KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The quarterback duel for the ages is back five years later.
On November 19, 2018, a Jared Goff-led Los Angeles Rams beat first-year starter Patrick Mahomes -led Kansas City Chiefs, 54-51, in a game that featured 14 touchdowns (three by defensive), 56 first downs and 1,001 total yards on Monday Night Football in LA Memorial Coliseum.
It was the first game in pro football history in which both teams scored at least 50 points. There were five touchdowns and four lead changes in just the fourth quarter.
In the end, Goff won it for the Rams with a 40-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gerald Everett with 1:49 left in the game. Goff ended the game with 413 yards and five TDs (one rushing).
It was a game where the Rams were near the height of their powers with Sean McVay in his second year as head coach, and the team ended the season in the Super Bowl.
Since then, the Rams have won a Super Bowl in 2022 without Goff, but the Cal alum has led the Lions in a resurgence that has the team coming off of one of its best seasons in franchise history while just missing out on the playoffs.
“That one was a shootout for the ages and a fun one,” Goff said Sunday about the game.
“It was two really good offenses. There were some defensive scores in that game too. It just was some fireworks. And we were able to score last.”
For the Chiefs, you know what’s happened since then. Five straight AFC West titles/AFC Championship home games, two Super Bowl wins, record broken, etc.
“Like I said it was another game where – even though there was a lot of points scored, not everything went great for either side of the ball,” Mahomes said Sunday.
“We all battled, and they ended up coming out on top. What I remember is I think I had like four or five turnovers, so I had two fumbles, three picks, so that’s what I remember from that game. Everybody talks about the numbers and the stats, but that’s kind of what lost the game so that’s what will stick with me for a while.”
Mahomes ended the game with 478 yards, six TDs, three interceptions and two fumbles.
The Lions are coming into Arrowhead Stadium with hype surrounding them from last season where they started 1-6 and ended 9-8.
The offense boasts Goff, receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown (1,161 yards, six TDs in 2022) and Marvin Jones Jr., running backs David Montgomery and first-round rookie Jahmyr Gibbs and second-round tight end Sam LaPorta who will be looking to take advantage of Chiefs’ defense without stalwart defensive tackle Chris Jones.
The Lions will be missing their first-round receiver from last season Jameson Williams who has been suspended for the first six games. They still plan to come out with explosive plays with offensive coordinator Ben Johnson also getting recognition for innovating this offense and leading them to the fifth-highest-scoring offense in the league.
“I think the last two years we haven’t started quick. So maybe there’s a little bit of increased awareness of it,” Goff said.
“I think overall their coverage is pretty sticky. They do a good job staying close to the receiver. I think their linebackers are extremely athletic and I think up front they’re pretty young and fast.
“It’s a challenge. That’s why they’re the Super Bowl champs last year is because they’re kind of, they’re good on every level. Obviously, their offense gets a lot of attention with those guys over there, but their defense is no slouch and we’ll have our hands full.”
The Chiefs have a a small number of new pieces on offense like new tackles in Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith and receivers Richie James and second-round Rashee Rice. The offense may not be at full strength with star tight end Travis Kelce listed as questionable with a hyperextended knee.
Mahomes gave credit to Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn for how he disguises the Lions’ defense and the lack of film doesn’t help the preparation.
“Especially with this coordinator with Glenn, I mean he does a lot of different stuff, he’s very gameplan specific,” Mahomes said.
“Even throughout the season, it would be a little bit more wrinkles and stuff like that. You can tell when he has time to study the team, he does a good job of scheming them up and putting out different coverages that they might not have shown before that he thinks will work against the team he’s playing.
“We have to have a good understanding of that – obviously we want to start fast. Being able to recognize the wrinkles as fast as we can on the sidelines, make those adjustments and continue to play.
“It’s going to be a fight, and I’ve said that to all the guys, this team is coming in and they expect to win, and we expect to win so that’s when you get the great football games.”
The Super Bowl LVII banner will be raised before kickoff as this game opens the NFL season. Kickoff is at 7:20 p.m.