Patriots vs. Lions Wrap-Up: Ups and Downs

Gregory Shamus

The Detroit Lions defeated the New England Patriots 40-10 in the third preseason game of the year. Here are a few ups and downs from a New England standpoint.

UGLY.

No, not me. The game I just watched. In what was something of a duplicate of the preseason game between the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions that took place two years ago, New England got absolutely manhandled by Detroit in a game that saw four turnovers, sloppy play, a lackadaisical attitude, and a whole plethora of what Bill Belichick will describe as "teachable moments." Detroit, on the other hand, was all kinds of amped up for this one, playing with the kind of intensity that leads me to believe that Jim Schwartz promised the whole team a hat and t-shirt if they won. The result was hard to ignore, as New England was on the business end of one of the biggest blowouts of the preseason.

But it wasn't all bad. there was actually a lot to like about this game before the starters came out and everything went to hell. Here are some ups and downs from tonight's game.

UP:

Situational football. While it wasn't ideal, tonight's game provided some fantastic situational football scenarios for the Patriots to practice. Several times the defense was forced to defend a short field on little rest as turnovers were the name of the game. The offense got the chance to run some short yardage plays, they got pinned on their own 1 yard line, and they got a chance to run the hurry up. Of course, they didn't do any of these thing particularly well, but it's still good to get the practice in, especially against a team that wasn't taking this game lightly.

Defensive line. While the story of the day will likely be Detroit's defensive line (and for good reason), I for one was very happy with the way New England's D Line looked. Even without Vince Wilfork, the unit played very well, got some good pressures on Stafford, and didn't bite too hard on the pistol playaction. it would appear that the depth that was a concern for many this offseason may not be a problem overall, as the D-line seemed to be a fairly cohesive unit that overall got the best of the Lions' offensive line. Neither 1st team could run the ball at all tonight, and credit for that goes to the guys up front. Cory Grissom's injury is something to monitor.

Sloppy, not bad. Granted, the Patriots didn't look too good out there tonight. However, it's important to note that for the most part, they looked sloppy; they didn't look bad. Receivers were running the right routes. The timing was (mostly) there. The opportunities to penetrate Detroits' D was there. The Patriots were just careless with the football, made some bad plays, and paid for it as a result. I mean when Tommy B throws a lame duck completely untouched, you know that it's just not going right for the Pats that night.

Red Zone defense. Despite having to defend a short field on multiple occasions and allowing Detroit more than a few trips into the Red Zone, the starting unit only allowed one touchdown. Granted, there was no Calvin Johnson in the lineup to haul in pretty much everything that came his way, but you still have to credit the defense for tightening up when it mattered.

DOWN:

Offensive line. Tommy B was under pressure for most of the night as the line seemed sloppy and out of sync. Credit is due to Detroit's defensive line, which is one of the better lines in the league, but at the end of the day the Patriots' offensive line had a day to forget.

Drops and turnovers. Both came in abundance, and there's not much more to add to that. Drops and turnovers are going to happen, of course, but to see them a) come from rookies, and b) happen repeatedly to stall momentum is never a good sign.

Second unit. Based on the score, it's easy to forget that the Patriots were only down 13 point at halftime despite turning the ball over four times. That means that the second team gave up 27 points without scoring any. Obviously the backups are backups for a reason, but it's not like the Lions had their starters in either. Absolutely nobody stood out on the Patriots during the second half, and what was a prime opportunity for certain players to work their way up the depth chart went to waste.

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