Patriots

Patriots offer no defense to previously punchless Lions

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Patriots offer no defense to previously punchless Lions

The Patriots fell to 1-2 on the season with a stunning 26-10 loss in Detroit against former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Click here for the boxscore, and here to watch what the coaches, players and analysts were saying after the game.

WHEN THE LIONS HAD THE BALL

The listless Patriots defense got absolutely steamrolled. The Lions had a 100-yard rusher for the first time since 2013 as Kerryon Johnson got 101 yards on the ground and they had 159 yards overall on 32 carries.

Over and over, the Lions offensive line -- which was a punching bag for the first two weeks of the season -- got the interior of the Patriots defensive line walled off and turned around. Lawrence Guy and Malcom Brown were particularly poor on the interior. When the Lions got to the second level, it was even worse. Dont’a Hightower seems slow and lethargic. Two plays in particular stood out:

-- On one, he had an angle on Johnson toward the sideline and looked poised to push him out for a modest gain. Johnson accelerated and left Hightower grasping air.

--- On another, Hightower was in the hole when a pulling guard came through and caught him from the side. Hightower didn’t seem to give any resistance.

Elandon Roberts and Ja’Whaun Bentley had plays that were fine at the linebacker level. They also had plays that weren’t. Defensive end Deatrich Wise was one player who showed up with a little bit of aggression. He had a run stuff which was immediately followed by a Bentley pick. He later had a sack and another run stuff.

Other than that, there was nothing resembling a pass rush as the Patriots forced just zero punts in the first 36 minutes of play and allowed the Lions to go 7-for-14 on third down.  

Should we go on? We’ll go on.

Rookie Keion Crossen got called for defensive holding  on a flea flicker. On the next play, the Patriots were called for 12 men on the field. (Asked about that, Bill Belichick said, “It was a mistake. Did you think we did it on purpose?” ) The Lions first three drives were 12, 9 and 14 plays long. Detroit had a 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession.

I don’t think the secondary was a disaster. At least it wasn’t as big a disaster as the other two levels. The long Marvin Jones touchdown was a bust that left Stephon Gilmore chasing when it appeared he wasn’t supposed to be. Jason McCourty actually had a pretty decent game and Johnathan Jones wasn’t horrendous. How much did the absence of Trey Flowers, Eric Rowe and Patrick Chung impact the defense? It didn’t help. But we’re not talking about Lawrence Taylor and Rodney Harrison here.

MORE HARD TRUTHS

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Former Bengal, Patriot Marquis Flowers opens up on the 'We're on to Cincinnati' game

Former Bengal, Patriot Marquis Flowers opens up on the 'We're on to Cincinnati' game

The New England Patriots weren't exactly in a great spot heading into Week 5 of the 2014 NFL season. The team was only 2-2 and was coming off a crushing 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

In that game, Tom Brady didn't look like his usual self. He had two picks, just 159 passing yards, and one touchdown pass that came when the team was already down 27-0. He was replaced late by Jimmy Garoppolo, who looked solid on the field. That led some to wonder if the Patriots dynasty was coming to an end.

Famously, after the game, Bill Belichick answered every question posed about the game with one simple response. "We're on to Cincinnati." The press conference went viral and put a spotlight on the Patriots' Sunday night clash with the Cincinnati Bengals.

That game ended up defining the season. The Patriots bounced back by smashing the Bengals by a final score of 43-17. Brady looked as strong as ever, and that was the first step for the Patriots to get back onto the Super Bowl path.

At least, that's how former Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers remembers it. On Twitter, Flowers shared a brief memory of the game, including what his then-defensive coordinator said.

So, yeah. Clearly that type of hype up didn't work, especially since the Patriots were so desperate for a win at the time. And the "demise of the Patriots" storyline was clearly overblown considering that they've won three Super Bowls and appeared in a fourth since that game.

The D-coordinator's words and the headlines of the time make this an amusing anecdote that just makes the whole event that much better for the Patriots, in retrospect.

That said, It's easy to see why Flowers was able to laugh this off. Flowers was a part of the Patriots in 2017, so he has seen both sides of the "We're on to Cincinnati" game. Flowers likely enjoyed his time in New England, as he logged 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks in his best NFL season to date. He also got to play in the Super Bowl (although the Patriots fell in that game to the Philadelphia Eagles).

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Patriots 2019 training camp schedule: Here's when veterans will report

Patriots 2019 training camp schedule: Here's when veterans will report

The defending Super Bowl champions will be back at Gillette Stadium exactly one month from Monday.

The NFL announced training camp report dates for all 32 teams Monday, and the Patriots' rookies are due in Foxboro on July 21, while the veterans are set to arrive on July 24.

Training camp traditionally starts one day after veterans report, meaning New England should begin training camp Thursday, July 25.

The Patriots have been off since June 10, when head coach Bill Belichick cancelled the team's final two days of organized team activities and set up a lively paintball experience instead.

The team hasn't announced complete training camp dates and times yet, but the Patriots will head to Detroit in the first full week of August for joint practices with the Lions prior to their Aug. 8 preseason opener.

They'll also hold joint practices with the Tennessee Titans the following week.

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