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
- Patriots' air attack grounded in Detroit
- 'Gotta play better, gotta coach better' never rang more true