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Patriots vs. Lions: Pats Starters Sluggish, Lions Take 27-10 Halftime Lead

Note: This is the official Pats Pulpit game thread

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New England Patriots at Detroit Lions

NFL Preseason Week 3

Lions Coverage: Pride of Detroit

  • Things didn't start well for the Patriots.  On their opening drive, the Lions took the ball straight down the field aided by a long Matthew Stafford to Nate Burleson completion with Devin McCourty in coverage.  The drive ended with a field goal.  However, Detroit held the Patriots in check on their opening drive.  They got the ball back, and aided by a long Jerome Harrison catch and run on a well-executed screen, punched the ball into the endzone with a Stafford to Burleson pass (Arrington in coverage).
  • The entire first half was dreadful for the Patriots' offensive line.  Quarterback Tom Brady was consistently under duress.  Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, and Sebastian Vollmer all particularly struggled.  It's just one preseason game, but this isn't a good sign.
  • This is the preseason for the referees as well.  The refs had three blown calls in the first quarter alone.  They called a phantom offensive pass interference on Chad Ochocinco that cost the team a big gain.  Then, after the Lions touchdown, the missed a clear face mask on Brandon Tate on the kick return.  On the next drive, they missed a blatant helmet-to-helmet hit on Danny Woodhead that was also a clear pass interference.
  • Despite picking up a sack, Kyle Arrington had a first half to forget.  He was burned for touchdowns twice.  The latter by tight end Tony Scheffler in the slot.
  • Tom Brady really struggled in the first half.  He underthrew a lot of receivers.  Some of his struggles may have been due to the lack of pass protection, but Brady looked off most of the first half.
  • Ndamhkong Suh played dirty.  Hands down.  Every time I've seen him play, he's made late hits - just dirty plays.  His "head hit" / shove on Logan Mankins in the second quarter was no exception.  Inexcusable (and the fact that the refs missed it was just as bad).
  • Julian Edelman is such a weapon on punt returns.  I expect him to be used full-time in that area in 2011.
  • If there was a bright spot for the Patriots on offense, it was the play of Aaron Hernandez.  "Herndo" made four grabs on the Patriots' field goal drive, and made some nice moves after the catch on a couple of third down conversions off of short passes / screens.
  • The Tom Brady touchdown pass to Wes Welker late in the first half was a pretty one.  Brady sold the play action well, the corner bit, and when Brady looked up, he found Wes Welker streaking deep down the middle of the field.  The Suh-Mankins incident seemed to light a fire under the asses of the Patriots' starters (Bill O'Brien telling it to the offense may have also helped) for a short time.  The Lions then proceeded to take their starters out of the game, but Shaun Hill then led the team to 10 more second quarter points.
  • No matter how bad the refs were, or how dirty the Lions played, there is no excuse for such poor execution from the Patriots standpoint.  The team came out flat, and it showed.  It's only the preseason, but there has certainly got to be some concern.