By: Russ Goldman
My last article I listed my “Five Reasons To Watch The Patriots Pre-Season Game Against The Lions”. The next day I like to go back and look at those reasons and find out what we learned about watching the game.
Before I do that, I want mention that this was a very bad performance by the New England Patriots. They were dominated on both sides of the ball in their 34-10 loss to the Lions. The Lions looked like they were playing in a regular season game, and the Patriots played like it was a practice. There isn’t much positive to take away from this game.
On offense, Tom Brady was not sharp at all, and did have his share of bad throws. He was 12-22 for 145 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The running game was very pedestrian as well. The running backs ran for a grand total of 61 yards. The offensive line play was terrible. There is no easy way to describe it. Overall, it was shocking to watch how this unit played.
However, you have to give credit to the Lions defense, as they were aggressive, and put a tremendous amount of pressure on Brady. Whether it was running or passing, the Patriots offense could not handle this defense.
On defense, Matthew Stafford completely carved up the Patriots secondary. Stafford played like an elite quarterback ,and could do anything he wanted against the Patriots. He was 12-14 for 200 yards with 2 touchdowns.
The Lions offensive line completely handled the Patriots defense as they were not able to get much pressure on Stafford. At times they were decent against the run. In passing situations, the defensive backs had a hard time Lions receivers . Overall this was just a very poor performance.
Now, there were many positives to take out of last week’s pre-season game against the Buccaneers. I am hard pressed to think of one in this game.
While watching the game I was really focused on the players and positions I had mentioned in my prior post. As I do always I go back and compare what ultimately happened in these areas after the game is over.
Below is my analysis of my “Five Reasons To Watch the Patriots Pre- Season Game Against the Lions”.
Devin McCourty and the Patriots defense struggled last night out in Detroit. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
1. Will we continue to see an attacking style of defense? Well, their intent was to get after the quarterback, and be aggressive. Unfortunately, they could not really get much pressure on Stafford. Mayo did blitz, and got to the quarterback once, but beyond that effort, the pressure was pretty weak.
The Patriots defense though was trying to be aggressive, and was actually caught in a screen to start the first drive for the Lions. If that is anything to take away from this game is that I still see the potential from the defense to attack.
2. What can Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis add to the Patriots defense. These 2 players did not play in this game. I have to say it was disappointing not seeing these defensive lineman last night. I want to see what they can bring to the table.
3. How will the offensive line handle the defensive line of the Lions? The offensive line was completely manhandled by the Lions. Brady was under constant pressure the majority of the first half. Brady was hit repeatedly, including a sack in this game. This unit was led by Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, and Corey Williams – who made life miserable for Brady.
4. Will we see progress between Tom Brady and Chad Ochocinco? This combination is still not on the same page, and it is painfully obvious, it is going to take more time for them to get up to speed. Ochocinco did not have a catch in this game. He is a player that I am going to have to watch to see if there is any kind of improvement.
5. Can Taylor Price continue to show promise in his play? Price did not have a catch in this game. He actually dropped a pass from Brady that he should have caught. Hopefully Price will show more in the next game than he did against the Lions.
In concluding, this was just a bad game overall by the Patriots. However, I will remind everyone that the Patriots played poorly in their 3rd pre-season game last season against the Rams. The Patriots still went 14-2 so there is no reason to panic.
Sometimes you need a wakeup call to move forward in your progress. Well, the Patriots certainly got that last night against the Lions. Hopefully we’ll see a different effort on Thursday against the Giants at Gillette Stadium.
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