By Traci McCartney//@traciamc
Detroit Lions 26 – New England Patriots 10
I have a confession to make – I didn’t watch the game live. I was at a Def Leppard/Journey concert in San Diego. That made watching it today, after knowing the outcome, a LOT harder.
As Patriots’ fans, we’ve been spoiled – we’ve seen a whole lot of winning. When the Patriots have a bad game, there’s no one better at coming back the next week and looking like a completely different team.
So the Patriots starting the season with a 1-2 record is a bitter pill to swallow for us. Most of us were sure that after the loss to the Jaguars, the Patriots would bounce back and walk out of Detroit with a win. But what we forgot is that Matt Patricia, now head coach of the Detroit Lions, knows the Patriots and he knows them well.
What is there to say about this game? Not much good, at least on the Patriots’ side. The defense was underwhelming, giving up 26 points and over 400 yds of offense. The Lions’ offense was on the field almost 20 minutes longer than the Patriots’ offense, so the time of possession was lopsided in the Lions’ favor. And when the Patriots offense WAS on the field, they weren’t effective. In fact, the first 1st down for the Patriots was late in the second quarter with only 3:46 left on the clock. And they had half as many first downs as the Lions.
The big problem with the offense is the lack of weapons for quarterback Tom Brady, who only completed 14 of 26 passes for 133 yds and thew one interception. With wide receiver Julian Edelman out on his suspension until week 5 and newly acquired WR Josh Gordon sidelined with a hamstring injury, there weren’t a whole lot of choices for Brady. Add to that, tight end Rob Gronkowski being double-teamed, there weren’t many options and the receivers couldn’t seem to get separation.
WR Phillip Dorsett isn’t a deep threat and WR Chris Hogan seemed to be trying to fill in for the absent Edelman, but it just didn’t work. Dorsett also had a couple of dropped balls and was overthrown a couple of times by Brady. One of those resulting in Brady’s one interception of the night.
With running back Jeremy Hill on the IR, Patriots’ fans were expecting a lot out of first-round pick, rookie RB Sony Michel. But Michel was only able to net 50 yds on 14 carries. After RB Rex Burkhead left the game with a neck injury, I was curious as to why they didn’t try to use RB James White more. In any case, let’s remember that Michel missed most of training camp with a knee injury. I’m hopeful that as the season goes on and Michel has more time with the offense, he’ll be able to get to where the Patriots and their fans hoped he’d be. Time will tell.
The defense really missed defensive end Trey Flowers Sunday night after receiving a concussion during last week’s Jags’ game. The defensive line was dominated by the Lions’ offensive line allowing QB Matthew Stafford to pass for 262 yds and 2 TDs. Also missing was strong safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Eric Rowe. The linebackers looked sluggish and the tackling overall was not good. Today, I saw Tedy Bruschi tweet a stat supporting that:
Patriots defensive problems from a statistical measurement. According to ESPN Stats and Info – Rank 32nd in DYAC (defensive yards after contact/per touch) Certain stats bore me. Not this one. Tackling has to improve.
— Tedy Bruschi (@TedyBruschiESPN) September 25, 2018
Is all lost? I don’t think so. There are a lot of missing pieces, and there has been some poor execution in all phases of the game, but if anyone can turn it around, the Patriots players and staff can. There’s still a lot of football to play in this season.
Next week, the Patriots take on the currently unbeaten Miami Dolphins at Gillette where they’ll get to see former Patriots’, WR Danny Amendola.
New day. New opponent. New game. #OnToMiami
Talk Patriots with Traci on Twitter @Traciamc