Red Zone

Game report: Chiefs 45, Lions 10

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was grabbed by Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Ron Parker during Sunday’s game in London.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was grabbed by Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Ron Parker during Sunday’s game in London. The Associated Press

First quarter

Key play: De’Anthony Thomas scored from 10 yards out on a jet sweep the Lions seemed ill-prepared for.

Key stat: The game was pretty even early on, as the Lions slightly head the advantage in time of possession (7:57 to 7:03).

Second quarter

Key play: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford’s second interception of the game set up a touchdown that gave the Chiefs a commanding 24-3 halftime lead.

Key stat: The Chiefs were 5 of 7 on third downs, compared to the Lions’ 1 of 6.

Third quarter

Key play: On a third and 7 at the Detroti 46, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith scrambled away from pressure for a gain of 10 yards. The Chiefs went on to score their only touchdown of the quarter.

Key stat: The Lions were penalized seven times for 76 yards, compared to three times for 20 yards.

Fourth quarter

Key play: The game was long decided, but Smith’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin could pay future dividends as they continue to build chemistry.

Key stat: The Chiefs went 6-for-7 in red-zone efficiency, an area they struggled in through their first six games.

The grades

Rushing offense

A

Charcandrick West put together a strong performance for the second game in a row, rushing 20 times for 97 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Alex Smith did an outstanding job escaping pressure and scrambling for extra yards. The Chiefs rushed 32 times for 206 yards — an average of 6.4 yards per carry — and four touchdowns. Hard to ask for more than that.

Passing offense

A

Smith was rock solid, completing 18 of 26 passes for 145 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He took advantage of a secondary that missed one of its best players, cornerback Rashean Mathis. He also found tight end Travis Kelce six times for 49 yards and a touchdown and did a nice job spreading the ball around, as seven different players caught passes.

Rushing defense

C

The Lions didn’t run the ball enough — when they did, they rushed 14 times for 81 yards, an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Joique Bell also broke off a 32-yard run.

Passing defense

A

Outstanding job by the pass rushers and secondary. The Chiefs racked up six sacks, and the secondary came away with two interceptions. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford can sling it, but they kept him from getting hot, which kept the Lions from getting in the game.

Special teams

A

Cairo Santos made his only field-goal attempt of the day, but he only drilled two of his eight kickoff attempts for touchbacks. That would normally be enough to drop this grade a tad, but everyone else fared very well, as Dustin Colquitt dropped three punts inside the 20, while De’Anthony Thomas and Knile Davis each had nice returns.

Coaching

A

Easy. The offensive game plan was strong, and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton did a nice job mixing in blitzes to confuse a subpar Lions o-line. Chiefs coach Andy Reid made sure he gave Sutton, offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and special-teams coach Dave Toub shout-outs for their units’ performances. The Chiefs played hard, and Reid’s decision to come to London later in the week paid off.

Takeaways

Player of the game: Quarterback Alex Smith did an excellent job dancing away from trouble and delivering the ball when he had to. He completed 18 of 26 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed five times for 78 yards and a touchdown.

Reason to hope: Once they face Denver after the bye, the five teams remaining on their schedule are a combined 13-25.

Reason to mope: It would have been nice for the Chiefs fans who have suffered through a rough season to be able to witness their team’s most complete performance of the season at Arrowhead.

Looking ahead: A monster showdown against the undefeated Broncos looms after the bye. Denver is the team that got the Chiefs’ miserable five-game losing streak started with a crushing 31-24 win on Sept. 17. The Chiefs can exorcise some demons by dishing out some revenge.

Terez A. Paylor, tpaylor@kcstar.com

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