The New England Patriots defeated the Detroit Lions 30-28 on Friday night in a roller coaster of a game. The Patriots rushed out to a 24-0 lead, before letting the Lions score 28 unanswered. Jimmy Garoppolo led a pair of fourth quarter drives that resulted in field goals by Stephen Gostkowski to ultimately take the lead.
The middle of the game was simply a disaster for the Patriots as they failed to move the ball consistently on offense and were unable to stop the Lions drives. The Patriots were rotating starters with back-ups so the performance shouldn’t be a major indicator of the regular season, but the team would certainly like to see better production.
Here are the winners and losers from the game.
Winner: QB Tom Brady
Brady was outstanding against the Lions, showing good accuracy on his first 14 passes of the day before a miscommunication led to an interception. Not all of his passes were difficult as his skill players had plenty of open field to roam, but Brady threw a few dimes down the field to WR Chris Hogan and WR Danny Amendola.
Brady won’t have to play against the New York Giants in the final week of the preseason and it looks like he’s picking up right where he left off in 2016- as an MVP candidate.
Winner: WR Chris Hogan
Hogan collected four passes for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was productive on all levels of the field, inside and outside. His role will expand with the loss of Edelman and his increased versatility- he was more of a one-trick pony in 2016- will open up the playbook.
Hogan took advantage of his opportunities and he will have many more to come.
Loser: WR Julian Edelman
Unfortunately, Edelman suffered a knee injury and could miss considerable time. He was off to a great start, too, picking up 53 yards on three receptions. He looked as quick as ever and was picking up excellent yards after the catch.
Edelman will be 32 years old next season and coming off a possible torn ACL. If there’s any player that can come back and produce, it would be Edelman, but it’s not a good place to be. Hopefully his tests come back with some good news.
Winner: CB Stephon Gilmore
Gilmore has been playing like the #1 corner the Patriots had hoped to acquire. He has been targeted three times so far, allowing one reception for 2 yards and knocking away the other two passes. He’s been lights out and will hopefully continue to play at a high level in the regular season.
Loser: CB Malcolm Butler
Butler didn’t play as poorly as he did against the Houston Texans, but he still misplayed coverage that led to a touchdown by Lions WR Marvin Jones. He forced a fumble with the Peanut Punch, but he hasn’t been able to make a play on the ball in coverage and opposing quarterbacks feel much more comfortable throwing in his direction than they do throwing towards Gilmore.
Hopefully Butler can rebound in the regular season because the Patriots could have a truly special secondary, but Butler has a lot of work to do.
Winner: EDGE Adam Butler
The Patriots are looking for someone to step up on the edge opposite of Trey Flowers and undrafted rookie Adam Butler is making a solid case. Butler was Pro Football Focus’ highest graded Patriot against both the Texans and the Lions and he recorded 4 quarterback hurries and 2 run stuffs on Friday. He also has 3 quarterback hits this preseason.
Butler is now a favorite to make the active roster and he could see some quality playing time.
Winner: EDGE Harvey Langi
Langi was in a more reserved role on Friday, serving as the third edge defender in the rotation behind Flowers and Kyle Van Noy, but he instead made his impact on special teams where he racked up three tackles in the first half alone before playing on defense for most of the second half.
Like Butler, Langi is also a favorite to make the active roster and his value on special teams will be what separates him from the competition.
Loser: Patriots second and third quarter
Could it have been any worse? In the second and third quarters:
- The Lions picked up 18 first downs; the Patriots picked up 3.
- The Lions gained 289 yards; the Patriots gained 80.
- The Lions went 6 for 8 (75%) on third down; the Patriots went 2 for 5 (40%).
- The Lions scored 21 points; the Patriots scored 0.
The Patriots were awful. That includes the starters in the second quarter and the top back-ups in the third quarter. Head coach Bill Belichick will have plenty to dissect during film work.