DETROIT — The Detroit Lions fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 34-30 in their interconference battle of undefeated division leaders Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.
The Lions came in with a 2-0-1 record while the Chiefs entered the proceedings at 3-0 and also as 6 1/2-point favorites.
Detroit was playing without two regulars — cornerback Darius Slay and receiver Danny Amendola — who were sidelined by injuries.
Although suffering from hip/back problems, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford still took the field, however. After receiving the opening kickoff, he immediately went to work and the hometowners took a 3-0 lead on a Matt Prater field goal. The Chiefs then missed a field goal attempt of their own that would have knotted the score.
With time winding down in the opener, Stafford connected with tight end T.J. Hockenson of Iowa on a TD pass for a 10-0 Detroit bulge, which remained in effect at the initial break.
A Kansas City field goal on the second play of the second stanza sliced the gap to 10-3. Then Chiefs then deadlocked the count at 10-all on a 1-yard scoring run with 4:13 to go until intermission.
Prater then thundered home a 48-yard boot for a 13-10 Detroit edge at the 1:03 juncture. Harrison Butker came right back with a 3-pointer of his own to deadlock the score at 13-13 as time evaporated.
Then the controversy began. With 9:08 showing on the clock in the third period, Detroit fumbled into the KC end zone and the Chiefs’ Bashaud Breeland picked it up and returned it 100 yards for a 20-13 Kansas City advantage. Lions players thought the play had been whistled dead and did not make any attempt to stop Breeland as he first picked up the ball and then galloped the length of the field.
Prater then nailed a 53-yard field goal and Detroit moved to within 20-16. The Lions retook the lead when Stafford hit Kenny Golladay with a little more than one minute left in the third to go up 23-20, a gap that stood until the final break.
The Chiefs once again retaliated with a 2-yard touchdown run to go ahead 27-23 early in the finale.
Stafford then drove the Lions methodically downfield, culminating in his lofting a scoring pass to Golladay just inside the sideline for a 30-27 Detroit lead at the 2:26 juncture.
With only 20 seconds remaining, a 1-yard TD run up the middle gave Kansas City a 34-30 margin of victory.
The Lions now will enjoy their bye week. Next up, Detroit will hit the road for Green Bay, Wis., and a Monday Night Football date with the Packers, with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Oct. 14 at Lambeau Field.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, will return home to host the Indianpolis Colts in a night game next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.