As it looked like Kansas City was heading down the field to take a two-score lead in the third quarter of the NFL season opener, Lions rookie Brian Branch had other ideas.
Branch intercepted a Patrick Mahomes pass that hit off the hands of Kadarius Toney and took it all the way back for a 50-yard pick-six to tie the game at 14.
LIONS ROOKIE BRIAN BRANCH WITH A PICK-SIX!
It's 14-14 in Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/qoUBqxjvrj
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 8, 2023
The Lions selected Branch in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Alabama, where he was a First-team All-American in 2022. Many were surprised at Branch falling to the second round, and the Lions have raved about the rookie safety throughout the preseason. If he can continue to make highlight plays at this rate, Branch will indisputably be seen as the steal of the draft.
Branch is the first Lions rookie with a pick-six since Louis Delmas in 2009. He is also the first Alabama player to record a pick-six in his NFL debut.
Detroit's last rookie CB to do so was Bryant Westbrook in 1997.
The only other Lions rookies to do so in their @NFL debuts:
— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) September 8, 2023
Detroit’s defense has done a particularly good job containing Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s passing game, as they are without all-pro tight end Travis Kelce, who is out with a knee injury.
This is just the third pick-six Mahomes has thrown in his career and his first-ever Week 1 interception.
Social media went crazy after Branch’s pick-six, as everyone praised the rookie.
Love to see Brian Branch making plays
He was one of my favorite DBs in this years draft and thought he was gonna be awesome
Glad to see i was right 📈 pic.twitter.com/xHh02Jy2AM
— Jacob (@Stroud4ROTY) September 8, 2023
Brian Branch, in his first NFL game, gets a pick-6 on the best QB in the NFL
Can’t dream of a better start pic.twitter.com/yX3ex09to9
— Wyatt Fulton (@FultonW_) September 8, 2023
i dont want to hear another word about the Lions' 2023 draft class.
Jahmyr Gibbs – dawg
Jack Campbell – dawg
Brian Branch – dawg
all heavily involved in their first NFL game
— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) September 8, 2023
Brian Branch had 1st round film. His measurables pushed him into the second round along with the question of FULL time position. Dude can go.
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) September 8, 2023
Lions rookies are making plays all over the place. Brian Branch pick-six right after a Jack Campbell PBU.
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) September 8, 2023
BRIAN BRANCH TOUCHDOWN. Should have been a first round pick.
The first INT Mahomes has ever thrown in week 1 of a season.
— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) September 8, 2023