Without their star tight end, the defending Super Bowl champions gave Patrick Mahomes no dependable receiver. It allowed the upstart Lions to escape with a monstrous 21-20 upset of the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.
The Lions started 1-6 last year before turning it around. They are headed in the right direction now, showing they plan to live up to the offseason expectations.
But for everything Detroit did right Thursday night, the Chiefs did as much wrong.
Mahomes still looked like Mahomes, the best quarterback on the planet, but he got no help with four dropped passes and a deflected one. Kadarius Toney had a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day, dropping passes all night, including one that bounced into the hands of Lions rookie Brian Branch, who returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
On the Chiefs’ final chance, Toney dropped a pass; Jawaan Taylor was called for a false start; and Donovan Smith was called for holding. The Chiefs opted to go for it on fourth-and-25 from their own 30 with 2:09 left, and Mahomes’ prayer wasn’t answered.
Mahomes went 21-of-39 for 226 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 45 yards on six carries.
He completed passes to 11 different receivers.
Goff was 22-of-35 for 253 yards and a touchdown, while Montgomery rushed for 74 yards on 21 carries and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs had nine touches for 60 yards.
The Lions outgained the Chiefs 368 to 316.
The Chiefs settled for field goals of 35 and 39 yards from Harrison Butker after second half drives of 73 and 47 yards, which is how they find themselves 0-1 for the first time since 2014.