I could spend my time recapping the first half, drive-by-drive, but the Patriots simply won every single phase of the game on nearly every single snap. Instead, here are the players that stood out for various reasons.
WR Julian Edelman left the game early with a knee injury. Hopefully it is nothing major- and we will know more tomorrow after tests- but it looks like a non-contact injury in line with ACL damage. Fingers crossed it’s not that serious. Edelman had 53 yards on three catches.
WR Chris Hogan stepped up in Edelman’s place and scored two touchdowns in a span of 21 seconds. He finished the half with 70 yards and 2 touchdowns on 4 receptions and he’s primed to have a huge season.
QB Tom Brady was outstanding, connecting on 11 of 13- one incompletion was a drop, the other was ripped out of the receiver’s hands- for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns to open the game with a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He went 1/2 for 8 yards and an interception on his final two passes as Hogan gave up on a deep ball that resulted in an interception.
RB Mike Gillislee made his debut, scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion on his first two touches, while adding a nice 27-yard gain. He was running with power and falling forward and looked great.
EDGE Harvey Langi recorded three special teams tackles. That’s enough to make him a roster lock, right?
SS Jordan Richards saw time at linebacker and on the edge in addition to at safety. He was covering running backs and tight ends and had a lot of success, recovering a fumble.
CB Stephon Gilmore was outstanding and defended a nice third down pass. CB Malcolm Butler forced a fumble on the Lions first offensive play, but also blew a coverage and allowed a touchdown before the half. Gilmore is playing like the far superior cornerback. CB Eric Rowe chipped in an interception.
K Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point, converted another two (one was called back by penalty), and hit a 46-yard field goal. His kickoffs were outstanding. Maybe this is just who Gostkowski is now.
SS Patrick Chung laid two incredibly powerful hits on Lions players- one on special teams, one on defense- and defended a pass.
The Lions get the ball after the half. They should just keep a live clock.