In honor of this week’s matchup, let’s take a look back at some of the most notable great Chiefs performances from the all-time series between these two teams.
Chiefs 43-24 Lions – Arrowhead Stadium – 10-14-1990
It wouldn’t be a dive back into Chiefs history without touching on one of the most fun eras in football, the 1990s. On this warm fall day, Kansas City had their way with Detroit in the run game, as Barry Word rushed for a whopping 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Christian Okoye pitched in 91 yards and 2 touchdowns himself. That was a terrifying running-back tandem with both Okoye and Word being around 6’2 250. On the defensive side, defensive tackle Bill Maas registered 2 sacks, while Leonard Griffin and Dino Hackett each had a sack. Dominating running game and suffocating defenses were the story of those great Chiefs teams of the 90s.
Chiefs 45-10 Lions – Wembley Stadium – 11-1-2015
The Chiefs went across the pond in 2015 instead of hosting the Lions, resulting in 2023s matchup between the sides being the first time the Lions have come to Arrowhead since 2003. This game was highlighted by safety Ron Parker breaking the Chiefs record for most career sacks by a defensive back with 8, as he added 2 in the game. The Chiefs had one of the best secondaries in the league that season, stacked with talents like S Eric Berry, S Ron Parker, CB Sean Smith, CB Marcus Peters, and S Tyvon Branch, and they showed out in this game.
The Chiefs pass rush other than Parker was impressive as well, with sack contributions from Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, and Dontari Poe. On the offensive side of the ball, similar to our previous game, the running game was dominant. Charcandrick West rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown, Alex Smith rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown highlighted by an electrifying 49-yarder, and De’Anthony Thomas and Spencer Ware each added touchdowns. A beatdown all around in the midst of a 10-game winning streak for the Chiefs in 2015 was one to remember.
Chiefs 34-30 Lions – Ford Field – September 29th 2019
The most recent matchup in this 14-game series came in the 2019 Super Bowl season. The Lions hung right with the high-flying Chiefs in this one, and there were a ton of exciting plays. There was the Hook and Ladder from Travis Kelce to Shady McCoy, and the 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown by cornerback Bashaud Breeland. McCoy and Darrel Williams combined for 3 touchdowns on the ground, but the passing offense couldn’t quite get in sync with no Tyreek Hill and the receivers struggling to beat man coverage.
On the Lions side, Matthew Stafford had a good game with 291 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, while Kerryon Johnson rushed for 125 yards (people were really doubting the Chiefs defense at the start of 2019, especially after how 2018 went). Darrel Williams ended up rushing for the game-winning touchdown with 20 seconds left to seal it for Kansas City.
Look for the Chiefs to extend their win streak against the Lions to three this week, even though they will may be without both Travis Kelce and Chris Jones. I believe this will be a close game, but I can’t justify picking a Jared Goff led team over a Patrick Mahomes led team.
Keep an eye out for Skyy Moore to have a breakout game, and don’t be surprised if Clyde Edwards-Helaire gets a decent amount of touches. With Jet McKinnon in bubble wrap typically until late in the season, Clyde may get some decent work early on in the season. On defense, CB3 will be a position to watch. Has Joshua Williams actually passed up Jaylen Watson? Or will they split snaps? What will Drue Tranquill’s role be? Will Chamarri Conner or Mike Edwards get snaps in the dime?
All fun things to wonder about going into week one. Go Chiefs!