Well, let's hope that's out of their system.
Things started out ugly in the first quarter, with the Patriots committing a completely uncharacteristic four turnovers, which included three fumbles lost (Zach Sudfeld, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden).
The offensive line play was shaky, and starting running back Stevan Ridley was generally ineffective. Tom Brady was 16/24, but had a bad read on an interception on a pass intended for rookie Aaron Dobson.
While the defense had some bright spots in the first half, particularly down the field in pass defense and rushing the passer, they also struggled in one really important area: tackling. The second unit particularly struggled in this spot. It should also be noted that the Lions didn't have Calvin Johnson playing tonight.
Perhaps the Patriots' brightest spot tonight was the play of rookie free agent receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. Thompkins assumed the role of number one receiver with Danny Amendola out and he responded with six first half catches for 93 yards. Thompkins was impressive with his hands, route running, and release. He looks solidified for a starting role at this point.
Another positive: the play of rookie cornerback Logan Ryan. He had a nice first half pass break-up and played multiple spots with the top units defensively.
Ryan Mallett led the Patriots offense in the second half, and played like Ryan Mallett. By that, I mean completely inconsistent. He made some throws and reads that were very impressive, and he countered those with some erratic, head scratching throws. Mallett finished 11 for 22 with a late touchdown to James Develin.
Overall, this is the type of game you're going to want to forget as a player and a fan. Coach Belichick, on the other hand, will have more than enough film to critique. It was ugly and the Patriots need to make sure this type of play is out of their system.
The team hasn't typically played their starters in the fourth preseason game. But considering the sour taste that this game is likely to leave, it wouldn't completely surprise me to see Tom Brady and company play a series or two next Thursday against the Giants.