Alex Smith was more than willing to scramble when needed. The Kansas City quarterback threw for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 78 yards and another touchdown as the Chiefs throttled the Detroit Lions 45-10 Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
Smith scrambled his way through the Detroit defense for some big plays, including a career-high 49-yard run in the second quarter that set up his 12-yard touchdown run. The Chiefs (3-5) were at Wembley for the first time, while the Lions (1-7) played in London for the second straight season.
The Lions were playing for the first time since offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter took over for the fired Joe Lombardi. Although the offense got moving on the opening possession, it stalled horribly after that.
The Lions’ offense couldn’t block for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw two interceptions for 11 on the season. Several players on defense looked slower than Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who had a 49-yard run and set Kansas City’s franchise record for a quarterback with 78 rushing yards.
For the Lions to lose in such embarrassing fashion, it took a complete team collapse. Outside of the first drive, which provided brief optimism under new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, the Lions had just three plays in Chiefs territory in the first three quarters. Two of them resulted in sacks.
The Lions made a miraculous comeback against the Falcons last year. Per the NFL Network, after trailing 21-0, they came back to beat the Falcons 22-21. But after being down 31-3, it was evident the Lions were going to lose the London show this time.
“It sucks,” defensive end Darryl Tapp told reporters. “It sucks to be in this situation. It’s not what anybody envisioned coming into this season, the amount of work put in training camp and offseason. Even the amount of work we put in on a weekly basis. For us to get the results that we’ve been getting, it’s not a good feeling.”
Stafford finished 22-of-36 for 217 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He took six sacks, which came from a myriad of issues. The Lions once again let some players go unblocked to the quarterback, struggled when they actually blocked defenders and Stafford’s subpar mobility limited how much he could escape the consistently collapsing pocket.
Because the Chiefs had such a huge lead on the Lions, they unleashed blitz packages that overwhelmed Detroit. The confusion and disbelief could be seen in the body language of the Lions’ players. Stafford said the huge lead was a dream situation for the defense.
Calvin Johnson led the Lions with 85 receiving yards on five catches, but missed much of the fourth quarter due to an ankle injury he suffered on a long catch in the final quarter. Joique Bell led the Lions with seven carries for 56 yards, but they had to forgo running early in the game as they trailed 24-3 in the second quarter.
The throttling of the Lions was a pleasant relief for Alex Smith and the Chiefs. They flew to London after an upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The defense took up right where it left off against the Steelers.
“We got a lot of guys with a lot of different strengths,” Smith said. “We can present a lot to a defense. It’s hard for them to defend.”
“Not a good outing, obviously. An understatement,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “We ran the ball decently early on, but we reached the point where we wouldn’t be able to regain lost ground quickly enough to keep running.”
The Lions return home after a sound beating and hope that they don’t face the same scenario that met the Miami Dolphins. After losing in England, coach Joe Philbin was fired.
[Feature Photo by Alan Crohurst / Getty Images]