of Harrison Butker. Later, Mahomes found Noah Gray who drove downfield, shaking off tackles left and right. That led to a 39-yard field goal from Butker.
7:08, 4th: Lions roar back
The Lions steadily pushed downfield in the fourth quarter, and Goff found Josh Reynolds for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, David Montgomery charged through the opening into the end zone to put the Lions back in the lead, 21-20.
2:29, 4th: Chiefs defense comes up clutch
The Chiefs’ defense came up huge with a batted pass to force a turnover in the final minutes of the game.
2:00, 4th: Big opportunity
On fourth down, the Chiefs attempted a deep pass that fell incomplete, giving the Lions the opportunity to put the nail in the coffin and open their season with a victory!
The Chiefs have averaged 37.8 points in their five opening weekend games. What’s more, K.C. has scored a minimum of 33 points and a maximum of 44 points in Week 1 over the past five seasons and will look to keep it up tonight.
The players on the field weren’t the only stars in attendance Thursday. Emmy Award-winning actor and producer Keegan-Michael Key was on the sidelines ahead of kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium. Key recently teamed up with the NFL for its new “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” ad campaign tackling memes that the league is scripted.
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