By: Derek Havens
The New England Patriots visited the Detroit Lions for their third pre-season game Thursday night.
Thursday night’s game gave fans and analysts the chance to get a more in-depth look at some of these players. New England struggled a vast majority of the game, which resulted in a 31 point loss.
While the score is irrelevant in preseason games, the play itself is not. Unfortunately for the team, there were more negatives than positives leaving motor city.
Here are five memorable moments from the game. —
Sudfeld Loses The Ball: Undrafted free agent Zach Sudfeld has been one of the best stories coming out of training camp. The emergence of the 26-year-old tight end has been a big positive for this team, especially with the health concerns around All-Pro Rob Gronkowski.
The rookie had a forgettable moment early in the game, though, fumbling the ball deep in Lions territory on the Patriots first drive of the game. After starting the game and catching a nice pass by Tom Brady, a Detroit defensive back had a hard hit causing Sudfeld to lose the ball.
Rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins looks poised for a big year in the Patriots offense. (FILE:USPresswire)
Running backs Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen also had fumbles, but Sudfeld’s turnover really killed the team’s momentum early. Way too many turnovers in the game for New England.
Thompkins Makes a Splash: On this week’s episode of Patriots Fourth And Two I mentioned the rookie receivers need to step up and show what they have during practice in Thursday’s game. Kenbrell Thompkins answered the call and had a strong start to the game.
Brady hit Thompkins for a 31-yard strike down the left sideline, both players doing a tremendous job on the play. Thompkins did a great job getting off press coverage and reeling in a beautiful pass. The undrafted free agent rookie has been very impressive throughout the off-season and in training camp. This play showed what he can bring to this team.
Pats Defenders Whiff: One of the biggest negatives for the Pats against Detroit was the constant missed tackles. Lions tailback Reggie Bush made New England defenders look silly on several occasions, the biggest play resulting in a 66-yard screen pass in the first quarter.
On the play, Mayo over-pursued Bush who then proceeded to scamper up field. As a defensive captain and the Patriots best linebacker, he needs to make that play. Bush should not be allowed to make one cut and get big yards every time. Mayo was not the only guilty party, however, as other members of New England’s defense fell victim to Bush’s shiftiness as well.
Jones Dominates Reiff: For a second week in a row, second-year defensive end Chandler Jones showed why he could be an elite player in the NFL. Jones, dominated Lions rookie left tackle Riley Reiff a good majority of their snaps against one another Thursday night.
Late into the first quarter, Jones bull-rushed Reiff and Tommy Kelly pushed the pocket up the middle, giving Detroit quarterback Mathew Stafford nowhere to go, which resulted in a sack. Jones continues to show the 10 pounds of weight he added in the off-season will not slow down his game. A great sign for the defense for this upcoming season.
Develin Stopped Short: The Patriots could not get the running game going Thursday night. It didn’t matter who had the ball; Ridley, Vereen, Bolden or Blount, none of the running backs could gain significant positive yards.
On a fourth and one, the Pats handed the ball off to their fullback, James Develin, who was stopped short of the marker. The Lions defensive line dominated the game and this particular play highlighted a big issue for New England, which is running the ball when the other team knows they are running.
The Pats need to be able to line up and run the ball against a physical front. Something the team needs to improve upon as the season approaches.
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