Last season, the Los Angeles Rams were blasted by the visiting Buffalo Bills, 31-10. On Thursday evening at Arrowhead Stadium, the undermanned Kansas City Chiefs were defeated by the underdog Detroit Lions.
Detroit Lions getting the job done
Make no mistake. Dan Campbell’s team played a solid game and was the better team in the trenches. Quarterback Jared Goff and the offense was efficient and balanced. The Lions fell behind and rallied to win. Yes, Andy Reid’s club was down a pair of All-Pros in tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones. Don’t take anything away from a team that is building something that began in the latter stages of 2022.
Flash back to the start of 2022 and the team’s 1-6 start. Detroit allowed at least 24 points in each contest and a total of 225 points (32.1 average) in those seven games. Glenn’s unit surrendered 25 offensive touchdowns and failed to consistently come up with game-changing plays. The Lions totaled only 11 sacks and managed only six takeaways in those outings.
Now look at the numbers in the team’s last 11 games, nine of which have resulted in victory. Campbell’s team has given up a total of 222 points (20.2 points per game) and the same number of offensive TDs (25) in four fewer contests. Led by super-aggressive Aidan Hutchinson, there have been 28 sacks. The Lions have also come up with 17 takeaways, perhaps the biggest rookie Brian Branch’s pick-six of Patrick Mahomes on Thursday night.
One upset of the defending Super Bowl champions does not a playoff appearance make. Then again, a 9-2 run in 11 outings can’t be overlooked. This is a franchise that hasn’t tasted playoff victory since 1991 and won a division title since 1993. The encouraging signs continue in the Motor City. The next test comes at home in Week 2 against another 2022 playoff team in the Seattle Seahawks.