Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell says he “expected” his side’s upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Thursday night’s season opener; Chiefs head coach Andy Reid insists he would make “no excuses” as his offense missed star tight end Travis Kelce.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell insisted he learned nothing he did not already know about his side as they ignited their season as surprise package candidates by taking down the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Thursday’s opening game.
Perhaps ‘surprise package’ is the wrong term for a team that warned of its ascent with eight wins from its final 10 games last season, but optimism is as lofty as it has been in some time for Detroit, with victory over the league’s very best setting the perfect marker.
For all the Lions were doing to frustrate the Chiefs early on, they were dealt an ominous reminder of the task at hand as Patrick Mahomes connected with Marquez Valdez-Scantling for 34 yards on third-and-17 to maintain a drive that would end in Blake Bell’s four-yard touchdown catch late in the first half.
The Chiefs had the opportunity to try and extend their cushion after the break, only for rookie safety Brian Branch to pounce on an inexcusable dropped-catch from Kadarius Toney to run in a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown, bringing Detroit level.
By the end of the third quarter they found themselves trailing again at 14-17, before fending off Mahomes in the fourth to earn themselves winning territory
“I didn’t learn anything, I got verification on what I already knew, and this is a resilient team,” said Campbell. “It already was a resilient team and we added pieces to that resilient team, so we’re built to handle some stuff and we did that against a very good opponent.
We expected to win this game. We came in here and we knew what we needed to do, and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy and we did that. Really what it means is that’s one [win]. That’s one. So, we’ve got to clean up our issues. It hurt us on some stuff and be ready for Seattle in 10 days. That’s what it is.”