Detroit Lions take plenty of positives despite losing at home to Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday

Lions tight end Logan Thomas, top, hurdles Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu during their game in Detroit on Sunday. (AP photo)


AP Sports Writer

ALLEN PARK — The first loss of the season for the Detroit Lions may have actually given them more legitimacy as playoff contenders.

The Lions battled the Kansas City Chiefs all the way to the final minute Sunday before losing 34-30.

Along the way, Detroit made some colossal blunders, fumbling inside the Kansas City 10-yard line twice in the third quarter. Those mistakes cost the Lions dearly, but in spite of all that, Detroit retook the lead twice in the second half.

“I think this is an extremely tough, mentally tough team,” coach Matt Patricia said. “I think they fight, I think they’ll play, I think they go out and compete, and I am proud of them for that. But we’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t win the game.”

There’s little time for moral victories in a 16-game NFL season, but if the Lions were criticized for some of their shortcomings in wins over the Chargers and Eagles, they can certainly receive credit for much of what they did Sunday, even in defeat. Matthew Stafford threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns, with receivers Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Marvin Hall all making crucial catches.

“I don’t think we need to prove anything to anybody,” Stafford said. “We love the way we practice, the way we work, the way we come out and play. We’re a good football team. We lost to another good football team.”

Kerryon Johnson ran for 125 yards, although the fumbles by him and Stafford deep in Kansas City territory put Detroit in a hole. Johnson’s fumble was returned all the way back the other way for a touchdown.

The Detroit defense held up pretty well despite being without injured defensive back Darius Slay. The Lions forced three fumbles — two forced by the defense and one on special teams — in that third quarter.

Detroit outgained Kansas City 447-438. Against a top opponent, in a matchup of unbeaten teams, the Lions looked mostly like they belonged.