Things are different for the Detroit Lions in many ways. If you were waiting for the Same Old Lions melt down Thursday night during a culture changing 21-20 victory over the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, it never came.
Even when Dan Campbell gave the Chiefs a molecule of hope by going for it on fourth down near mid field, the Lions defense stood up. No play showed the new mentality of the Lions than the fourth and 20 play.
We’ve seen this play before. When the defense of Lions past faced a fourth and forever late in games, coaches went into a shell game by rushing three linemen, giving the opposing quarterback tons of time to make a play.
This time the Lions brought the heat by rushing five guys. Instead of Patrick Mahomes having time to find a receiver over the middle for a first down or getting one more chance on a foolish penalty, a KC lineman flinched, forcing the Chiefs into a fourth and 25. Game over.
“It ain’t the same Detroit,” safety C.J. Gardner Johnson screamed after the game.
It is not.
“We’re to the point now where we’ve built for environments like this,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said.
The Library Pub in West Bloomfield was like many pubs across the state of Michigan.
Lions fans both big and small, dressed in blue, on the edge of their seats gathered to bond during the biggest Lions opening night in history. They saw the new look Lions stun the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on their night of celebration that turned into a night of humiliation.
They witnessed a new Lions team, a team that showed grit and no quit. The NFL has a new problem on its hands. It is the Lions who went wire to wire and toe to toe with the defending champions.
“I didn’t learn anything,” Campbell said. “I got verification of what I already knew.”
The team of hype gave its team new hope. It is too early to call the Lions Super Bowl contenders, but we know Lions fans have already done that.
Here is a break from the past. I won’t laugh at you.
The Lions got a huge break minutes before the game when All Pro tight end Travis Kelsey (swollen right knee) was officially ruled out. The Chiefs hung tough without Kelsey because quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains the best in the game.
He sprayed the ball to eight different receivers, but they dropped too many passes to win a game.
We saw many signs of this not being the same old Lions. Missing were the slough of penalties which normally cripple this team.
Instead of finding ways to lose against top-notch team, the Lions found a way to win on a fourth quarter eight-yard touchdown by running back David Montgomery with 7:06 remaining which helped Detroit overcome a 20-14 deficit.
The Lions did a well-deserved victory strut off the field after their win over the Chiefs, a team that often looked confused and baffled by the Lions who were stingy on defense and found just enough offense to win.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff passed for 253 yards, one touchdown and more importantly no interceptions.
It was an ugly baby win. A win only Lions boosters could love.
“This is what we’ve been working for,” receiver Josh Reynolds to Jamie Edmonds on WDIV.
For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet
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Original Photo Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK