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Drops and Play Calling Doom Chiefs in Stinging Loss to Lions

You must tip your hat to the Detroit Lions who came into Arrowhead and beat up the Kansas City Chiefs 21-20.  This might go down as one of the worst performances by Head Coach, Andy Reid and a wide receiver group that cost Mahomes and the team a big opening night win. Yes, it’s one game, but this was an ugly way to start the season.

Though the Kansas City Chiefs lost by a single point 21-20 to the Detroit Lions, they never appeared to be in control of this game at any point in the second half. Despite leading 14-7 at halftime, the offense only managed a pair of field goals, thanks primarily to the play of wide receiver, Kadarius Toney.  His drops cost the Chiefs at least two chances to score touchdowns in the second half. 

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Further, his dropped pass and bobble gave Detroit a pick-six that changed the momentum of the game in the third quarter. It’s clear, the time he missed coming back from knee surgery, showed up in an ugly way. Either he was not ready to play, or the stage was too big to be the teams’ true number one receiver.

Still, Toney wasn’t the main culprit, the short-yardage play calling by Head Coach, Andy Reid and Offensive Coordinator, Matt Nagy, was horrific.  Multiple times on third down in short yardage situations, that tandem dialed up jet sweeps that were easily dissected by the Lions strong defensive front.  

The fact Reid kept taking the ball out of Mahomes hands in those situations was a major miscalculation by the two-time winning Super Bowl Head Coach.  Yes, after the game he’ll say his usual banter about needing to coach better, but that isn’t going to change anything in giving away the opener to the Lions.

It’s true the Chiefs missed Tight End, Travis Kelce, and with him on the field, Kansas City probably wins this game by double digits. The problem in the second half, there wasn’t a single wide receiver that stepped up when their quarterback needed them the most. Further Reid’s decision to go for it on fourth and twenty late in the game, but not fourth down twice in settling for field goals, makes no sense to me.

On the flip side, the defense without Chris Jones played about as well as they could. They made stops, but in the fourth quarter, they were gassed.  Though they kept giving the offense opportunities, including a big fourth down stop late in the fourth quarter, Mahomes couldn’t throw the ball and catch the passes too. Drops are the killer of any quarterback, and without those, we’d be talking about a terrific defensive performance by the Chiefs.

Speaking of Jones, he was at the game watching from a suite with his agents, the Katz Brothers. If he stayed long enough, you must wonder what’s going on in his mind. The team could have used him against the Lions, but it appears he’s in no hurry to rejoin his teammates.

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The Lions to their credit, never wavered in their belief they could upset the Chiefs. The fake punt deep in their own territory in the first quarter led the Lions to the first of three touchdowns on the night. Listen they made mistakes as well, but Jared Goff kept sawing wood until he knocked the Chiefs out.

The problem with this loss the Chiefs kept shooting themselves in the foot. When they lose games like this, the mistakes they made, not the ones forced by their opponents, lead to a gut-wrenching loss. 

Though in reality, the Chiefs were not as bad offensively as they played for three-quarters of this game, and it’s likely the receivers will rebound. Kelce should be back in week two against Jacksonville, but there’s a real possibility, that Kansas City will open the season 0-2 if the Jones saga lingers, and they can’t correct their mental mistakes.

In summary, maybe the Super Bowl hangover is a real thing.  Perhaps this is the type of loss that haunts this team all season. Perhaps they’ll come back in ten days with a fire in their belly like the Lions displayed on opening night.

Lastly, to the Lions fans who have been waiting for something great with their football team, Head Coach Dan Campbell will make this team a winner.  For the Chiefs, it’s back to the drawing board, and some intense soul-searching from the front office, the coaching staff, and down to the players.

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