Lions beat Chiefs, take first game of the season after 21-20 victory

The Detroit Lions are 1-0 after a hard-fought first game of the season. They beat the Kansas City Chiefs 21-20 behind 253 yards from Jared Goff and a pick six from Brian Branch. 


We've finally arrived at one of the most anticipated Detroit Lions seasons in recent memory with fans and even some pundits predicting a different football team out of the Motor City this year.

The 2023-24 season begins with a match against last season's Super Bowl champs where the Lions will face off against Kansas City.

The Lions come into the season favored to not only make the playoffs for the first time since 2016 but to win the NFC North for the first time ever (they last won a division in 1993 when the Lions played in the NFC Central). 

The Chiefs are going to be a tough opening challenge as they're celebrating their second Super Bowl in four years – and for the first time, Kansas City fans will be at Arrowhead to be part of the party. In 2020, Chiefs players celebrated on the field in front of empty seats due to Covid.

Both teams will be competing with some players out, including a scratch late for Chiefs' Tight End Travis Kelce who injured his knee in practice earlier this week.

First Quarter

The Lions struck first after a 14-play, 91-yard drive ended with a touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Detroit started with the game with a three-and-out but managed to hold Kansas City to a single first down before getting the ball back. In what looked like another quick three downs, Detroit introduced their first bit of trickery with a fake punt inside their own red zone.

From there, they marched down the field with Goff completing passes to St. Brown and Josh Reynolds. Rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs also showed some speed with the first carries of his career.

Second Quarter

The Chiefs scored next after a quick pass from Mahomes to Rashee Rice after a 12-play, 75 yard drive. Mahomes used short passes and runs out of the pocket to move the ball down the field.

From there, the Lions put together a strong drive before a pass to Marvin Jones Jr. was fumbled at the Chief's 15-yard-line. Prior to that, the team got its first look at the speed behind their rookie running back. 

Another rookie in Sam LaPorta also got involved with a 14-yard-catch.

The Chiefs were unable to capitalize on the turnover after Detroit's defensive line stood strong and kept Mahomes contained, who had seen success moving the ball with his legs in the first two quarters.

After another three-and-out from the Lions and punt from Jack Fox, the Chiefs got the ball back at the 2-minute mark. Mahomes started it with a 25-yard pass to Rice. During the drive, Aidan Hutchinson, the Lions' first round draft pick from last season showed his quality after drawing a holding penalty while pressuring Mahomes. 

The Chiefs responded with two passes that brought them within 4 yards of the end zone. They threw a touchdown the next play, giving the Chiefs a 14-7 lead. 

Third Quarter

A 50-yard interception kicked off scoring in the second-half that helped Detroit tie things up.

After two stagnant drives by both teams, the Lions back Brian Branch returned picked off Mahomes. The interception came after a pass from Mahomes went through the receiver's hands and right into the Branch's possession.

It was only Mahomes' third interception in his career that's led to a touchdown.

Kansas City bounced back with the Chiefs using a 41-yard pass interference penalty on Cameron Sutton to put them in field goal range. Kicker Harrison Butker knocked it through from 35 yards out.

Fourth Quarter

Kansas City added to its lead with another field goal from Butker to give it a 20-14 lead. During the drive, Branch left with cramps.

Detroit then drove down the field and took the lead after a few successful throws to Reynolds and runs up from Montgomery. The former Chicago Bear then punched it up the middle 8 yards for the Lions' third touchdown of the evening. 

Drops by Kansas City receivers and a key holding penalty led to a critical 4th down attempt by the Chiefs who were on their own side of the field. An incomplete pass as the 2-minute mark led to a turnover on downs.

After a first down, they ran out the clock.



  • Goff: 22/35, 253 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Mahomes: 21/39, 226 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception


  • Montgomery: 21 carries, 74 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Pacheco: 8 carries, 23 yards


  • Reynolds: 4 receptions, 80 yards
  • Valdes-Scantling: 2 receptions, 48 yards

Check back later for updates Thursday night