Lions’ first-half observations: Field goals won’t be enough

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News has three observations as the Lions and Chiefs are tied 13-13 at halftime.

Detroit Lions cornerback Jamal Agnew (39) pulls away from Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Daniel Sorensen (49) during the first half.

Lions must finish drives

The Lions opened the game on offense, and all things considered, could not have asked for a better start — that is, until they were forced to settle for a field goal inside the 10. Detroit travelled 68 yards in 10 plays, taking 5:38 off the clock. That's the ideal way to keep Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs' offense off the field. But with the opposition's ability to put up points at will, field goals aren't going to win the game. The Lions will have to find a way to finish drives if they hope to be hanging around in crunch time, which they did on their second trip to the red zone, when Matthew Stafford found rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass to give the Lions a 10-0 lead.

Defensive line making noise

Much has been said about the performance of Detroit's high-priced defensive line — widely touted as one of the team's best units heading into the season — for their lack of production through three weeks. The pass rush got going in the first half Sunday, disrupting Mahomes on all three incomplete passes that ended drives.

Improved running game

Detroit's run game got back on track in the first half, with Kerryon Johnson carrying the ball 12 times for 65 yards. That's considerably better than the 2.63 yards per carry that Johnson was averaging through three games and will be a big factor in the second half if Detroit hopes to win a grind-it-out type game.