Lions move to 2-0 with 48-3 rout of ChiefsBy NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer Monday, Sep 19, 2011
Detroit is off to a good start.
And those Chiefs? Well, last season’s success feels like a most distant memory.
Stafford threw for four touchdowns, and the Lions opened their home schedule in style Sunday with a 48-3 rout of Kansas City, the most lopsided regular-season win in franchise history. Detroit is now 2-0 and has won six straight dating to last season.
“It’s a good start,” said Stafford, the former No. 1 draft pick who had trouble staying healthy his first two seasons. “That’s the way we look at it. We’ve got to keep it going, though. It’s a 16-game season.”
The Chiefs, meanwhile, already look like longshots to defend their AFC West title amid mounting problems. Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles(notes) went down in the first quarter with what looked like a serious left knee injury. Chiefs coach Todd Haley said after the game he’d probably hear a more definitive update on Charles’ status within a day.
Even if Charles had played the whole game, Kansas City looked unlikely to keep up with the resurgent Lions. The Chiefs went 10-7 last season, winning as many games as they did the previous three, but they’re 0-2 right now and have been outscored 89-10.
Detroit went 6-10 last season, part of a steady improvement since a winless 2008 season. The Lions forced six turnovers against Kansas City, led 20-3 at halftime and turned the game into a blowout with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
“I think that we have to re-evaluate where we are and make adjustments and do whatever we need to do to start heading in the right direction,” said Kansas City’s Matt Cassel(notes), who was intercepted three times. “Obviously the last two weeks are not satisfactory to any of us.”
In their opening-game loss to Buffalo, the Chiefs lost Pro Bowl defensive back Eric Berry(notes) to a season-ending injury, and tight end Tony Moeaki(notes) is also on injured reserve. Now, Charles could be out a while.
The Lions drove for a touchdown right away in the first quarter, helped by unnecessary roughness and roughing the passer penalties on Kansas City. Stafford actually threw an interception, but Jon McGraw(notes) fumbled the ball back to the Lions as he tried to return it. Stafford’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson(notes) made it 7-0.
“We have guys that can make plays, but you have to make accurate passes and that’s what he can do,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s done a really good job of, I don’t want to say touch-passing, because he doesn’t just gun it, but he doesn’t use all his arm all the time. He’s in pretty good command. He had to run a little bit, scramble a little bit today. We didn’t do the best job in protection.”
The Lions join Washington and Green Bay as the only NFC teams to start 2-0, and the Chiefs are one of only three winless teams in the AFC. The road doesn’t figure to get easier for Kansas City, which plays at San Diego next weekend.
Detroit faces an interesting divisional test too, traveling to Minnesota.
“The exciting part about this is to play a game like that, and know you aren’t there yet,” center Dominic Raiola(notes) said. “We’ve still got more to do— there’s stuff we’re going to see on film and fix, and we’re going to get better.”
Notes: Detroit’s Jason Hanson(notes) kicked two field goals in the first half, playing in his NFL-record 297th game with the same team. Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews played 296 games with the Houston-Tennessee franchise and Darrell Green was in 295 with Washington. … Kansas City committed eight penalties for 70 yards. … Ford Field observed a moment of silence before the game in memory of Tom Kowalski, a longtime beat writer of the Lions who died late last month.