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Patriots vs. Lions: Fan Notes from Preseason Week 3

Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots' 40-9 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

What do you think it means when it's a gorgeous summer night, there are a ton of fun things going on, your friends all want to hang out with you, and you spend your evening inside instead hunched over a computer watching a grainy streaming feed of a football game that has absolutely zero significance? Is that bad?


But you know what? I don't care. Last night was Week 3 of the preseason, and we all know what Week 3 means. If you don't play well in this game, you may as well just not even show up for the regular season. If you don't look like you're in mid-season form, it doesn't bode well for the rest of your year. if one team absolutely dominates another, well then that's pretty much the way it's going to be going forward.

Well, not really. But still, it's never good to come out in what is supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season only to have your first five drives end in four turnovers and a punt. It's never good to come out of the gate sloppy, lethargic, and miscommunicating. And it's never good to give a team that is clearly using this game as a benchmark to see where they stand among the league's elite such a poor showing.

  • Interesting to see LeGarrette Blount seeing continued return duties. Also interesting to see the Patriots opting to receive to start the game; they usually like to defer. Classic example of preparing for less-than-perfect game situations.
  • Lions picked up right where they left off in terms of intensity. There seems to have been a slightly sparser crowd than last time, but that didn't stop the Lions from coming out swinging, literally and figuratively.
  • The way the Patriots came out, just getting straight-up manhandled, I had to wonder if somehow Bill Belichick told the O-Line to go a little easy tonight to give Tommy B some pressure. I wouldn't put it by him.
  • Kenbrell Thompkins' first completion was nothing more than a double move and a sprint to beat the DB. It somehow took Chad Ochocinco an entire season to figure that route out, and he still couldn't get it down. Thompkins is an undrafted rookie. Not a good look, Ocho.
  • I was actually glad to see Zach Sudfeld fumble that ball. Patriots Nation - myself included - has been handwashing his jockstrap all week like he was the second coming of Gronk, and to see him make the classic rookie mistake of not securing the ball before he started to run with it means that he has some work to do still.
  • How many jokes will Lions fans be making this year about Staff getting a lot of balls to Bush? Or jokes about how hard it is to chase Bush down? I can't be the first one to think of this, right?
  • Chandler Jones has been working on his spin move all offseason - it's getting better.
  • That missed Stafford to Patrick Edwards connection that should have been a TD was the exact play that Arrington got beat on all season last year. He'd be lined up out wide, he'd get the jam, then get beat inside while the receiver blew right by him. He's just not a good outside corner. He's effective in the slot because he can angle receivers towards the sideline, but when he has to protect the inside of the field he's very vulnerable.
  • I wonder why teams don't go for onsides kicks more often during preseason. There's no reason not to try it and get some legit in-game practice.
  • I don't know how much to make out of this, but the first defense was basically a revolving door yesterday. Guys constantly subbing in and out, players shifting around, multiple formations on almost every down...not an overly sustainable model, but if the D can seamlessly transition like that when it matters, I'll take it as a good sign.
  • Both of New England's first quarter fumbles weren't even the result of huge hits; just bad ball control and a failure to secure the ball. I would have much rather seen textbook helmet hits or quality defensive strips.
  • Not going to find a much bigger mismatch than Reggie Bush on Brandon Spikes.
  • Have to be pleased with only allowing two field goals on two red zone trips, particularly when one of those FGs is a shank.
  • That playaction to the right only to go back on a quick screen to Thompkins to the left was my favorite play of the preseason thus far. It only went for 9 yards, but there's a lot you can do with that play and I'm excited to see more of it.
  • I'm not excited to see Tommy B bleeding, though. I'm Type A positive in case he needs any.
  • How can you not love how fired up the Lions get to play the Patriots in preseason? It would be easy to make fun of it, but I think it's great to see.
  • That said - someone might want to remind them that, while intensity is always good, multiple flags are not, and contrary to popular belief, the city of Detroit won't be throwing them a parade after a win here.
  • Has Matthew Slater ever been a good kickoff returner? I feel like he keeps getting a free pass because he's fast and a special teams ace.
  • By the fourth fumble of the game, I actually started to smile. It's games like this that Bill Belichick will be able to use for pretty much the entire 2013 season.
  • It's also important to note that there is a very big difference between bad football and sloppy football. The first team didn't necessarily play poorly; it was just extremely sloppy. Sloppy can be fixed.
  • "The Patriots offense looks terrible. Thank God their defense keeps them competitive." Never thought I'd be able to say that.
  • How long are we going to have to wait for the first "Bill Belichick thinks he can win with rookies, but his pride will be his downfall" article to come out? I bet Ron Borges was doing cartwheels watching this game.
  • I'll actually be curious to see just how far the anti-Patriots morons will stretch this game as proof positive that the Patriots aren't going anywhere this season. It will be a delicate balance to find, for sure, somewhere in between the "you can't read too much into preseason" and "New England's true colors finally shine through."
  • Eek. Nice throw, Tommy. Tebow is rubbing off on you.
  • Thompkins should have scored on that pass where he juked the DB out of his shorts and streaked uncovered up the sideline. Hell, that move was so sweet he would have even juked ME out of my shorts had I not already lost my shorts as soon as I got home and was enjoying the game in my skivvies.
  • Along those lines: one of the great unspoken joys of summer is the simple beauty of an oscillating fan that catches the gap in your boxers just right. You'll have a hard time convincing me that when Johnny Mercer wrote "Summer Wind," he wasn't sitting in his undies in front of a fan.
  • Usually when I immediately fall to the floor untouched, it's due to extreme hydration issues. Blowing out a knee on a handoff is significantly worse. Get well, Montell Owens.
  • Seriously - the number of injuries that have occurred this preseason has been absolutely staggering. I almost want New England to just sit everyone for the rest of the month.
  • I'll support an unnecessary roughness call during the preseason...but taunting? What are you doing, Young? Really? Preseason, bro.
  • Somebody tell me that Calvin Johnson doesn't look like Lawrence Fishburne in Boyz in the Hood.
  • What do you possibly have to lose going for it on 4th and short in the preseason?
  • And the call is a fullback dive. New England LOVES that play. I wish I knew why, because it doesn't work that often.
  • Not a good start, Pats second unit.
  • I have seen absolutely nothing out of Jake Bequette that gives me any confidence that he'll be on the final 53 come September. Hesitant, wary, and noncommittal after the ball passes him by.
  • Every family, I don't care who you are, has a creepy uncle. I have a funny feeling Christian Fauria has that distinct honor at all family gatherings.
  • Weird how Matt Chatham had such glowing things to say about special teamers...
  • Ryan Mallett made some decisions yesterday that can only be described as godawful - much like me every time I I can't decide between a Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets at McDondald's, so end up just getting both of them and then putting two nuggets in between the all beef patties to make some kind of super sandwich. Never ends well - much like a lot of Mallett's throws.
  • I'm slowly developing a mancrush on Kenbrell Thompkins.
  • When a Ryan Mallett scramble looks fast, it really just means that Tom Brady is SLOW.
  • I want to see Josh Boyce get into the open field very badly.
  • I also want to see Mallett complete a short pass.
  • This game got incredibly boring as soon as the Patriots failed on that 4th and Goal. It was basically just sitting around waiting for the Lions to get first down after first down. Poor showing from the guys you'd think would be busting their ass out there to prove that they belong on this team.
  • 40-9 is bad, preseason game or not. There's no excuse for letting a team hang 40 on you. I
  • Still - the final score of this one was pretty much the exact same score of the Broncos-Seahawks game. Nobody seemed to care how much the Broncos lost by. I wonder how they will respond to this one...