DETROIT - AUGUST 27: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks back to the huddle during the first quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 27, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Poor Pass Protection for Brady and Offense. Tonight, the Patriots offensive line played abysmal, as Tom Brady was constantly being harassed. Starters such as Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, and Sebastian Vollmer particularly struggled. The Patriots couldn't contain the rush up the middle.
Struggles for Tom Brady. While Brady played well in his preseason debut against the Bucs, he really didn't play well tonight, even when he had time to throw. Brady was consistently underthrowing receivers, and never really seemed to put good zip on the ball.
Defense, Pass Rush Regress. All the positive momentum that the Patriots pass rush had generated over the first two preseason games was largely wiped away with a sub-par performance Saturday night. Lions passers, particularly Matthew Stafford, had a lot of time to throw, and really carved up the Pats defense.
Second Units Flat Once Again. Things really didn't improve for the Patriots in the second half either. Brian Hoyer looked solid, but had some passes dropped and a few bad breaks. Ryan Mallett looked really solid on the final drive, but only saw the field for two drives. Nate Solder struggled at left tackle. Defensively, things weren't much better. Kyle Arrington had a nice, heads-up interception at the back of the end zone on a tipped pass. Mark Anderson had a would be sack, but let Drew Stanton escape and pick up a key first down and third down conversion.
Referees Have a Rough Night. There were several bad calls throughout the game from the refs tonight, reminding us that it's the preseason for them too. Several plays that stood out included the phantom pass interference on Chad Ochocinco, a non-call on a should have been facemask on a Brandon Tate kick return, a non-call on a pass interference / helmet-to-helmet hit on Danny Woodhead, and a missed call on a Ndamukong Suh hit to the head on Logan Mankins after one play.
It's Only One Preseason Game. Tonight was not one to remember from a Patriots perspective. But, it's just one preseason game, it's not the end of the world. The Patriots came out completely flat and it showed. However, the team will recover. I'm disappointed, and I'm sure the players are disappointed as well as the coaches. But again, it's not the end of the world.